Author Topic: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?  (Read 201706 times)

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Offline Mart

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1220 on: December 09, 2014, 08:00:58 AM »
The delicious irony of it all is that Yossarian would have  been at home with all of this.

Does the cost of WiFi FOI requests exceed the cost of WiFi?

Who gets to decide when a FOI is vexatious or simply inconvenient?

Seems to me it's a bit like a defendant refusing to answer the prosecution's questions and getting shouty because of all the money it's going to cost the alleged victim.

Tax payers wasting their own money, bleeding outrageous.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1221 on: December 09, 2014, 12:23:29 PM »
And I suppose you see Rod Bluh as Milo then Mart?

Only slight difference is that as I remember Milo did make a profit for the organisation!

Offline Mart

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1222 on: December 09, 2014, 06:58:55 PM »
More of a Major Major.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1223 on: December 09, 2014, 09:40:46 PM »
I am not suggesting that Wi-Fi shouldn't have been investigated via FOI or other means or that this money wasn't well spent.

I am suggesting that it is now time to give it a rest. Wi-Fi happened a long time ago and the names of those involved were well documented in the local press. Despite this, the councillor's concerned have all been re-elected.

Individuals might think that are investigating 'in the public interest' but the public have spoken and they no longer care.

Democracy gives each of us a voice, but some individuals seem to be getting a bit carried away and consider themselves to be self appointed public spokesmen. I think it is important to remember that they are individuals and not public representatives. As Muggins says, the number of people complaining is more important than the number of complaints from one person.

Quote
Tax payers wasting their own money, bleeding outrageous.

It depends whether you view it as tax payers wasting their own money or an individual wasting tax payers money. I find it ironic that it is acceptable for unelected individuals to waste tax payers money, but is outrageous when elected members do it. I am sure that when Rod Bluh embarked on the ridiculous wi-fi journey that he thought he was acting in the public interest.

I am not saying individuals shouldn't challenge those in authority, I am just trying to remind them that they do so as individuals. If you want your voice to count as more than an individual, you need to win an election.

A large number of FOI requests are made by lazy journalists who are randomly looking for filler in case of a slow news day or by students looking for free data to append to their coursework. Value for money?




Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1224 on: December 11, 2014, 10:18:22 AM »
Richard, just because I write 'em, you don't have to read 'em, most of the time they are not aimed at an audience of just yourself.

Who decides who is going to be ignored, how far up the chain?

Now M how do you know I am not in the majority when it comes to some or your more verbose and confusing posts where the message is lost in complexity?

As regards the Chain of Command within our illustrious Council does it matter where it is?  Is it not sufficient to challenge it vigorously and if you get fobbed off like I was last night at Cabinet by Dale Heenan with yet another 'written answer' just keep going until you get one?
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1225 on: December 11, 2014, 11:48:25 AM »
And I suppose you see Rod Bluh as Milo then Mart?

Only slight difference is that as I remember Milo did make a profit for the organisation!

 ;D ;D
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1226 on: December 11, 2014, 12:46:18 PM »
I am not saying individuals shouldn't challenge those in authority, I am just trying to remind them that they do so as individuals. If you want your voice to count as more than an individual, you need to win an election.

One clear thing that the Wi-fi debacle proved is that just because you are a Member of the Council (a Councillor to you and me) it does not mean you can influence the decisions taken by the few.

Just how many of the then 59 Councillors knew about the Wi-fi pRoject?

Just two of them, not even the Cabinet were briefed. 

This was an arbitrary decision taken by just two people, but the question we must all ask is WHY was it necessary to be so damned secretive about it?  We know the EXCUSE was one of 'Commercial Sensitivity' but was this really necessary because the Competition might ridicule it for lack of Capital to be invested or was it to protect the egos of those involved?  I wonder if those two Councillors and subsequently the Cabinet would have been so enthusiastic with 'investing' our money in this joke of an enterprise had they been liable to Surcharge for the value of the lost investment? 

The Decision to hand over the second tranche of £250,000 was taken at Cabinet on March 31st 2010 and here are the minutes.

From the Cabinet Minutes March 31st 2010

PRESENT:- Councillors Roderick Bluh (Chair), Fionuala Foley (Vice-Chair),
Mark Edwards, Peter Greenhalgh, Colin Lovell, Brian Mattock, Garry Perkins,
David Renard and Keith Williams.

Questioner
Mr. Richard Symonds, Shaw, Swindon
I would like to ask the Cabinet, and each Cabinet Member, if you make the
decision recommended in Agenda item 6 are you prepared to be jointly and
individually liable and responsible for any losses incurred should this company fail?

Response

The Chair thanked Mr. Symonds for his question. He advised that the
Cabinet was required to make decisions involving significant amounts of
expenditure all the time, and always did so with care and after careful consideration
of the risk involved. It acted in the best interests of the Council and local residents.
This project represented a new approach to investment for the Council and this, and
the greater risk that was associated with such an investment, was recognised.
However, due to the constraints on local government funding and the budget
pressures facing the Council, new ways of delivering services and of raising income
had to be considered. This project provided an investment opportunity that had the
potential to deliver savings in the Council’s costs greater than its investment, bring
in additional income from a potentially hugely successful project and company, and
have significant benefits for local residents. It is the Cabinet’s role to make difficult
decisions and to be accountable for its actions. Cabinet Members, technically,
would not be personally liable if the company failed.

Mr. Symonds, in a supplementary question, asked whether it would not be better for this matter to be referred to the full Council meeting so that all Councillors could be involved in the decision?

The Chair reiterated that he believed it was the Cabinet’s role to make
decisions on this matter and to be accountable for its actions. The Cabinet always
sought to do what it believed was in the best interests of Swindon. He advised that
there had been significant favourable feedback regarding this project, particularly
from the business sector. It was disappointing that its success and the benefits it
would bring for many residents and the local economy was now being put at risk by
wrangling not over the project but over the internal process adopted within the
Council to approve it. He referred to the security that the Council had to protect its
loan and that even if the project did fail the Council’s interests were protected by the
terms of the loan agreement. He reiterated that the Council did not wish to see the
project fail rather it wished to see it succeed and deliver real benefits to the Council
and local residents.


Rod Bluh's answer to my first question, differed in reality from the record in that he only said these words 'No we are not' and then sat down.  Rod Bluh certainly did not thank me for my question and you wonder why this is still so fresh in my memory Spunky?

As we know the rest is history, but what upsets me about this whole unsavory business is that at no time did those involved seem to pause and think and then having committed us to it did absolutely nothing that is apparent to protect the investment made on our behalf.  Perhaps the above replies might provoke further discussion?

At the time the then Lead Member for Finance, Mark Edwards, said in his budget speech that the Council could no longer afford to just look to Council Tax as its sole means of income and therefore had to look at other means.  In this he meant the likes of Wi-fi and it is interesting to note that no mention has been made of this policy since!! 

Now back to influence in Council.

So getting elected does not mean you get to be briefed about anything and when I do get elected I would not expect to be part of the inner sanctum but that will not stop me from doing my best to represent the people who elected me and that means asking searching questions, which I shall continue to do that is not in the better interest of the people of Shaw in particular and Swindon in general.
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1227 on: December 11, 2014, 01:09:21 PM »
Can we ask Coun Bluh, now to comment on his remarks that 'that is was disappointing that its success and benefits it would bring to many residents by the wrangling of this debate'.
Would he now say that it was a success and what benefits had he seen of late....... :WTF:

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1228 on: December 11, 2014, 01:36:49 PM »
Quote
He referred to the security that the Council had to protect its
loan and that even if the project did fail the Council’s interests were protected by the
terms of the loan agreement.

I will not say that the above statement is an outright lie as whoever wrote it probably thought it to be true. What I will say is that it was proven to be total cobblers. The "investment" was not protected!

The question still remains:

When it was established, by the Scrutiny Committee, that the only way to see where the money SBC gave to Digital City went, was to get the police to find out, why was police involvement, AT THIS STAGE, rejected by Cabinet?

I have a very, very good idea where the money went and exactly what it was spent on and it was nothing to do with setting up a Wi-Fi infrastructure.  :fence:
What's it all about?

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1229 on: February 19, 2015, 08:25:54 PM »
I sent in a few questions to the council leader, one about the million plus to repair the MI Roof, he replied that the council had a legal responsibility to look after residents, after the bank walked away. I thought that legal responsibility would prevail on the owner??.
I also asked why the council had not followed up the scrutiny lot and put the matter of the wifi back in the police hands and also got them to look at the bank account for one, he has replied that the agreement with uk broadband has resulted in the debt owed over this matter, has now been reduced to around £100,000 , he didn't say how much the council has paid uk broadband so far for this deal and if this is used to pay off the debt!!.
happy days eh..

Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1230 on: April 04, 2016, 08:27:30 PM »
Let's hope the deal has settled debts, because they're pretty determined for it to be a "deal"

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/14401015.New_plans_for_wireless_broadband_masts_discussed/
Proud to be gone

Offline Muggins

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Re: Is Final Chapter In wi-fi 'Saga' Near?
« Reply #1231 on: April 05, 2016, 08:09:26 AM »
Must admit, not been following this plot except for the headlines, but am I right in thinking that the people of North Swindon don't want this service, they want something more like Virgin and BT can provide?

Now they are trying to stick masts up where people don't want them, on estates that were created to be filled with people who wouldn't want them?   And mostly filled with people who vote for those who are trying to do this?

And Planning won't allow it or some of the masts to go up? Erm, wouldn't that have been worth checking BEFORE the process? 

A bit of applied common sense could save this town an awful lot of time and money - time to start counting officer time in the budget? 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)