Author Topic: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?  (Read 16907 times)

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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2011, 04:01:27 PM »
As regards any rescue deal how can a Company that is in the process of being Struck From the Register of Companies repay the loan of £400,000 in October or at any other time for that matter?
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Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2011, 04:39:16 PM »
Muggins said:
Quote
Documents more closely guarded than diamonds.  A civic building more secretive than the Kremlin.

You are quite some detective Muggins, the documents must be in the Fuhrer, erGadaffier Brother Leader Bunker!

This will take more than cat woman or spiderman. When the party in Tripoli stops, perhaps they'll lend us some of their un-trained but extremly brave young men. If Bootsy could train them to stop wasting ammunition by firing in the air, we could be on to a bunker busting winner. Or an easier way, if the RAF have any Brimstone guided missiles left, perhaps they could fire one at the bunker to help open the doors. That'll show a bit of "Stronger Together".
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Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2011, 05:23:10 PM »
Quote
As regards any rescue deal how can a Company that is in the process of being Struck From the Register of Companies repay the loan of £400,000 in October


Tha answer is that it can't - that is unless the wheeler dealers in Euclid Street come up with a 'wheeze'. What do I mean - well for starters they could ask a new participant for a fee to 'pay and play'. In essence this is simply extortion but in the business world it's called being pragmatic!  It is practised in the retail world quite extensively, say a leading DIY group opens a new store which by default means a supplier will do increased business - the DIY group asks for £50,000 as a contribution to start up costs - of course if you don't pay up it may affect your future prospects of continuing to be a supplier.


In the case of SBC they could offer a sweet deal where for an annual rebate of say £40k the new investor gets first dibs at any other IT/media aspect of the SBC portfolio.  In 10 years the Council has recovered the £400k albeit form an entriely innocent party.  You will of course see the fault line - if the new investor was happy to pay the 'pay to play' price then it still means the original debt is outstanding - it really isn't a case of 'robbing peter to pay paul' that's a fairytale

Offline Anne Snelgrove

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2011, 05:56:28 PM »
I'm sure you're right Des. However, if the council went down this route it would not make losing the £450K loan to Digital City acceptable to taxpayers as the original money is still lost; secondly any such agreement ties the council to one partner for many years and is likely to lead to severe commercial disadvantage in return for short term financial advantage and political expediency.

If I were still the MP I would be asking for an urgent meeting with the Leader and the Chief Executive, at which I would want reassurances that any agreements/contracts with third party companies do not compromise SBC's ability to maximise its assets in future, and that proper due diligence had been carried out this time.

Of course, the relationship with Digital City has put SBC in a very weak negotiating position. This must not be allowed to morph into a very weak relationship with a second company leading to even greater losses in future.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2011, 06:26:41 PM »
Outer:  Of course in the all-outs next May, just a few short months away, a different administration might be elected and then...... well....will they have access to the documents, after all, whoever is/was involved, it is Swindon Borough  as a Council, as an organisation, that is involved in the debacle.  Historical documents are the province of many not just a few - time will tell. 
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)

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2011, 06:38:20 PM »
Oh Anne - I think your hopes will be dashed into a thousand pieces as SBC makes  attempts to 'spin' the new deal as some sort of natural progression towards the original objectives as set out in the Cabinet Briefing Paper of October 2009.

Of course we will probably hear that social inclusion - item 1 in the original document, will not be as important. So 2 hours broadband connectivity free for life may not feature.  Item 2 - assisting new and existing small businesses will probably go by the board as many existing broadband providers are offering superb deals. Item 3 - assisting local area partners in achieveing 'Destination Swindon' - too late that bus has gone. Item 4 - Enabling swindon to become a desirable business location - only Rikki Hunt and Coun Bluh could seriously believe that chief executives were concerned at the lack of a Council run Wi-Fi facility. Item 5 - Supports the Council's sustainability agenda - yes, yes we have all heard this claim before and it's as droll now as it was then. Wi-Fi and car jouneys are not related even if Rikki Hunt thought they were. Item 6 - Supports connecting people connecting places - if only!! I end with Item 7 - the opportunity to generate additional revenues from selling the system and services. This from a Council who asked me to define 'Commercial Viability' a term they used but clearly failed to understand.

Offline Anne Snelgrove

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2011, 06:40:53 PM »
Outer:  Of course in the all-outs next May, just a few short months away, a different administration might be elected and then...... well....will they have access to the documents, after all, whoever is/was involved, it is Swindon Borough  as a Council, as an organisation, that is involved in the debacle.  Historical documents are the province of many not just a few - time will tell. 

Sadly any deals will have been done by then, leaving future administrations (whatever their political colour) to clear up the mess this one's left them in.

Offline Anne Snelgrove

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2011, 06:56:08 PM »
Oh Anne - I think your hopes will be dashed into a thousand pieces as SBC makes  attempts to 'spin' the new deal as some sort of natural progression towards the original objectives as set out in the Cabinet Briefing Paper of October 2009.

Of course we will probably hear that social inclusion - item 1 in the original document, will not be as important. So 2 hours broadband connectivity free for life may not feature.  Item 2 - assisting new and existing small businesses will probably go by the board as many existing broadband providers are offering superb deals. Item 3 - assisting local area partners in achieveing 'Destination Swindon' - too late that bus has gone. Item 4 - Enabling swindon to become a desirable business location - only Rikki Hunt and Coun Bluh could seriously believe that chief executives were concerned at the lack of a Council run Wi-Fi facility. Item 5 - Supports the Council's sustainability agenda - yes, yes we have all heard this claim before and it's as droll now as it was then. Wi-Fi and car jouneys are not related even if Rikki Hunt thought they were. Item 6 - Supports connecting people connecting places - if only!! I end with Item 7 - the opportunity to generate additional revenues from selling the system and services. This from a Council who asked me to define 'Commercial Viability' a term they used but clearly failed to understand.


I know Des. Still hopelessly naive about the democratic process and elected representatives' ability to hold councils to account despite losing my seat last year....

Your analysis is I am sure spot on (and very funny to boot). Let's hope it's put the wind up a few of 'em anyway.

BTW, whilst I was noodling around the web earlier I found a new prototype wordpress blog set up on 19 August by Mr Hunt seeming to offer his services as a coach and 'turnaround' agent - now that IS funny. Or tragic.

http://dev.rikkihunt.com/?cat=1#

Offline Russell Holland

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2011, 07:10:49 PM »
CanI make a request that this thread is incorporated into the main wi-fi thread?   I don't particularly want a very long thread developing with my name as the topic and the topic is nothing about me - or maybe could the thread be renamed?

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2011, 07:14:06 PM »
Des, it still makes a nonsense of the original concept anyway as we have more than enough coverage already, so however much they spin it there is now nothing left to spin.  :spin:  unless.......................

they nick some of the money the government is making available for rural role out in Wiltshire, but surely they wouldn't be that desperate would they?

Incidentally, welcome back Anne I am sure you will have much more to contribute on this complex subject.
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2011, 07:18:53 PM »
BTW, whilst I was noodling around the web earlier I found a new prototype wordpress blog set up on 19 August by Mr Hunt seeming to offer his services as a coach and 'turnaround' agent - now that IS funny. Or tragic.
http://dev.rikkihunt.com/?cat=1#


How interesting but it is a bit like his Wi-fi it doesn't work!!

and when I posted the spin above it didn't work either - is that an Omen for the Administration in its desperation to get out of this mess?
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Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2011, 08:00:33 PM »
Yes Anne, What you saw is the test web-site for "Rikki Hunt Associates". Rikki's new personae.

It is no doubt being set up by his son, Martin "chip of off the old block" Hunt. who set up one page web-sites for Rikki's other "adventures". They are worth finding for a laugh if you get bored here.

"Turnarounds" indeed! He could turn a successful company into an unsuccessful one. That's about it.

Incidently. Your speech in the house about the Wi-Fi project was spot-on. I'm surprised that so few people knew that it was. Do people have to have the back of their trousers burning before they realise that there is a fire somewhere close by?
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Offline Mart

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2011, 08:08:36 PM »
Cor blimey, welcome back Anne. Loathed your politics but at least I used to get a Christmas card and absence has unaccountably made the heart grow fonder. I genuinely smiled.

Russell, I applaud you jumping in and all that, and I don't want to put you off, but this isn't Council, you don't get to dictate the rules of engagement, You do get a tick in the communicatng box though and I suspect it's just a matter of time before Rodders or one of his disciples tells you to reel it in.

Your long response was masterful, but to be honest there's half a dozen of us on here could have written it once we'd got into character.

We don't tend to respond to being called to order and the language can get a bit agricultural, if attacks seem a bit personal that's because we get the arse with being buggered around.

Your colleagues do something questionable and you express surprise that there's an eagerness for information.

Your loyalty must lay with those who voted for you, not with the party you belong to, you act in their interest and must set aside the sensibilities of those who masterminded the morally and fiscally bankrupt sack of poo that is WiFi, I have no doubt that the key decisions were legal, so were a lot of MP's expense claims but they still provoked revulsion.

You can probably stonewall and preserve your position, so, probably, will your replacement, but the clock is ticking and eventually politicians  of every grade will have to change their moral code. It's just a case of knowing when to jump. I think you are right, it's not yet, but it is coming.
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 Ben Reid

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2011, 08:28:32 PM »
I quite like the title of the thread, I haven't read all of it.

BUT Councillor Russell Holland of Swindon Borough Council, Elected Representative of the people as a member of the Conservative lead council's cabinet as you all "act as one" and are from what I can gather a hive mentality....Perhaps you would like to explain to the good taxpayers of swindon (who funded this abomination of a scheme) and tell the truth without political spin? (as you once said your keeping your cabinet role non political)

As a cabinet member surely you must also be prepared to apologise for your administrations mistake regarding the loan to Digital City and the failures that shortly followed.

I await your non political answer with great interest.

Happy posting

Ben :)

Offline Chav

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2011, 08:44:55 PM »
Is Jim Grant saying that it is appropriate to make public statements seeking to compel people in some form of public appointment to resign from office just because they are in financial difficulties?  It is conceivable that individuals will have personal difficulties from time to time (this could be a school governor, someone on the PCT, people on the various Council Committees), these matters should be privately resolved.

You make a very good point Russell,

Jim didn’t seem to be calling for the same resignation from office when a fellow Labour party councillor was having some difficulties
Quote
In a statement, Labour leader Jim Grant (Western), said: “Councillor Osa’s membership with the Labour Party has been suspended, pending further investigations.
“She will no longer hold the Labour Party whip on the council, and is not permitted to represent the Labour Party or hold office within the Labour Party until further notice.”

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9076616.New_councillor_Ellen_suspended/

and nor did he make himself available for any comment when her suspension was lifted.

Quote
And yesterday evening the leadership was still keeping tight-lipped about exactly what the allegations were that led to her suspension in the first place, although the Adver understands that it was to do with her failing to disclose information about her fitness to stand as a candidate.
Coun Osa would not speak to the Adver, and neither leader Jim Grant (Western) or his deputy Mark Dempsey (Parks) could be reached.

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/9209670.Councillor_Ellen_back_in_business/

Maybe Jim Grant as the leader of the Labour Group should have learnt by now the old adage
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”


You most certainly have a valid point there Bogo - goose and gander thingy  >:D
Regardless of who you are !

I am a great believer in karma  O0
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Offline Russell Holland

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2011, 09:26:15 PM »
Mart, with respect, I do not think I said anything which sought in anyway to "dictate" the "rules of engagement".  I have said several times but I will repeat, I respect the rights of people to express their view or challenge the Council however they like.  All I am saying is that how things are expressed can add or detract from a debate.  I have not at any point expressed any surprise at people requesting information. I have said I respect people doing that.  I think the priority has to be making good any financial loss. 

Ben - I think I have said everything I can say in what I have already posted but here is a summary:

The idea of wi-fi is in principle a good idea, there have been a series of concerns raised (some of which I accept are legitimate) as to the way in which the decision to invest was made and the initial start up of digital city.  I regret that there have been problems and that wi-fi has not delivered what was intended.  For me the priority now has to be to seek to make good any financial loss.  I cannot really say anything else.  If I am required to make a decision as a Cabinet member in connection with wi-fi I will publicly state my reasons for my decision.

Bogomil that is a good point about Jim Grant's inconsistency.  However, as far as I am concerned, Councillor Osa was elected by the people of Walcot and as a new Councillor I know what it is like to be learning the ropes so I am not going to say anything which might make her job harder.  As I say, everyone in life may have problems from time to time, it is best to resolve some things privately.  We can all form our own views to what Jim Grant would have done if a Conservative Councillor had been suspended without explanation.




Offline Weebleman

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #36 on: August 26, 2011, 08:45:05 AM »
The idea of wi-fi is in principle a good idea, there have been a series of concerns raised (some of which I accept are legitimate) as to the way in which the decision to invest was made and the initial start up of digital city. 

Russell, if you believe only some of the expressed concerns are legitimate could you enlighten us as to those concerns you feel are not legitimate?

Offline James

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2011, 02:03:47 PM »
Quote
For me the priority now has to be to seek to make good any financial loss.  I cannot really say anything else

I think you can stop worrying about this one to be honest.
Unless the equipment installed in Highworth is worth £400,000 the money is gone.

Any "additional" money we are able to extract from the next company would have been available anyway, if we've got decent negotiators involved. 

We could try to persuade government to cough up. But why would they fish us out of a self made (and relatively small) hole?

I wish we could move on from this nonsense, and start to focus on what learning we can take from this debacle. (Step 1 is to admit it as such)
We have some multi-million pound deals going on, and I'd hate to think that similar mistakes are being made by the same people as I type.

For the record, I do feel sympathy for Mr Hunt. Entreprenuers take risks, and sometimes they don't work out. He is paying a price most of us simply would not be prepared to gamble with.

I don't feel any sympathy for the small cadre of Swindon's political elite who landed us with a mess other councils could clearly see a mile off. They bought the spin, but didn't read the small print...

Offline Russell Holland

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #38 on: August 26, 2011, 08:42:15 PM »
Weeble - in view of probably hundreds of posts and questions and other points raised during scrutiny meetings and at other Council meetings I cannot go through each and every concern.  But in general terms - I accept that there are legitimate concerns about the way in which the original decision was made (i.e. should it have been a decision for debate at full Council), the initial problems with the start up of the company and the performance of the company (all of these have been well documented).  I accept that this gives rise to a more general debate about the appropriate process and nature of relationships between public and private bodies.

I do not accept that there has been anything illegal or any bad faith on the part of any action taken by Swindon Borough Councillors or Officers.  I accept mistakes have been made but I am not prepared to infer any illegality or bad faith arising from that.

James - when an announcement made I am sure this will give rise to a new debate.  So I will wait until then to comment on how the loss can be made good.


Offline moley

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Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #39 on: August 26, 2011, 09:05:37 PM »
I do not accept that there has been anything illegal or any bad faith on the part of any action taken by Swindon Borough Councillors or Officers.  I accept mistakes have been made but I am not prepared to infer any illegality or bad faith arising from that.

Perhaps there hasn't - but because of the veil of secrecy round the whole project, people smell a rat.  Until the veil of secrecy is lifted, I think people will continue to question it.

In a world where council employees are losing their jobs, where there are cuts hitting the most vulnerable in society and where we're all likely to be impacted by the cutbacks this lack of transparency seems even worse.

I'd like to ask another question... is the council performing any kind of retrospective on what went wrong with the Digital City project and to try and make sure that relevant lessons are learnt and mistakes not repeated?

Cheers

Moley