Author Topic: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?  (Read 13071 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Russell Holland

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 533
  • Hello !
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #40 on: August 26, 2011, 10:07:04 PM »
Mole - I think wi-fi has been the subject of more scrutiny than perhaps any other topics.  I don't think there has been a veil of secrecy.  Because of the commercial sensitivities around the project there have been some limitations and I accept that that is one of the legitimate concerns about the general debate on public and private sector relations.   

In respect of your general comments about cuts hitting the vulnerable - the Council spends huge sums of money on adult social care and helping the vulnerable.  We invest in disadvantaged areas and we are getting good results.  I think we should publicise this more.

I am not aware of any specific document which deals with the lessons arising from wi-fi.  I think some of the lessons are self-evident.  I do come back to the point that an announcement is awaited so we are not at the end of this.  I suspect even when the announcement is made there will be ongoing questions and debate.



Offline peach

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 112
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #41 on: August 26, 2011, 11:01:08 PM »
I don't think there has been a veil of secrecy.

You are kidding aren't you? There are hundreds of under answered questions about this who's, why's and wherefores of this project...

Offline Des Morgan

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1904
  • Gender: Male
  • Hello !
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #42 on: August 26, 2011, 11:05:41 PM »
Quote
I think wi-fi has been the subject of more scrutiny than perhaps any other topics.  I don't think there has been a veil of secrecy.  Because of the commercial sensitivities around the project there have been some limitations and I accept that that is one of the legitimate concerns about the general debate on public and private sector relations
.   

No Russell it hasn't been the subject of more scrutiny than any other topic - that is an exaggeration of the truth perpetuated by your colleagues and instantly provable as being false. Your own administration attempted to present a timeline showing the extent of the debate/scrutiny and was reduced to having to include the time when Coun Bluh referred to Digital City by way of passing comment in his Progress Report and Q&A Session dated 11 January 2010, and had the gall to suggest that this single mention was part of the scrutiny process.


Yes there has been a veil of secrecy in that answers to questions have been less than frank and in some cases not answered at all. If you really wnat to know the truth meet me and i will show you. I sense that just as other collegaues have done you will 'shrug your shoulders' and decline to comment.

There were no commercial sensitivites applicable to the project pre March 2011. Just obfuscation, bluster and spin sprinkled with some 'porky pies'.  For goodness sake the Committee on which you sat listened to Mr Hunt and Coun Perkins make claims regarding the Bathgate bid which were proved false and yet you and your colleagues sat on your hands and said nothing.

Quote
I suspect even when the announcement is made there will be ongoing questions and debate.

You are right.  And it is to be hoped that councillors and officers will answer questions honestly and openly.  One thing i am sure will happen is that Councillors will try to present any announcement as a victory against those who questionned the original deal EVEN though the new deal will be precisely that A NEW DEAL.

The fact is that there is a lack of confidence in the political system and in some council members. The problem is that you are on the inside and you appear unwilling to recognise the situation. Of course your colleagues rely on public apathy to function as opposed to public support. A sad aspect of democracy perhaps, and one for which no blame attaches to you but rather reflects on society which gets the councils it sometimes deserves!!!

Offline Russell Holland

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 533
  • Hello !
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #43 on: August 26, 2011, 11:24:20 PM »
Des - so far as I am concerned you are welcome to ask as many questions as you like.  That is your right.  I don't mind at all.  When I use the expression scrutiny - it is in the broad sense - meaning there have been a lot of questions asked, it has been to the scrutiny committee a few times and there has been extensive public debate.  Fair enough.  To be fair I think I did ask some questions about the Bathgate point.

I can only repeat my summary - wi-fi potentially good in principle, problems with process and now the priority is to make good any financial loss.  I don't think there was anything illegal or anything done in bad faith.

By all means have the ongoing debate.  I don't mind.  I am not going to try to persuade you that everything was perfect or that lessons don't need to be learned.  I accept that.

In respect of the wider points about the Council.  The Council is a multi million pound organisation.  The wi-fi investment represents a small aspect of the Council's work.  This does not mean it is not an important issue or that people are not entitled to ask questions about it.  By all means do.  But I don't think it overshadows all the good work the Council does or the significant improvements in Council services since 2004.  I think most people support the Conservatives because we do a good job most of the time.

Offline A Mole

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 94
  • Hello !
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #44 on: August 26, 2011, 11:57:33 PM »
I think most people support the Conservatives because we do a good job most of the time.

Cllr Holland, what evidence do you have that "most people support the Conservatives" please?

Offline Chris Watts

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 890
  • Gender: Male
  • Hello !
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2011, 12:30:32 AM »

I can only repeat my summary - wi-fi potentially good in principle, problems with process and now the priority is to make good any financial loss.  I don't think there was anything illegal or anything done in bad faith.

Sorry Russell. You can not make good the financial loss unless you can recover the monies from the current directors of DC. The £400K plus interest is gone and will not be returned. It has been spent with no proper recourse to scrutiny and the Council directors/observers on the board, new and old, are none the wiser as to how this was spent. There was zero due diligence, minimal expertise and an abundance of sales and marketing naivety within the project.

Cllr Bluh admitted in scrutiny that his reason for proceeding using delegate powers was political and was against the advice of the Borough Solicitor. This is (should be) his downfall as I believe, if he had opened this up to the Conservative group, let alone full council, that there would have been enough members to warn him that this was pig and would never fly.

The greatest trick was Mr Hunt convincing councillors and officers alike that the package had intellectual property when in fact it was based on existing technologies from existing vendors that had been around for years. Mr Hunt tied the Council down to exclusivity and commercial confidentiality. Allegedly, Mr Hunt even went down the hard sell road of convincing SBC that other councils were about to take up the option and that SBC would miss out unless they signed tout de suite. In fairness, Mr Hunt is a businessman, and he did the businessman thing. Cllrs Bluh and Edwards did not have to role over and take it. They were out of their league.

Mr Patel tried to convince me that the solution had intellectual property. When I proved otherwise the tact changed and it was stated that the nature of the partnership with the council was the basis of the intellectual property. I suggested that when a Council and a private sector company get together and create a company that will share the profits, that this look very much like a PPP.

As stated in Hansard, the relationship between the principle director and councillors was too "cosy". I believe this lead to the complacency and the overall lack of due diligence. The principle advisor for the project was the beneficiary of the funds when third party independent advise should have been sought, as this was outside of the sphere of expertise of councillors and officers alike.

When (friendly) third party independent advice did turned up on the doorstep in Dec 2009, it was treated with contempt and sent away.  (Only it refused to go away)

There may be new money, a new company involved, a new project and I suspect a new solution based on different technology. This will be year zero for the project and what went before will have no bearing on the way forward, except in knowing how not to proceed.

Redirecting new money to try and fill the £400K hole left by DC will not absolve what went before although we know it will be exploited politically to that end.

« Last Edit: August 27, 2011, 01:30:50 AM by Chris Watts »
Small Print: Member of the Labour Party. GMB Accompanying Rep. IT consultant on sabatical.  Postings may contain political bias. If you have an adverse reaction please desist from reading. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Offline Russell Holland

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 533
  • Hello !
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2011, 08:10:52 AM »
A Mole - I think at recent elections the Conservatives got more than 50% of the vote throughout Swindon. I could have said most voters support the Conservatives to be more precise.

Chris - I accept there have been mistakes and I accept that there have been legitimate concerns expressed.  But I do not believe that there has been anything unlawful or anything done in bad faith.  I cannot really add anything to that.

In respect of making good any financial loss we can only wait and see what the announcement is.  Just to be clear though, I don't think my position as stated above is going to change, that is to say while I am sure there is going to be ongoing discussion, even if there is an argument that the financial loss is made good, I would agree that this does not erase the mistakes or the concerns, but it does mitigate the loss.

Offline Steve Wakefield

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Gender: Male
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #47 on: August 27, 2011, 09:27:54 AM »
I think the Conservatives got 38% or 43% depending on how you interpret it, but anyone who can put up the figures is welcome to do so.
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Russell Holland

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 533
  • Hello !
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #48 on: August 27, 2011, 09:42:52 AM »
Steve - I have just had a quick look and stand corrected - on a quick add up I made it 42%

http://www.swindon.gov.uk/cd/cd-democracy/cd-democracy-elections/Documents/election_results_-_may_2011.pdf

Offline Steve Wakefield

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Gender: Male
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #49 on: August 27, 2011, 09:48:48 AM »
Thanks Russell, I appreciate the swift response.
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Muggins

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8535
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #50 on: August 27, 2011, 02:59:16 PM »
Trouble is that's 42% of 38.2%.   
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 Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4024
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #51 on: August 27, 2011, 03:40:55 PM »
Mole - I think wi-fi has been the subject of more scrutiny than perhaps any other topics.  I don't think there has been a veil of secrecy.  Because of the commercial sensitivities around the project there have been some limitations and I accept that that is one of the legitimate concerns about the general debate on public and private sector relations.   

Russell, as a former member of the Scrutiny Committee, of which I have attended many, you will forgive me for being extremely cynical!

This subject has rightly commanded a great of scrutiny and interest from we members of the general public and every opportunity has been taken to withold requested information.  Answers have only been forthcoming at the following scrutiny meetings and then there was the mysterious blanket blackout on this subject for a sixty day period from March, at the time of Mr Hunt's Bankruptcy.  I trust this is just an interesting matter of coincidence?

Would you please be so kind to reassure the people of Swindon that you personally had no knowledge of Rikki Hunt's Bankruptcy and the Notice to strike Digital City from the Register of Companies?

I suggest that neither of these facts would have ever made it into the public domain had it not been for the inquisitive nature of this forum.
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Russell Holland

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 533
  • Hello !
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #52 on: August 27, 2011, 04:23:45 PM »
Muggins - agree low turn out is a concern.

Richard - I became a member of Cabinet in May 2011 so prior to that time I only had access to such information as was in the public domain.  The first I knew of Rikki Hunt becoming bankrupt was when I saw it in the Adver and the first I knew of the application to strike out was when I saw it on Talkswindon.

Offline Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4024
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #53 on: August 27, 2011, 08:30:40 PM »
Richard - I became a member of Cabinet in May 2011 so prior to that time I only had access to such information as was in the public domain.  The first I knew of Rikki Hunt becoming bankrupt was when I saw it in the Adver and the first I knew of the application to strike out was when I saw it on Talkswindon.

Thank you for that piece of information Russell.
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline Steve Wakefield

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Gender: Male
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #54 on: August 28, 2011, 08:20:38 AM »
I think most people support the Conservatives because we do a good job most of the time.

Cllr Holland, what evidence do you have that "most people support the Conservatives" please?

Mole

I can give you this from the last election in May for South Swindon, the tories had 1.5% more of the vote than Labour. 

Tory        11249   

Labour    10860   
 
LD           3578   

Or Just 389 more votes across the constituency for the Tories over Labour. We must not forget this was also an AV referendum, which may have bolstered some parties turnout/votes in some way?

As I say being in South Swindon, I am more interested in what goes on here. When all the other parties are added to the South Swindon vote the Tories are on 38.5% and Labour 37%.

That is why with 1.5% of the difference in vote support I am a tad surprised the South Swindon MP is being a little timid about the exciting, vibrant, innovative, unique, and permeable wifi achievements of the conservative council? If, as has been pointed out in this thread that most people support the conservatives, then to the Tories  a 1.5% or 389 votes in South Swindon is a significant margin they are satisfied with?
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Mart

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5249
  • Where's my cow?
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #55 on: August 28, 2011, 10:25:31 AM »
I'd forgotten permeable. That'll be the paving I expect.

The eagerness to move on from the various debacles is understandable on the part of SBC and it's representatives, but the more that stack up the more the yearning on the part of the council tax payer for some accountability. The thinking, I think, being 'If I'd done something like that I would be the sole invitee to an arse kicking party' yet the reality is that the perpetrators of these little vibrating visions seem free to simply move onto the next one.

Tsk tsk that didn't go too well, onto the next one doesn't cut it.

This is an excellent example of why I abhor the present political system, party solidarity trumpss eclipses right and wrong and suppresses simple unvarnished truth.

Wifi was, and is, a monumantal cock up by any standard of measurement and it isn't short of company. It is inexplicable that it be portrayed as a brave and noble pursuit that was sabotaged by dark forces and that those responsible for it be considered beaten but unbowed heroes who we should simply trust because they say so.

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.

Got Signal

  • Guest
Re: Digital City Strike Off What and When Did Cllr Russell Holland Know?
« Reply #56 on: August 28, 2011, 10:48:17 PM »
I'd forgotten permeable. That'll be the paving I expect.

Wifi was, and is, a monumantal cock up by any standard of measurement and it isn't short of company. It is inexplicable that it be portrayed as a brave and noble pursuit that was sabotaged by dark forces and that those responsible for it be considered beaten but unbowed heroes who we should simply trust because they say so.

No you must trust them because they are in charge.Three bags full sir! It's simples.