Author Topic: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief  (Read 12502 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #40 on: April 03, 2012, 05:12:38 PM »

So, he's put down his elastic dictionary and picked up 'defamation for dummies' :)

IMHO Bluh defames himself every time he opens his mouth or puts finger to keyboard.

I hope he keeps it up until the May elections.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2012, 03:47:14 PM »
I am still at a loss to understand how an achievement of twelve paying domestic customers against an outstanding loan to Digital City (Uk) Ltd., of £400.000 plus outstanding interesting and then having to prepare accounts for said company using Swindon Council Tax Payers money constitutes a success?

Have I missed something here?
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Offline Alex

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #42 on: April 05, 2012, 07:52:43 AM »
I see this topic has made it into  this week's Private Eye's " Rotten Boroughs "- again ..... how many times is that now?

Offline swindoncentric

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #43 on: April 06, 2012, 03:18:05 PM »
A scan of the latest Swindon section of Private Eye magazine's 'Rotten Boroughs' column.

I think this is the third or fourth time our town has made it.

Seems that all sorts of people that make up the 10 million visit Talk Swindon.




Administrator Comment Attachment added to WiFi file on server.

Dougal
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 04:44:44 PM by Dougal »

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #44 on: April 06, 2012, 05:12:25 PM »
Perhaps readers may want to revisit this thread?http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php/topic,6361.0.html
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Provocateur

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #45 on: April 06, 2012, 06:24:21 PM »
 ;D

Little Boy Bluh,
Come blow up your horn,
Ricky is bankrupt,
and you're treated with scorn.

Where is the leader
Who looks after his sheep?
His head's in the sand,
Buried in deep.

Should we disturb him?
Oh no, not me or you
For if we upset him,
He'll threaten to sue!


Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #46 on: April 07, 2012, 10:33:37 PM »
Coun Bluh lives in his own world when it comes to the Wi-Fi project. He has said on a number of occasions that the project was successful, moreover he has castigated nayone who dared to suggest otherwise. His unwavering confidence in the project is also a matter of public record despite it coming apart even as he spoke.

i have recently received answers to two questions i asked coun Bluh back in January

1.   Is there any link between UK Broadband and Swindon Borough Council which will provide a Borough wide Wi-Fi network as envisaged in the original Digital city project?

Answer: UK Broadband will be installing a 4G LTE network across the Borough.  Once a 4G network is operational, it will be easier and cheaper to enable Wi-Fi access in a local area and the business case for doing this will be reviewed once the 4G LTE network is in place.

2.   Has any contract been signed by Swindon Borough Council and UK Broadband acting in concert with Capita for a service provision which will result in actual auditable savings of £90,000 per annum (and if not £90k pa any savings pa) ?

Answer: A signed contractual arrangement was already in place between SBC and Capita for the provision of wide area network services.  A new services agreement has been signed between Capita and UK Broadband.  UK Broadband has also signed an agreement with the Council for use of our premises to mount their infrastructure.  These arrangements will lead to minimum savings for the Council of at least £480,000 over five years.   

I think from the answers one can assume that the supposed 'investment coming into Digital City' was non existent, as was any hope that UK Broadband was ever going to take on the mantle of Digital City.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #47 on: April 08, 2012, 06:20:51 PM »
I have just found my letter to the Advertiser which I understand was printed in hard copy.

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/yoursay/swindonletters/9632241.Living_church_has_to_move_with_times/

Third Letter down!!

Are you hiding?

I have just returned from the last full council meeting before the elections and asked the following two questions:

1.  What precedent exists in the public sector for a council to pay for the preparation of accounts for a Private Limited Company to whom it made a business loan?

2.  By what means does the council intend to make these accounts available to the people of Swindon?

The deputy leader and Director of Digital City (UK) Ltd., councillor Garry Perkins answered in his abbreviated style that he would give a ‘written answer’.

As a supplementary question I asked if he would be including the written answers to the questions I asked at full council last April 2011? He replied that he would answer the questions asked tonight. Madame Mayor refused me the opportunity to ask any further questions, which is unfortunate and contrary to the spirit of public engagement.

Is this the right way for a council to conduct its business and does it indicate they have something to hide? It will be very interesting to see if the Deputy Leader writes this time when he has failed previously.

Richard Symonds The Bramptons Swindon

Don't you agree we now need to see the accounts which have be prepared with our money?
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #48 on: November 29, 2012, 03:34:45 PM »

Bump  :wink:


Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #49 on: November 29, 2012, 04:05:28 PM »
If someone truly believes that £82k in the back pocket equals free and that he "created Wi-Fi" he is indeed very very sad.

If we "ignore" the money just for one moment, how on earth can a man that did not understand the faintest thing about radio-wave propagation claim to have, "created Wi-Fi"?

Wi-Fi has been around for quite a while and will be around for quite a bit longer I would imagine. Get Signal's (i.e Digital City UK Ltd and all it's directors) contribution to Wi-Fi technology is zero. I repeat ZERO!

Now lets get back to the money. Digital City UK Ltd did not add anything to Wi-Fi technology but they sure took something away. Just short of half a million quid that came from Swindon taxpayers. You! Yes you on the bus!
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Offline Mart

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #50 on: November 29, 2012, 08:09:13 PM »
You! Yes you on the bus

Not me then?

What's a bus?
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 Des Morgan

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #51 on: November 30, 2012, 03:20:22 PM »
Quote
If someone truly believes that £82k in the back pocket equals free and that he "created Wi-Fi" he is indeed very very sad

Let's see -

1. would you pay £82k for 'coaching' from someone who was 'unqualified'?
2. would you pay that money out monthly over 3 years?
3. was the Leader of the Council aware of the payments?
4. should the Cabinet have been aware that he was being paid by the Council before they were asked to make a decision to loan him £450k?
5. do you think it odd that in no papers issued to Cabinet or Scrutiny was any declaration made to the effect that RH was being paid money by the Council and he continued to be paid from January 2009 (when he first invited the Council to consider his proposal) until January 2010.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #52 on: November 30, 2012, 03:44:20 PM »
1. would you pay £82k for 'coaching' from someone who was 'unqualified'?

No.

2. would you pay that money out monthly over 3 years?

No.

3. was the Leader of the Council aware of the payments?

Weighing the balance of probabilities I believe that he was or should have been, unless this is yet another example where the leader has, (paraphrasing his own words): "Risen above the details".  That said, it should be noted that Mr Hunt actually claimed (on Twitter and re-published on TS) to have 'helped SCS prepare for arms length 'for free', so perhaps a few minutes of the upcoming WiFi inquiry time might be devoted to understanding why Mr Hunt appeared to be willfully concealing the fact he was already being paid by SBC when the WiFi'aso began, and continued to be paid for 'mentoring' when he was supposedly spending all his time delivering the promised WiFi network to the Borough.

4. should the Cabinet have been aware that he was being paid by the Council before they were asked to make a decision to loan him £450k?

Yes. Questions needs to be asked, and answered, about who instructed Mr Hunt to be engaged in a paid mentoring role.  In the absence of a credible official explanation one could be forgiven for assuming that Mr Hunt was being regularly and financially 'helped' from the public purse from a person, or persons within the Borough Council. 

Lets remind ourselves how much and how often SBC paid money from the public purse to Mr Hunt: (These are only the direct payments that we know about - At this point we don't know whether SCS may have made similar payments)

£2,000 09/10/2008
£2,000 29/10/2008
£2,000 12/11/2008
£2,000 13/11/2008
£2,000 10/12/2008
£2,000 11/12/2008
£2,000 14/01/2009
£1,000 30/01/2009
£1,000 04/02/2009
£2,000 05/03/2009
£1,000 09/03/2009
£1,000 12/03/2009
£2,000 09/04/2009
£2,000 01/05/2009
£2,000 20/05/2009
£2,000 20/05/2009
£2,000 17/06/2009
£2,000 14/07/2009
£2,000 14/07/2009
£2,000 22/07/2009
£2,000 20/08/2009
£2,000 21/08/2009
£2,000 09/09/2009
£2,000 18/09/2009
£2,000 21/10/2009
£150,000 23/10/2009 - To Digital City (UK) Ltd
£2,000 18/11/2009
£2,000 14/12/2009
£2,000 14/12/2009
£2,000 29/12/2009
£2,000 25/01/2010
£200,000 04/05/10 - To Digital City (UK) Ltd
£50,000 21/05/10 - To Digital City (UK) Ltd

Would someone like to total that up and compare it to an 'average' Swindon Wage?


5. do you think it odd that in no papers issued to Cabinet or Scrutiny was any declaration made to the effect that RH was being paid money by the Council and he continued to be paid from January 2009 (when he first invited the Council to consider his proposal) until January 2010.


My impression is that information which Cabinet members ought to have had was deliberately suppressed. We know that Cllrs Bluh & Edwards concealed details and knowledge of their WiFi scheme from other cabinet members, other Councillors and the general public for a long time.  My own opinion is that Mr Hunts employment by the Borough, and payments to him by the Borough, were a pertinent fact which should have been disclosed and openly discussed to prevent any accusation that Mr Hunt was being given unfair commercial advantage or inappropriate or illegal access to funding from the public purse. 

Questions should also be asked as to whether any future directorships of Digital City (UK) Ltd were to be offered to any Officer or Councillor.

Anyhow, I'm off to earn an honest crust....

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #53 on: November 30, 2012, 03:46:32 PM »
So Mr Hunt's claim that he 'helped prepare SCS for arms length for free for 3 years' appears to be a little porky pie.

Should we be surprised? After all this is the man who also claimed

1. to be 'tendering' for the CCTV in Broadgreen (SA report)
2. to be a director of Forward Swindon
3. to have been approached by SBC to undertake the Wi-Fi project (SA report)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #54 on: November 30, 2012, 04:12:14 PM »
So Mr Hunt's claim that he 'helped prepare SCS for arms length for free for 3 years' appears to be a little porky pie.

Should we be surprised? After all this is the man who also claimed

1. to be 'tendering' for the CCTV in Broadgreen (SA report)
2. to be a director of Forward Swindon
3. to have been approached by SBC to undertake the Wi-Fi project (SA report)


I think Mr Hunt genuinely thought he was going to put the CCTV in Broad Green.  I think he had already been told that the 'job was his' but had to promote the pretence of being in a tendering process. Once the word was out though, it really did have to go out to tender  ;D

I am sure that he did briefly appear on the Forward Swindon website as a director.  I can't find a screenshot for it (yet) but I am sure that he was going to be a director of FS.  I  also remember him being very angry when his proposed directorship of SCS was shitcanned.  His proposed SCS directorship was widely publicised on the SBC Intranet until the pages were hastily removed.   

His directorship of SCS was the subject of an interesting exchange between myself and the Borough Solicitor in which I accused him of being disengenuous in his answers.  (I'll find the relevant TS topic tomorrow).  I am convinced we caught them 'in the act' and forced them into a hasty retreat from pursuing at least two more objectives in which Mr Hunt was to benefit from officer/councillor patronage.

I happen to believe number 3.  I believe that he was approached by a Borough councillor who suggested that he 'knock up' a proposal for WiFi.  The rest I'll leave until the inquiry gets underway  :wink:

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #55 on: November 30, 2012, 07:53:26 PM »
Quote
Lets remind ourselves how much and how often SBC paid money from the public purse to Mr Hunt: (These are only the direct payments that we know about - At this point we don't know whether SCS may have made similar payments)


Indeed there was more - the 'small' amounts in your post add up to £56,000 for 15 months work (a loose term) but in fact between November 2007 and January 2010 Mr Hunt received £82,100 all for 'coaching officers in preparation for their move to an arms length company'

2007/08           £7,500

2008/09           £42,600

2009/10           £32,000

Oh and let's not forget the £105,000 he took from Digital City UK Limited


Offline Mart

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #56 on: November 30, 2012, 08:45:43 PM »
That's a lot of reindeer.

Borough wide free reindeer, there's a project I could get behind. I'd elect one if I could, certainly worth retaining one as a Christmas consultant.

If WiFi doesn't come out grubby someone's probably telling ickle fibs. Probably ought to get reindeer in to investigate. They certainly seem to have ample support.

I think they go 'moo' don't they?
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #57 on: December 01, 2012, 09:17:39 AM »
Do they eat grass?  Cheaper than paying someone to mow? And good trafficc calming.

Now there's a sale pitch - the only town in England with permanent reindeer in it's parks.
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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #58 on: December 01, 2012, 09:23:54 AM »
That's a lot of reindeer.

Borough wide free reindeer, there's a project I could get behind. I'd elect one if I could, certainly worth retaining one as a Christmas consultant.

If WiFi doesn't come out grubby someone's probably telling ickle fibs. Probably ought to get reindeer in to investigate. They certainly seem to have ample support.

I think they go 'moo' don't they?

Apart from pulling Santa around and embarrasing councillors who should know better. A team of poor old reindeer on a mere £850 a day consultation fee cannot be expected to spend time asking all politicians what they knew and when did they know it - surely.

Before you know it there will be calls for an investigation into a Reindeergate scandal seeking to uncover why mentoring Wranglers to feed them Lichen cost £82,100 and why they charged in a director's fee of a further £105,000  ;D

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Taxpayers paid 82k to wi-fi firm chief
« Reply #59 on: December 01, 2012, 10:07:42 AM »
When you see the twice monthly payments of £2,000 that SBC gave Rikki Hunt listed all in one place it is certainly shocking. Let’s see what it means in terms of “real” people.

The Council Tax for a Band H, or the most expensive houses in Swindon (un-parished) is £2,756.36 per annum. Rikki was being handed the equivalent of the tax from one Band H household and the best part of a Band A household every month. For what?

According to the payscale web-site, a full time Business Development Manager, working in Swindon, is paid £45,000 per annum. So why was Rikki Hunt being paid so much for his part time mentoring role, when a qualified manager could have been contracted to carry out this role on a full-time basis say for a year  for far less money?

Looking at it from another perspective, the average wage for an Officer Administrator in Swindon, which I suppose a considerable number of Council Taxpayers are, is £16,619, It is these people who were financing Mr Rikki Hunt.

It begs the question, “How many other people were, or are, being paid in this manner?”

(More shocking, is the fact that Rikki was being paid 4.7058823 Reindeer per month!)
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