Author Topic: Mr Hunt  (Read 9111 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Terry Reynolds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2724
  • Gender: Male
  • `13 years of lies lies, sleaze porn 10p fiascos, m
Mr Hunt
« on: April 30, 2013, 09:55:07 AM »
I see in todays Adver, that the salary of Mr Hunt has risen its head again, and of course Mr Perkins didn't know about it....... :wink: :wink:



Offline Richard Symonds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4024
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 10:42:12 AM »
Tell us more T!!
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

ph1lc

  • Guest
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 01:20:40 PM »
Copied from Adver online ---


Wi-fi boss was paid £12k a month... but who agreed to it?
.
9:00am Tuesday 30th April 2013 in News.

 Rikki Hunt and Rod Bluh at the launch of the wi-fi project in 2009

BUSINESSMAN Rikki Hunt’s firm was paid more than £100,000 to lead Swindon’s failed wi-fi project as part of £360,000 of taxpayers’ money spent over just 16 months on “administrative expenses”.
 
Swindon Council agreed in October 2009 to invest up to £450,000 in the firm Digital City (UK) Ltd, to provide broadband access and other wi-fi related services across the Swindon borough, but infrastructure was only installed in Highworth and the firm never generated enough income to pay the loan back.
 



The council set up the firm under a joint venture partnership with technical partners aQovia UK Ltd and Avidity Consulting Ltd, a firm owned by Mr Hunt, who became the managing director of the new firm, based at the David Murray John Tower, in the town centre. Swindon Council eventually invested £400,000 and was the only cash investor of the parties.
 
The firm was projected to pay back the loan within two years and produce a net annual profit of about £700,000 after two years, but by the end of 2010 it had made an operating loss of £459,180, leading to questions about what went wrong and where the cash went.
 
Now an independent auditor’s report to the shareholders, which has been passed to the Adver, reveals that between August 14, 2009 and December 31, 2010, Digital City paid Mr Hunt’s Avidity Consulting £105,067 in “consultancy costs”.
 .
.

Ads by Google

Best Solar Panels 2013

Committed to Finding You the Lowest Price - Compare Easily & Save More!

Which-Compare.co.uk/SolarPanels


Solar Panel Prices

The UK's No 1 Solar Comparison Site Over 50 000 Customers Connected

TheEcoExperts.co.uk/Solar

..
 The chief executive post was always meant to be remunerated, but a leaked draft report from a review group of Swindon councillors looking into the wi-fi fiasco, says it is not clear who authorised his salary, which Mr Hunt says he agreed to stop taking in June 2010.
 
It states: “The shareholder panel... never met yet the CE of Digital City was awarded remuneration of £12,000 per month. No one interviewed could remember being part of the decision to approve that.”
 
The auditor’s report reveals that Digital City’s payment to Avidity Consulting formed part of the £359,876 it paid in “administrative expenses”, which among other office costs included £25,578 for wages and salaries, £3,106 for travel and subsistence, and £601 for entertainment.
 
According to the report, Digital City only had a turnover of £5,000 and a handful of customers. But over the same period it spent £31,500 on product management and sales support, £3,600 on business intelligence, £16,000 on customer intelligence and £16,000 on billing, collections and debt management.
 
The auditor’s report does not state who was paid for these administrative expenses, including for these four services.
 
During a council meeting in January, wi-fi critic Des Morgan, of Caraway Drive, West Swindon, asked Coun Garry Perkins whether any of the work for these four services was undertaken by Mr Hunt or any member of his family, and whether any of the money was paid to Mr Hunt or to any family member or company/organisation with which Mr Hunt had an association.
 
He added: “Unless a full answer is given, he [Coun Perkins] and the council must be prepared to accept that it will always look as if you are attempting to avoid disclosure of some unsavoury issue.”
 
There is no evidence of improper conduct and Coun Perkins, cabinet member for regeneration and culture, who represented Swindon Council on the board of Digital City, said he utterly repudiated his insinuations, adding that he had provided more detail than the director of a private company would.
 
Mr Morgan reported his concerns to the police who decided there was no basis for further investigation.
 
Mr Hunt, 59, of Carlisle Avenue, who is a former chairman of Swindon Town FC, became bankrupt in March 2011, which among other restrictions means he cannot be a company director. Bankruptcy normally lasts for 12 months but this was extended in January 2012 until January 2016 because he broke the restrictions.
 
The Insolvency Service said he failed to disclose to the official receiver that he owned shares in a private limited company, estimated to be worth between £3,250 and £16,500, which should have gone into the pot to be paid to creditors. Mr Hunt subsequently arranged the transfer of the shares to another for no consideration.
 
According to Companies House, Avidity Consulting was dissolved via voluntary strike-off on December 11, 2012 following an application from Mr Hunt’s wife, Laura, 44, who was appointed the sole director on December 1, 2010 – the day before Mr Hunt resigned.
 
'There was nothing improper about it'

FORMER wi-fi boss Rikki Hunt said the payout to his firm of more than £100,000 was reasonable – and said ‘nothing improper’ went on with Digital City UK.
 
Mr Hunt, who left the firm in March 2011, said the level of renumeration to Avidity Consulting Ltd was something agreed initially between the shareholders. He said Swindon Council was represented in the discussions by officers, who he would not name because he did not think it was fair on them.
 
He said: “Shareholders agreed the consultancy and service payments for both aQovia and myself before the project started, so by definition the council as a partner was party to these discussions. They had to be, they were partners. It was in the business plan. They agreed and that’s the end of it.
 
“If you look at my background of earnings, it was not excessive. It was quite reasonable, it was quite low to what I had earned previously, and I was stopping everything I was doing to focus on this project.
 
“I’m 100 per cent there was nothing that was not proper. There shouldn’t be, that’s not what I would do, it’s a nonsense, it’s just people pick on certain pieces and blow them up into conspiracies.”
 
Mr Hunt said none of the money went to his family or any of his other companies. He said he voluntarily agreed in June 2010 to stop payments to Avidity Consulting.
 
Mr Hunt, who said Digital City only employed one person for admin and sales and marketing support, said aQovia received the money spent on product management, on sales support, on business intelligence, on customer intelligence and £16,000 on billing, collections and debt management.
 
He said these were part of the set-up costs and were required no matter how many customers there were.
 
He said the fact the project became politicised was not helpful in securing customers and suppliers, but would not say any more about the reasons for the failure of Digital City until the council’s review is published in the coming weeks.
 
Mr Hunt, now a business coach, said he went bankrupt because of personal investments, which had nothing to do with Digital City or Avidity Consulting.
 
Coun Garry Perkins, who was the council’s director on Digital City, said: “I was not aware that he was being paid anything. I was not aware of the arrangements that had been made. And the first board meeting I had was with aQovia and Rikki in June [2010] and that was when the discussion came up of the renumeration Rikki’s company was getting.
 
“And because of the non-profit-making at that time of Digital City, it was agreed to stop payment at that meeting. So any money he received was prior to me being aware of him receiving any money.”
 
Coun Perkins said he was not involved in the initial discussions and could not comment on the level of payment, but assumed it was agreed by all parties.
 
'It was not put out to tender'

WI-FI campaigner Des Morgan said: “It appears that Mr Hunt paid himself over £12,000 per month from the very outset of the wi-fi scheme – the accounts suggest he considered it appropriate to take over 25 per cent of the sum loaned by the council as a salary.
 
“At the same time Mr Hunt was also being paid to act as a business mentor to officers and he was paid £12,000 over the same period he was being paid to manage Digital City. In total Mr Hunt received payments from the council totalling £82,000 for what was described as coaching council officers in preparation for their move to an arms-length company.
 
“What we do know is that the work for which Mr Hunt was paid £82,000 was not put out to tender, it was not discussed by the cabinet and it was not apparently subject to any contract stipulating the type of services to be provided or a timeline in which the mentoring was to be completed.
 
“In total Mr Hunt was the beneficiary of over £187,000 of taxpayers’ money and there is little if any audit trail showing whether value for money was obtained.”
 
But why did it fail?

DIFFERENT theories still abound for the failure of the wi-fi project.

The independent auditor’s report states: “The original business case for the company was dependent on revenue from public sector services which the directors do not believe are viable under current conditions. With the business proposition no longer viable, the company has been unable to secure additional funding to continue to support the activities of the business.”
 
But the cabinet member briefing note which approved the original loan in October 2009, says the viability of the concern was not reliant on exporting the business model to other councils.
 
It says: “Beyond year two, the projected net profit is circa £700,000 per year. This does not include any projections from exporting the business model to other councils.”
 
A cabinet report in March 2010 into the failure of the pilot in Highworth, says: “The delay in having a fully operational ‘back-office’ customer care and billing operation has hindered oppor-tunities to sell.”
 

Offline Des Morgan

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1904
  • Gender: Male
  • Hello !
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 01:38:45 PM »
According to the SA - Mr Hunt states that his remuneration was agreed between the shareholders. He claims SBC was represented in those discussions by officers of the Council. That really should be easy to confirm especially as Mr Hunt is adamant he can name the officers who attended the meeting.

He also claims that Shareholders (SBC being one) agreed the consultancy and service payments for both aQovia and himself before the project started. Indeed he claims the costs were 'in the business plan'

That would be entirely as I would expect it to have been. As part of the business plan I would have expected to see a 'cash flow' statement in which wages, consultancy and service charges would have been set out.

Mr Hunt then answers a question which Coun perkins was unable to when i asked him.

According to Mr Hunt, assuming he has been quoted correctly, the following cost of sales payments were made to aQovia

a) Product Management  £31,500
b) Business Intelligence  £  3,600
c) Customer Service        £16,000
d) Billing Operations        £16,000

TOTAL                             £67,100

Some may feel these costs are quite surprising given that in a cabinet report in March 2010 into the failure of the pilot in Highworth, it was claimed that "The delay in having a fully operational ‘back-office’ customer care and billing operation has hindered oppor-tunities to sell.”

According to the notes to the accounts, under related party transactions DC incurred costs from aQovia of £44,564 of which £39,774 remains outstanding.

Coun Perkins claim not to have known about the fees paid to Mr Hunt has more than a ring of truth about it. I do believe he only became aware in June 2010, sadly at £12,000 per month that meant £96,000 plus - had gone!

I do think that people will feel slightly uneasy that Mr Hunt was in receipt of £187,000 of council taxpayers money for hii work on the failed DC project and for his mentoring service to officers in preparation for their move to an arms length company. In this case the assumption is that the arms length company was SCS and as we all know Mr Hunt declared he did that 'for free'

« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 02:31:26 PM by Des Morgan »

Offline jennyb

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Gender: Female
  • Kareen
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 04:29:20 PM »
It would appear that there is a serious question of governance in the use of tax payers' money. If this were an isolated incident this would be of significant concern. 

To date there is no record of approval of the decision to invest in the building of modular schools ( in competition with established providers ) now known as Class Solutions.

The decision to invest in this multi million pound 'venture' may have had it's genesis within the 2009 steering group for whom no records appear to exist. There is evidence that R&D work began in 2010 with a local company. It is not clear whether this R&D went out to tender.

It is my understanding that both WiFi and Class Solutions relied upon SCS for the provision of services.

It is to be wondered whether either of these ventures were factors in the decision to make SCS a stand alone company?

Several names pop up in common across both endeavours.

Were SBC/SCS able to sell Class Solutions to other authorities it is unclear to whom it would fall to underwrite any risk. The tax payers of the borough of Swindon?

If members of a local authority wish to embark on speculative business ventures let them do so on their own time and risking their personal funds. 

There will always be another entrepreneur ready to sell a half baked scheme to a gullible buyer. If the truth is not aired and the root causes addressed in the Wifi fiasco then what is there to prevent a recurrence and to protect public money?


« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 05:22:11 PM by jennyb »
It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

Offline Des Moffatt

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 337
  • Hello !
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 04:41:02 PM »
Todays Adver story seems like a pre-emptive strike to me.
Yes we do have a draft report in circulation however I am confident my three colleagues did not leak it to the Adver and I am equally confident that the two officers servicing our task group did not leak it either. It was not hard to guess what we found when we were pretty brutal in demanding who decided what and when.

That begs the question, in whose interest was it to pre-empt the report going to the Scrutiny Committee with incomplete and slightly inaccurate information.

Offline jennyb

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Gender: Female
  • Kareen
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 05:26:28 PM »
Todays Adver story seems like a pre-emptive strike to me.
Yes we do have a draft report in circulation however I am confident my three colleagues did not leak it to the Adver and I am equally confident that the two officers servicing our task group did not leak it either. It was not hard to guess what we found when we were pretty brutal in demanding who decided what and when.

That begs the question, in whose interest was it to pre-empt the report going to the Scrutiny Committee with incomplete and slightly inaccurate information.

WHen is the Scrutiny Committee, 17th June 2013?

Or is there to be a 'special' meeting ?
It takes wisdom to know what you know and wisdom to know what you don't know and when to call in those who do. Often the people who do know will advise that evidence and research are very helpful when making decisions. Who knows it might even save a bit of money.

ph1lc

  • Guest
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 06:30:13 PM »
Todays Adver story seems like a pre-emptive strike to me.
Yes we do have a draft report in circulation however I am confident my three colleagues did not leak it to the Adver and I am equally confident that the two officers servicing our task group did not leak it either. It was not hard to guess what we found when we were pretty brutal in demanding who decided what and when.

That begs the question, in whose interest was it to pre-empt the report going to the Scrutiny Committee with incomplete and slightly inaccurate information.

I suggest you correct the inaccuracies then Des. The adver article is pretty damming and not just of Hunt.

There are several people at SBC who are going to have some serious questions to answer. Not least Gavin Jones and McKellar.

Offline Tobes

  • Regents
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4951
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 06:34:46 PM »
Good to see a proper in-depth article in The Adver for once.

Heads should roll after this - how the hell can Perkins continue to front this one? He's a dead man walking, surely?

And doesn't it rather show Bluh's resignation in a new light too...?
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Tobes

  • Regents
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4951
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 06:38:59 PM »
Oh - and a big thankyou to you Des. You've kept onto this and asked the questions in the public arena which kept this topic alive and subject to a scrutiny which, if the politards had their way, would have been swept under the carpet.

Shame on the conservative politicians for putting expediency ahead of public interest.

Shame on the officers for colluding with this very amateur and obviously flawed project without affording it proper due diligence.

Shame on the opposition for being so intellectually weak and so neutered that it took members of the public to expose this affair properly.

When it next comes round, I think there's real scope for us to recommend Des for a very well deserved Pride Of Swindon Award...
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Des Moffatt

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 337
  • Hello !
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 06:59:54 PM »
Why bother

Offline the gorgon

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1412
  • Hello !
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2013, 07:02:53 PM »
Good to see a proper in-depth article in The Adver for once.

Heads should roll after this - how the hell can Perkins continue to front this one? He's a dead man walking, surely?

And doesn't it rather show Bluh's resignation in a new light too...?

When Bluh announced his resignation I couldn't help but wonder what had been dug-up on him,  as he never struck me as the resigning sort.

Offline Tobes

  • Regents
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4951
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2013, 07:11:23 PM »
Quote
Why bother

Because acts in the public interest should be noted, appreciated and celebrated.

Imagine the cluster-£"c£ which we'd be subjected to if somewhere deep and dark in a councilor's cortex, there wasn't at least the reminder that stupidity, culpability or ineptitude might one day be exposed.

What you've done is no different to a number of other examples in which members of the public refused to take some palmed-off response as read, when it clearly wasn't the whole picture.

The next time someone presents a poorly thought-out, flaw riddled plan to be run by someone without a relevant track record, perhaps the ghost of WiFi will rear its head. The tax money wasted came from me too remember - and I for one am grateful that your actions might help stop it being wasted or paid to the undeserving in the future.

Jus' ma opinion. But I suspect ah ain't alone...
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

ph1lc

  • Guest
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2013, 07:24:50 PM »
Why bother

Just about sums up the opposition in Swindon.

YOU need to bother because the competence of several senior officers and Councillors is seriously in question here.

Probably in the best interests of Swindon if you resign as a Councillor NOW Des if that's all you care.

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2013, 07:55:37 PM »
Pre-emptive strike by whom and for what purpose? 

How many other cllrs and officers have received an electronic copy of the circulated draft?, if it's a large number I'm a little disappointed a copy hasn't arrived via the leakline :)

I'm interested in which parts of the article are  incorrect though.


**************************************************
Posted from Galaxy Note using Tapatalk 2 App.

Offline Tobes

  • Regents
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4951
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2013, 08:06:09 PM »
Quote
Quote from: Des Moffatt on Today at 06:59:54 PM

    Why bother


Just about sums up the opposition in Swindon.

YOU need to bother because the competence of several senior officers and Councillors is seriously in question here.

Probably in the best interests of Swindon if you resign as a Councillor NOW Des if that's all you care.

Damn right Ph1C - Des Moffat - that looks like a pretty outrageous thing to say. Can you explain what you mean to avoid any danger of misunderstanding?

How do you feel as an opposition councilor when its clear that Des Morgan has borne the greatest burden of responsibility for brining this farce to light? Isn't it / shouldn't it be the work of an effective opposition party to provide this level of scrutiny? That it has come instead from a man who has put public interest against his normal political inclinations makes it even more piquant.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Jon Ratcliffe

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 54
  • Hello !
    • Photography in Swindon, take a look at the current projects!
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2013, 08:37:40 PM »
If you'd like to click this link, and then click on the first podcast in the list you can hear me speechless (it doesn't happen very often) talking about the wi-fi on today's Home Run Show

http://www.swindon1055.com/ondemand/

Enjoy!

Offline Spunkymonkey

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 999
  • Gender: Male
  • Hello !
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2013, 08:43:50 PM »
Quote
Mr Hunt, now a business coach, said he went bankrupt because of personal investments

People are still paying him for business advice !!!!  :bash:

Offline Des Moffatt

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 337
  • Hello !
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2013, 08:48:44 PM »
I can’t be bothered to engage with the petty prejudice of Tobes.
He choses to forget that I recorded my vote against Wi-Fi twice and the Tory members block voted it through Scrutiny. He is blissfully unaware that I and one other declared Wi-Fi would not succeed because of the connectivity provided by iphones and the approaching 4G, me in particular having been educated in these matters by Chris Watts. He ignores the basic principle that those named in any report have the right to comment before it becomes public.

Offline Des Morgan

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1904
  • Gender: Male
  • Hello !
Re: Mr Hunt
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2013, 08:59:23 PM »
Des Moffatt has been a staunch and unswerving questionner of the Wi-Fi scheme and i am confident his groups analysis will address the major issues.

I am not sure that the SA report says anything which wasn't 'self evident' but David Wiles makes some good points.

His use of the accounts of DC and the notes of the Auditor are self evident

It is clearly the case that Coun Perkins and Mr Hunt were given an opportunity to comment in very much the same way as i was.

I know that my comments as asked for have been recorded accurately and I stand by them.