Author Topic: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video  (Read 11894 times)

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Offline Weebleman

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2013, 02:22:10 PM »
Can I say I thought the video quality and editing/presentation was very good it being easy to follow with annotations. Thank you Geoff and Richard.  :clap:

Seconded. First rate job, and thanks to both. What an eye opener  :thumb:

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2013, 02:45:25 PM »
agreed, but the council not only need some new staff, but also a better audio system, so we can hear what they actually say..

Offline Muggins

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2013, 02:51:31 PM »
Needs new councillors, needs new staff, needs new audio system.............

Not much that doesn't need replacing then?
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 carole bent

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2013, 03:47:49 PM »
Dear " I could do that " .....  interesting point about someone offering to help " move you out " - I also had something  similar suggested to me in the early days of raising concerns about the Croft process.


A friend has asked me to post up a copy of my letter that the adver printed on saturday as it isnt on line but some people have related to it in their letters ( Guy Green / Malcolm Morrison today )

STANDING UP FOR SWINDON  (5/ 10/13)

The Adver is right about Cllr Heenan's inappropriate "tweet" in the council meeting . In normal, professionally run meetings where normal rules apply, "minutes" normally suffice. Maybe a point of order was needed last week because the council minutes can't be relied on for an accurate record ?

Over the past 3 years, I've gone to a number of meetings at the council offices. Some have been good, some not.
I've heard important questions raised about issues impacting everyone with Swindon in their postcode, but then seen minutes excluding any of the answers actually given, making  the "minutes" pointless and preventing meaningful audit trails .
 Some councillors have made eloquent statements in support of local people , but reading the minutes, you'd never know it . I've wondered if the minute takers were on the same planet, let alone in the same meeting  as the "minutes" excluded any reference to the statements or request.

At the SBC Standards Committee meeting a few weeks ago, the Annual report 2012/ 13 was signed off, including praise for SBC's Head of Law and Democratic Services'  " robust professionalism "  yet excluding any mention of our MP's concerns about " perceptions of unfairness " in the way complaints from members of the public are handled by SBC . There's no mention of our MP's  letter ( Jan 13)  the meeting ( Feb 13) or why Robert Buckland felt there were legitimate grounds for a review ( now 'proposed' for 2014)
The committee signed off the report anyway. The twists and turns in the subsequent email trail would make even regular visitors to Thorpe Park's rides giddy. This in a year when not a single complaint made by members of the public was considered worthy to be upheld by the committee . " Really ? "  .   

There seems to be a clear and longstanding pattern of a lack of openness and transparency that needs to be addressed " robustly" . Until then, plenty of genuinely good work  including that of  many council officers and some councillors, is undermined.

As a local resident who spoke up about a deeply flawed process ( Croft) I was surprised by the dogged reluctance of some to just admit the mistakes , say sorry and move forward with lessons learnt . Instead, I was told by the previous council leader that I was being " punished " for speaking out.
 I'm glad Cllr Bluh's words were witnessed as they supported my "audit trail' of experiences and it made the need for change crystal clear.

 Rather than dwelling on the negative , it seems time to push for the positive so instead of just shaking our heads when we read letters like this or see minutes that distort the facts  maybe, in the words of the Adver, we should  "  Stand up for Swindon" say we've had enough and insist on higher standards from now on.

I look forward to seeing what Cllr Renard, Cllr Grant and SBC's CEO Gavin Jones's decide to do to ensure this . As leaders of our town, they are well placed  to make a real difference - for the benefit of all of us. 


Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2013, 05:02:24 PM »
agreed, but the council not only need some new staff, but also a better audio system, so we can hear what they actually say..

Needs new councillors, needs new staff, needs new audio system.............

Not much that doesn't need replacing then?

I can't do anything the former but I think I can something about the latter, at least I can as far as the video recordings are concerned.

If a Borough Councillor would kindly accompany me into the chamber for about 30 minutes and have the a/v system switched on, I can field-test some new kit which will enable us to increase the quality and coverage of our recordings by a considerable margin. 

If it works as well as I anticipate making recordings will be much simpler for those involved and the finished product will be very, very good.



Excellent letter Carole. 100% agree with you.


Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2013, 05:59:17 PM »
Thank you Geoff Reid & Richard - don't know when you began to do it,  but seems to be one of the few ways currently to  have an accurate record of meetings. Must have taken a lot of your time to do this.

A few things crossed my mind watching this :

1) The Mayor welcomed everyone warmly , then added  " Its good to see the public gallery so well stocked "

May want to rethink that .... "Well stocked" usually refers to product ( eg beans on a supermarket shelf )  rather than people.


2) After the outburst, Cllr Grant asked for sufficient time to be given to review serious amendments as they only  received theirs at 7pm.  Seems a totally valid point.
Who provides the information ? Didn't something happen like this at scrutiny a couple of weeks ago - I heard something about councillors being expected to sign off on minutes they hadn't even had time to read & that Cllrs Bennett ( con) & Small ( labour) acted  to avert this ?

3) Cllr Bawden' s said that "  the people of Swindon are quite happy and quite content with this administration. " Really ?
He also encouraged the labour members to " listen " to local people . Hmmm. seems a bit of a mismatch here. 

4) As for the outbursts ? If all Councillors felt confident in the quality of the minutes - maybe there wouldn't have been the need to invoke points of order - not surprised that Cllr Small was frustrated as he knows the system better than most.

5) Watching this from the comfort of my home reminded me of the many hours councillors spend in hot rooms so fair play for the time they spend ..... so here's some constructive input ....

Less time spent tweeting , swigging water, checking IPads and playing politics would mean more time to focus on the content and outcome from the meetings & more time back home with friends and family.

The successful spanish retailer Zara held meetings standing up to save time and to keep people focussed rather than comfy and snoozing.  Wouldn't work here , but maybe some changes would.

 A starter for 10..... how about ...
a) Starting with banning mobiles and IPads from the chamber for the duration of the full council meetings.
b) Mixing up the members so that labour, conservatives & the lib dems aren't sat in blocks - but mixed.
c) Inviting a random member of the public  to sit at the front next to the mayor to see what its like from there & 3 councillors ( 1 from each party ) to sit with members of the public in the gallery for the same reason.

Be interesting to see how that would change the dynamic of the meeting - might even make it more productive.


I don't have a problem with Cllr's using ipads, tablets and blackberries in meetings - provided that they're being used for purposes relevant to the meeting.

Mixing up members won't happen and I'm not so sure that's a good idea unless we want to encourage cross party intimidation, bullying and paranoia.  Cllrs should be focused on what they're doing, not wondering what their nearest neighbour is doing.

I can think of one (relatively cheap and quick to implement) improvement.  Votes by a show of hands are archaic and often encourage and allow peer-pressure to trump votes of conscience.  All votes (excepting recorded votes) should be secret, achieved by the simple expedient of three obscured buttons under each cllr's bench - For - Abstain - Against - and a digital indicator visible to the entire chamber displaying the relevant digits.  Cost?  offer it up to any of Swindon's colleges & Schools, Council covers the cost of materials* and offer a civic award for helping local democracy become fairer.

I don't care for whipped votes and block voting.  I don't vote for a party or a group, I vote for the person and I want that person to vote according to their conscience which, one would hope, would be influenced more by what is right for their ward residents than what, for example, Kevin Small & David Renard might want or demand from members of their group.

Offline Mart

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2013, 08:35:08 PM »
Not sure it is relevant, but, that Kevin Small is a chubby little fecker ain't he?
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 Steve Wakefield

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2013, 08:39:59 PM »
Quote
If a Borough Councillor would kindly accompany me into the chamber for about 30 minutes and have the a/v system switched on, I can field-test some new kit which will enable us to increase the quality and coverage of our recordings by a considerable margin. 

If I can help you in any way let me know.
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2013, 12:21:32 AM »
I was most informed by the debate I was excluded from. Thanks Geoff.
The named vote was quite infantile but it did inform us that the Liberals voted against.

No Des two of them voted against and Ickky voted with the Conservatives.

The Liberals would have derived more credit had they left the chamber rather than support the utter nonsense of debating an issue that is only applicable to the Labour Party, who were not even present and the Conservatives then compounded this utter waste of time by insisting on a Recorded Vote.  The public will have taken note, believe me.

I will be very interested to see what effect the video, as a definitive record, has on the minutes?
All my posts are my own opinion and do not represent any political organization or group

Offline jennyb

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2013, 06:46:39 AM »
I won't go over the sheer boredom showed by many on the cabinet bench or the many distractions in terms of sharing sweeties or playing with electronic devices ( for  who knows what reasons).

Having attended many Council meetings in the past I am aware how completely confusing they are to members of the public .Coupled with poor internal sound systems and Chairs would do not always use the correct terms to address officers and members it can be very confusing to try to follow what's going on.

Geoff.. you have done an outstanding job on this. Thanks!

Back to the content for which I have put pen to paper for the 1st time in a while...

You could hope that our Mayor spake only good things and exhibited only aspirational behaviour. Given recent events, one might think that his own local party would not supply further ammo to shoot himself in the foot. 

Does local government in Swindon operate in some rarefied bubble where our circumstances are so good and our council so well managed that the administration has the time and energy to spend pontificating on national policies and the machinations of those who desire to govern this nation?

A case in point is the recent, fully recorded 26/9/2013 Council meeting at which the Mayor was Chair .He appears on edge from the outset. A touch of fight or flight perhaps? As the agenda unfolded and the motions (discussion items) progressed it was clear that a national political agenda had usurped local matters. How so? Was the Borough Solicitor asleep? The role of the Office of Law and Democratic services has fallen down on the job on a few occasions lately. Late minutes. Late meeting material. Yet again on 26/9. Administration of the Standards (conduct and governance) Committee causing MP’s concerns.  Ye Gods, what next, more fancy footwork with the Freedom of Information Act? 

Some conservative wag seems to have thought it a jape to forward a ‘motion’ on 26/9 to discuss Ed Miliband’s ideas for trade unions forcing labour councillors to state that they had a pecuniary interest precluding participation in order to adhere to the rules of governance.  Yep, really. It gets worse.

Whilst the labour councillors were out of the room, a conservative councillor twitterer tweeted about their departure which later incited a chain reaction.  SBC has a shortfall of £345m for infrastructure for the >20k homes imposed on Swindon. It’s the tweeter’s portfolio. Time to put away childish things. The laddie needs to get his priorities straight.

Now, back to this motion and the 2 young bloods from North Swindon involved. Where a new primary school appears to have gone missing. Again. Of that, not a peep. Good to know what’s important.

On screen the event came across as orchestrated right down to the monologue to the reporter by the chappie who has been a councillor since God was a boy. Whoever the organ grinder of this nonsense was they failed to think through the law of unintended consequences ( as those in the real world usually have to).  Despite the Lib Dem leader’ s attempts  to inject some sense of local priorities, conservative councillors continued  to play to one another’s egos. The subsequent implosion of the Mayor’s temper was perhaps not part of the plan? Few came out of this debacle with either their or SBC’s dignity intact.

Swindon has enough to deal with besides the matter of a Mayor fit for purpose.  The OLD way enables poor governance, playing at national politics and scant censure or sanction against inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour.   

Swindon deserves better. 


Time for something new?


Kareen


P.S. It is with much sadness that I have to state that I feel ashamed that this meeting demonstrates such behaviour by many of those ( not all) in post to administer Swindon. Opening Swindon up to further ridicule does a disservice to the many hard working, good and decent people of this borough. I wonder how the players in this sad indictment of local government view themselves?
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 07:24:24 AM 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 Muggins

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2013, 08:39:31 AM »
Good JennyB, the way you have written that gives me the impression that you intend for it to go further/elsewhere? 
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 jennyb

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2013, 03:02:35 PM »
Good JennyB, the way you have written that gives me the impression that you intend for it to go further/elsewhere?

It is in the public domain.... It will go whither it wilst..

My intention is to go off to see 'Sunshine on Leith' and listen to the Proclaimers ( who look very like my brother ) again!

But hopefully not have to walk 500 miiiiiiiiles .. just get to Greenbridge!   

Kareen

Back on topic... 

What news of our Mayor's whereabouts? 
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 Richard Symonds

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Re: 26th September 2013 Swindon Borough Council Meeting - Video
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2014, 08:19:46 PM »
Is it an appropriate time for everyone to re visit this video and see

A How badly the Conservatives can behave with public money and public time?

and

B How Nick Martin can 'lose it' in public?

Unfortunately the cameras were not present when he threatened a member of the public with legal action over the Saltway Skate Park fiasco at a West Swindon Forum Meeting.

Nick is it now time to retire, dear boy?

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