Author Topic: 19 Days Later...  (Read 6683 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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19 Days Later...
« on: May 25, 2010, 07:46:28 AM »

... After the elections, and the #swindonTory axes are already swinging.

First Up: Dial-A-Ride losing it's entire £330,000 funding.

Dial-A-Ride dies so WiFi can live?



Offline Muggins

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2010, 09:41:57 AM »
And Swindon Age Concern and SMASH struggling and I hear a whisper that Homestart is going has gone the same way.

It is worth investigating the activites of a Consultancy called Participle, my suspicion is that funding has gone their way whilst others like the above  go down, is this a wise move?  Were the above asked to tender for the work as a partnership?
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

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2010, 10:00:39 AM »

... After the elections, and the #swindonTory axes are already swinging.

First Up: Dial-A-Ride losing it's entire £330,000 funding.

Dial-A-Ride dies so WiFi can live?

It has often been said to me in recent times that this is the Tories hidden agenda, hit those who need the help most whilst looking after their friends.  What is happening here, are they that stupid?

Roll on May 2011 and then the people having had the fog removed from their eyes will speak and will there be another return to Labour by a majority of 600 in Walcot?  Peter, your future is in your own hands so please do not touch Enterprise Works as these people will never be able to work again if you do.
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2010, 03:51:14 PM »
Councillor Wakefield says:

Quote
"FUNDING for a charity that provides transport for the elderly and disabled in Swindon is to be cut, the council has revealed. This is £331,000 and I hope that Dial A Ride continues to provide the service. Dial A Ride is run mainly  by volunteers. I wonder if the Tendered service will be providing  about the same level of service or will it be less or possibly even more?"


I don't know, I don't have a crystal ball....

....but perhaps Cllr Wakefield, (an observant and fairly reliable witness of events at the civic),  can tell us whether it is true that SBC has been deliberately preventing Dial-a-Ride from bidding for other contracts/work because I'm damn sure I've heard Cabinet Members saying exactly that. In their words not mine - "It's against European Law for Dial-a-Ride to bid for other work". 

My initial questions are:

1) Have the Dial-a-Ride crew been deliberately screwed over by SBC because Bluh Enterprises Inc. already have another 'preferred service provider' in mind ?


2) Whichever Cabinet member speaks first on this - Mallinson, Greenhalgh or Perkins - will be 'yer man.


3) Does anyone buy into the phrase 'Compassionate Conservatism' ?, One only need listen to Councillors Foley, Greenhalgh, Perkins, Mallinson & Bluh for a short period to realise that the phrase, (in Swindon at least), is a genuine oxymoron.
 


Offline komadori

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2010, 11:00:49 PM »
2) Whichever Cabinet member speaks first on this - Mallinson, Greenhalgh or Perkins - will be 'yer man.

None of those three.
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8182910.Council_to_cut_Dial_A_Ride_funds/#comment_8530129

It is worth investigating the activites of a Consultancy called Participle, my suspicion is that funding has gone their way whilst others like the above  go down, is this a wise move?

Had a look at their website. 'Tis the sort of organisation that I'd hope the government's intention to reduce use of consultancies might put out to grass.
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2010, 11:22:05 PM »
2) Whichever Cabinet member speaks first on this - Mallinson, Greenhalgh or Perkins - will be 'yer man.

None of those three.
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8182910.Council_to_cut_Dial_A_Ride_funds/#comment_8530129


Cllr Dickinson growling again.... just a few days after Peter G was allegedly seen ripping into him?

What can it mean?.....  :popcorn:


Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2010, 02:34:34 PM »
Councillor Wakefield says:

Quote
"FUNDING for a charity that provides transport for the elderly and disabled in Swindon is to be cut, the council has revealed. This is £331,000 and I hope that Dial A Ride continues to provide the service. Dial A Ride is run mainly  by volunteers. I wonder if the Tendered service will be providing  about the same level of service or will it be less or possibly even more?"


I don't know, I don't have a crystal ball....

....but perhaps Cllr Wakefield, (an observant and fairly reliable witness of events at the civic),  can tell us whether it is true that SBC has been deliberately preventing Dial-a-Ride from bidding for other contracts/work because I'm damn sure I've heard Cabinet Members saying exactly that. In their words not mine - "It's against European Law for Dial-a-Ride to bid for other work". 

My initial questions are:

1) Have the Dial-a-Ride crew been deliberately screwed over by SBC because Bluh Enterprises Inc. already have another 'preferred service provider' in mind ?


2) Whichever Cabinet member speaks first on this - Mallinson, Greenhalgh or Perkins - will be 'yer man.


3) Does anyone buy into the phrase 'Compassionate Conservatism' ?, One only need listen to Councillors Foley, Greenhalgh, Perkins, Mallinson & Bluh for a short period to realise that the phrase, (in Swindon at least), is a genuine oxymoron.


I am responding to Geoff, Komadori, and Cllr Dickinson's comments on Adver article:
Of Crystal Balls and Cllr Dickinson (let us  follow the coalition pathway and blame everything on Labour shall we? ) Cllr Dickenson points out that Cllr Moffatt was, or did;(who is actually a daily avid reader of TS to use his own words) can always come on here and speak for himself.  It would be better that Cllr Dickinson would come on here and justify his own reasons rather than shunt it onto cllr Moffatt in an adver comment why did he not ask the adver to comment on the article? As you say Geoff it is rumoured  ;) So perhaps cllr Dickinson is reflecting?  :-\

The tender for the provision of a Dial A Ride service is what this exercise is all about. Will the Tender cover all the services currently provided? If it is to be tendered to a budget then maybe it will be an improved service I have not had sight of it? It appears from what I know that the council now deem this as a service that requires to be tendered and is not a commissioned service due to EU regulation, though this is disputed by some.

If Dial a ride does not end up winning the contract then Dial a Ride MKII will be there to help people so the users  will still be receiving a service. Though not I admit from the incumbant charity. The Charity really need to explain to the people of Swindon why their service offers best value for money and high satisfaction. (Perhaps they will come on TS and discuss it?) So far it has become a political football Dickinson says that Moffatt did or did notetc etc.

Cllr Nick Martin who knows a bit about budgets always used to say to me that trying to save money on Dial a Ride was "penny wise and pound foolish" as the people who use the service will require more social care if they become housebound. Nick Martin is also on Procurement and I wonder if Cllr Dickinson can recall what he said at procurement? I would bet it was along the lines I have just described.

If I had a crystall ball, I certainly would not be worrying about political spats and outcomes I would have picked out six numbers and the winning numbers on the Euro Millions and gone away and got a life! ::)
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Des Moffatt

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2010, 09:35:48 PM »
The recent history of Swindon Council's attitude to Swindon Dial a Ride service is as follows.
For whatever reason Council Officers decided to have a review of the service yet had failed in their duty to attend any of SDAR board/management meeting for over two years when what SDAR were doing would have been crystal clear to them.

This review entitled Value for Money Review 2009 dated 5th October 2009 which I have read is pants in my opinion. It contains unspecified legal advice recommending a cessation of the Grant.

It was this report which appears to have triggered the proposed reduction of £50k in grant aid contained in Swindon Borough Council's draft budget and was opposed by all and subsequently dropped, or at least appeared to be have been dropped.

Swindon Dial a Ride did respond in detail to the V f M report and it is here we note that SDAR had been denied access to officers to discuss a service level agreement and much else ever since 2006.
SDAR also provided independent legal advice at that time to the effect that grant aid for a registered charity involved in the transport and care of disabled people did not come under Article 87 of the EU treaty; again I have a copy of that advice.

Most of us relaxed when the Conservative group amendment to a labour resolution at the Full Council meeting of 6th January 2009 was unamious. http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/Published/C00000284/M00003899/$$$Agenda.doc.pdf

Meanwhile someone was beavering away in the background sharpening the knives but keeping a low profile until the election was safely out of the way.
The first the Labour Group knew and indeed I suspect most members of the Council knew of the decision to submit the service to a full tender regime was when the special PAG meeting agenda was published.

My own first reaction was to challenge the legal advice and Council Officials supplied it to me after checking at the highest level that it was OK to do that. I was astounded that it was dated 25th January 2010; clearly indicating that the issue had been "sat on".
I am not at liberty to divulge the contents save to say that I regard the advice as having been 'invited'.
The particular regulation referred to is
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:315:0001:0013:EN:PDF.
Should you read it you will discover as I have that it refers exclusively to public passenger transport and it goes without saying that Dial a Ride exists because some people can not use public transport.

I have said to the Labour Group and I am quite clear about it, it would be a bold elected Councillor indeed who ignored such advice. Should the Council fail now to proceed to tender and a disgruntled alternative operator chose to contest the grant award and win, Councillors would arguably be personally liable, jointly and severally, now there's a phrase to conjure with.

We are where we are and I am content that some Tory members will seek to protect the service by ensuraning that any tender document is not tweaked and that SDAR gets a fair chance to compete despite it's unseen enemies.

The PAG process is in stages and to say PAG passed it misrepresents what PAG is about. Cabinet and Lead Members make the decisions on behalf of the Council, Procurement Advisory Group is tasked with ensuring the Council receives the best service for the most competitive price. Quality of service matters and so does the unintended consequences that might be missed by others, penny wise and pound foolish some call it.

Des Moffatt

WiFi did not go through PAG, sorry about that barb folks.


Administrator Comment Edited to correct url :)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2010, 11:23:09 PM by Dougal »

Offline Des Moffatt

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2010, 09:39:06 PM »
Oops, got the date wrong, the Council meeting was in 2010

Offline komadori

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2010, 10:08:17 PM »
The particular regulation referred to is
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:315:0001:0013:EN:PDF.
Should you read it you will discover as I have that it refers exclusively to public passenger transport and it goes without saying that Dial a Ride exists because some people can not use public transport.


The document specifies what it means by 'public passenger transport'.
Quote from: EU
Article 2
Definitions
For the purpose of this Regulation:
(a) ‘public passenger transport’ means passenger transport services of general economic interest provided to the public on a non-discriminatory and continuous basis;

By virtue of the fact that it's not continuous (as the name suggests, you 'dial a ride' rather than wait for a scheduled bus service) and is provided to those with specific needs (thus in the language used is 'discriminatory'), it seems an odd bit of legal advice that SBC had received.
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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2010, 10:11:51 PM »
Thank you Des (Cllr Moffatt) for putting your point of view, it is appreciated. It is interesting that you consider your wi-fi comment a barb? I am still of the opinion it should have gone through a special PAG like the SDAR has done.

Komadori, thanks for that input/insight also you have to be registered with the service. I do wish someone from Dial A Ride would come on TS and explain more about this valuable service.
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2010, 10:50:06 AM »
Welcome back Des good to see the election has not blunted your sword!

What action does the Labour Group to take on this issue please?  Can you please get someone from Dial a Ride to come on here and give us all some more insight to this issue anonymously if necessary.

I am still fascinated to hear how anyone can run this service economically when it is presently supplied by volunteer drivers?   Are the Council indulging in an an exercise of Creative Accountancy here?
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Offline Bobby Bingo

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2010, 12:07:49 PM »
Well it happened with "Meals on Wheels"
That went out to contract and Agincare won it. The price of meals then went up.
Bobby

Offline Bogomil

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2010, 03:35:12 PM »
It’s truly amazing how officers can find the right bit of legislation that might apply when they want to do something but fail to use the reams of legislation already well known to them and others to deal with issues like stopping perpetrators of  antisocial behaviour and cars ripping up the grass verges.

I am minded to suggest that someone asks the officers and lead member to actually quote the “CASE LAW” which backs up their argument. Where in the whole of Europe, let alone just the UK, has a charity providing a service to disabled and elderly who are unable to use normal passenger transport services, been subjected to these passenger transport regulations?

I suspect the officer concerned would have to do a massive backtracking and will no doubt mumble something along the lines of “It could happen….”

Come on Swindon Councillors, take the bull by the horns and show these job’s worth officers that they can’t just misquote laws just to suit themselves.

Offline Bobby Bingo

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2010, 04:21:20 PM »
Come on Swindon Councillors, take the bull by the horns and show these job’s worth officers that they can’t just misquote laws just to suit themselves.

I would bet that the officer you are referring to was only acting under instructions from councillors who would have given a directive.
COME UP WITH SOME MONEY SAVING SCHEMES.
These would then be analysed and sifted.
Obviously the councillors, the decision makers, have no idea what Dial a Ride does or what benefits the community get from this service.
I just hope that some of these thankless and uncaring b******s have need of the service one day and regret the fact that they were instrumental in deleting it
Bobby

Offline Bogomil

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2010, 05:19:53 PM »
I would bet that the officer you are referring to was only acting under instructions from councillors who would have given a directive.
COME UP WITH SOME MONEY SAVING SCHEMES.
:agreed:

Obviously the councillors, the decision makers, have no idea what Dial a Ride does or what benefits the community get from this service.

Only some Bobby… only some

And there are many councillors who know and VALUE this service more than you might think.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2010, 05:26:45 PM »


Obviously the councillors, the decision makers, have no idea what Dial a Ride does or what benefits the community get from this service.



Now ask yourselves what the purpose of this was.....




...understanding Dial-a-Ride or looking at SBC's 'preferred' future provider of the service ?


Offline Bogomil

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2010, 06:53:32 PM »
Now ask yourselves what the purpose of this was.....



...understanding Dial-a-Ride or looking at SBC's 'preferred' future provider of the service ?


or just a vist to the depot for NEW councillors which some of the older one's jumped in on

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: 19 Days Later...
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2010, 09:14:46 PM »
I met a driver from the venerable Dial a Ride filling it up at Sainsburys this pm which is now down to 114p per litre for unleaded two p cheaper at Bridgemeand than in the east - strange.

Anyway told him about TS and that we wanted to know what their handle was on this saga - he promised to tell his colleagues and have a look.  So hopefully he will do just that and get some inside info.
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