Author Topic: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again  (Read 32689 times)

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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #80 on: February 08, 2011, 10:21:10 AM »
At Scrutiny meeting last night Mr John Hunt (Rikki) CEO of Digital City made 2 things clear, DC has not paid the three interest payments due, and they will be paid when the investor deal has been completed.

Mr John Hunt (Rikki) CEO of Digital City offered to gift his shares in DC to SBC, to mitigate any dilution of the value of SBC share, he was also asking the other shareholders if they would consider gifting their shares to SBC.

There was more/numerous admission/confirmations of stalling and freezing of the project.

and Councillor Steve Councillor Perkins the Deputy Leader of the Councillor and Director of Digital City admitted he did not know that Interest Payments had not been made when enquiries were made.  I believe him, but don't you think he, as being the custodian of the people of Swindon's interest (forgive the pun) in this matter, and as Director, should have or at the very least have checked it carefully before saying otherwise?

As for Mr Hunt he could sell ice cream to the Eskimos but on the basis of his lack of delivery of Sales Results should have been shown the door, I was, when I failed to obtain an order promised way back in 1985.

This whole aspect of last nights business was pure theatre and as such is worthy of a sitcom.  As I know Jimmy Perry of Dads Army fame shall I give him a call, but which actors would you use for the protagonists?

One further serious point I would like to congratulate Councillor Kevin Small, the Chairman of Scrutiny, for the very balanced way in which he conducted business.  A very commendable performance in very difficult circumstances when it would have been very easy to have been partisan.

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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #81 on: February 08, 2011, 10:28:50 AM »
One question that was not asked last night was - What has happened to the Money loaned?
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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #82 on: February 08, 2011, 10:30:00 AM »
From what I've read here, is it fair to conclude that last night's meeting hasn't really updated or progressed the situation at all?
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Offline Chris Watts

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #83 on: February 08, 2011, 11:43:13 AM »
Another interesting point: when Cllr Perkins and Mr Hunt stated that the project had stalled due to being over scrutinised, Cllr Perkins then stated that they are lobbying parliament for the right to exclude future PPP projects from the scrutiny process.
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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #84 on: February 08, 2011, 11:47:22 AM »
Another interesting point: when Cllr Perkins and Mr Hunt stated that the project had stalled due to being over scrutinised, Cllr Perkins then stated that they are lobbying parliament for the right to exclude future PPP projects from the scrutiny process.

Wow. Can't see them being granted that priviledge, but it's an amazing thing to even ask for. Kind of gives the game away somewhat.

If it were to be agreed, the Swindon WiFi project will become notorious not only for never having worked.
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Offline DarkAuror

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #85 on: February 08, 2011, 01:08:52 PM »
Adver has the story about last night's meeting up on their site;

link

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #86 on: February 08, 2011, 01:10:08 PM »
Another interesting point: when Cllr Perkins and Mr Hunt stated that the project had stalled due to being over scrutinised, Cllr Perkins then stated that they are lobbying parliament for the right to exclude future PPP projects from the scrutiny process.

I recall that and found myself saying out aloud  this is public money wea are talking about here. The money that the council uses, invests etc  is Tax Payers Money except for that raised from car parking and similar services etc. It was Maggie Thatcher that opened up such process to scrutiny with Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT). To make sure council's of all political administrations and public bodies did business transparently. I cannot see the Coalition changing this Thatcher tenet.

PPP deals are not new to this council some of our schools are built/provided this way. Pre contract scrutiny  was rigid and and contract monitoring are built into the process. At the risk I am repeating myself PPP PUBLIC private PARTNERSHIPS are always going to be under the spotlight regardless of, which  government is in power. Maybe to think otherwise is a matter of how well you have  grasped the relevance/importance  of  the first P that points out  funding from the  PUBLIC is an intrinsic part of the private PARTNERSHIP?

Private companies have to understand that when you ally/partner/hold joint shares etc with a Poltical Organisation, there will be a tad more than a little p in it ie reputational risk, financial risk and intellectual property risk(TSR2) BlueStreak IT projects etc can be cancelled. You have take such risks into account with SWOT, PEST, Risk assessments etc, etc. The implications for your company are in fact in the private business world no different either. We all here of one company supplying 80% of its product to one Company/outlet only to be told one day it has cancelled. There is a risk in all businesses and you have to make sure you have a strategy to deal with it.
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ph1lc

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #87 on: February 08, 2011, 01:13:46 PM »
Do DC prepare monthly managment accounts, and who at SBC is responsible for monitoring them? As a major shareholder, with a significant exposure it would be scandalous if SBC haven't insisted on this.


Offline 20Eyes

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #88 on: February 08, 2011, 01:17:59 PM »
Interesting comment in the latest Adver article:

Quote
When asked why he (Perkins) had told people in December that all payments were up to date when that was not the case he said he had no reason to doubt council officers at that time.

Fair enough, but now he's fully aware that they either lied to him or somehow said 'Yes' to something that was easily verifiable as a 'No', what's he going to do with the staff responsible? Surely that's a serious professional error to make. Or, maybe, nobody actually did make a mistake...

Sounds awfully like the 'Administrative error' excuse that was so widely used and perfected by the previous national government.
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Offline Ringer

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #89 on: February 08, 2011, 02:14:22 PM »
Sorry DarKAura, this link is working. http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8838308.Date_is_not_yet_set_for_wi_fi_interest_payments/

Was Des Morgan there as he has stayed away from TS today, is he skulking hidden away in a darkened room?  :popcorn:
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Offline DarkAuror

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #90 on: February 08, 2011, 02:29:19 PM »
Sorry DarKAura, this link is working. http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8838308.Date_is_not_yet_set_for_wi_fi_interest_payments/

Was Des Morgan there as he has stayed away from TS today, is he skulking hidden away in a darkened room?  :popcorn:


Thank you!

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #91 on: February 08, 2011, 02:49:19 PM »

I feel spoilt for choice after last nights scrutiny but I'm not inclined to rush-to-reply.  The WiFi'asco is going nowhere quickly, and neither is the smell.

One think I will say at this point is that Cllr Keith Williams might wish to consider making a public apology for accusing Chris Watts of politically motivated industrial espionage.  Cllr Keith may wish to confer with Justin Tomlinson MP who happily repeated the same slander.

A member of the public did make contact with another public body - (no, I won't be saying any more than that - Lamplighters trust & protect each other) - so Swindons' Lamplighters network will be closely watching SBC as it seeks to discover the identity of the correspondent.

'Bathgate-Gate' will, I am sure, add yet another paragraph to the next set of papers being finalised for submission to other bodies.

I expect Rod, John Hunt and Hosni Perkins felt quite good about themselves last night, (especially Hosni-P because he's hoping the WiFi'asco has been kicked into the long grass until well after his 2011 re-election campaign has returned him to council, or not). 

They should savour that feeling because it won't last long, in fact it will have started to evaporate by about 6pm today....


Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #92 on: February 08, 2011, 03:31:29 PM »
Another interesting point: when Cllr Perkins and Mr Hunt stated that the project had stalled due to being over scrutinised, Cllr Perkins then stated that they are lobbying parliament for the right to exclude future PPP projects from the scrutiny process.

Did  hear somewhere that Rod Bluh is spending a lot of his time is Westminster?

To what end?

Don't forget us Rod?

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Offline Des Moffatt

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #93 on: February 08, 2011, 03:44:40 PM »
Garry Perkins did not say that officers had misled him on whether the interest was being paid. I was there and listened very carefully. Had Garry said that I would have jumped down his throat. Swindon's finance officers simply don't tell lies and others were not in position to know, apart from Ricky Hunt of course.

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #94 on: February 08, 2011, 04:28:05 PM »
Quote
Was Des Morgan there as he has stayed away from TS today, is he skulking hidden away in a darkened room

I was there.  I asked 6 questions 4 of which received answers of a sort and 1 which did induce an apology from Coun Perkins.

1.  Will it now be recognised that the WI-Fi project as originally conceived and set out in the press release of 17 November 200 has been a commercial failure?
2.  Will it now be acknowledge that the seven objectives indentified in the cabinet Briefing Note dated October 2009 page 10 item 2 sub clause 2.1 – have not been met?
3.  At what point between May 2010 and February 2011 did the company directors know there would be insufficient funds to discharge its liabilities to the Council?
4.  Would the Deputy Leader now acknowledge he misled me in his letter dated 20 December 2010?
5.  Would the Deputy Leader advise whether he may have misled his cabinet colleagues in particular Coun Williams and members of the Conservative Group
6.  In a letter to me dated 2 February 2011, the Deputy Leader advised me that Digital City UK Limited owns the hardware in Highworth, subject to a charge to the Council. Would the Council confirm that a charge has been properly registered against the assets of Digital City UK Limited?

The last item was not able to be answered and the Chairman promised me a ‘quick reply’.  I had never seen Coun Small in action, it was an object lesson in how things should be done.

I am not hiding away, had a good interview with Bill Fisher of SCS on Swindon 105.5 today.

Have spoken to at least 4 people on Wi-Fi issues including my paper/complaint before the Audit Committee.

Nearly fainted to hear that Mr Hunt thinks he is going to be the next CEO of any newly created organism - is agreeing to gift his shares to SBC the price of his posiition?  Worrying that Coun perkins felt unable to expand upon this aspect of the 'new company' at Scrutiny or is this Mr Hunt going out on a limb.

I was also intrigued as to why Mr Hunt even needed an office in the DMJ.  It was obvious that he never had any staff on the books of DC a point he confirmed last night.

As for where has the money gone - £250k in 6 months!!! Geoff's right - it's not over yet, not by a long chlak.


Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #95 on: February 09, 2011, 03:06:06 PM »
Quote

1.  Will it now be recognised that the WI-Fi project as originally conceived and set out in the press release of 17 November 2009 has been a commercial failure?
2.  Will it now be acknowledge that the seven objectives indentified in the cabinet Briefing Note dated October 2009 page 10 item 2 sub clause 2.1 – have not been met?
3.  At what point between May 2010 and February 2011 did the company directors know there would be insufficient funds to discharge its liabilities to the Council?
4.  Would the Deputy Leader now acknowledge he misled me in his letter dated 20 December 2010?
5.  Would the Deputy Leader advise whether he may have misled his cabinet colleagues in particular Coun Williams and members of the Conservative Group
6.  In a letter to me dated 2 February 2011, the Deputy Leader advised me that Digital City UK Limited owns the hardware in Highworth, subject to a charge to the Council. Would the Council confirm that a charge has been properly registered against the assets of Digital City UK Limited?

I Have spoken to at least 4 people on Wi-Fi issues including my paper/complaint before the Audit Committee.

Nearly fainted to hear that Mr Hunt thinks he is going to be the next CEO of any newly created organism - is agreeing to gift his shares to SBC the price of his posiition?  Worrying that Coun perkins felt unable to expand upon this aspect of the 'new company' at Scrutiny or is this Mr Hunt going out on a limb.

I was also intrigued as to why Mr Hunt even needed an office in the DMJ.  It was obvious that he never had any staff on the books of DC a point he confirmed last night.

As for where has the money gone - £250k in 6 months!!! Geoff's right - it's not over yet, not by a long chalk.

Des

These are very searching questions and I think that you did get answers, but they are questions that will constantly turn up until September depending on the Rescue Plan/Package that will snatch this project out of the frozen stalled state it is currently in owing 3 interest payments with one due in a few days time.  I still find it hard to take in that the Deputy Leader and Leader were complaining of highlighting public/political noise/scrutiny of this project. With just six questions ( I had 27, but only asked 3 that were relevant to the 13th June email)  like you have listed it is not rocket science to understand why, or is it?

Quote
As for where has the money gone - £250k in 6 months!!!

Is that possibly the $64,000 dollar  Columbo question?

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Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #96 on: February 09, 2011, 03:56:54 PM »
1.  Will it now be recognised that the WI-Fi project as originally conceived and set out in the press release of 17 November 200 has been a commercial failure?   

What worries me is that Coun Bluh and his cohoarts simply do not get it. To the man in the street failure is easy to measure. In the case of this project a statement which says 'projections for sales revenue and network coverage have not been met' is not failure. I can only wonder if Coun Bluh's accountancy education was ever completed?

2.  Will it now be acknowledge that the seven objectives indentified in the cabinet Briefing Note dated October 2009 page 10 item 2 sub clause 2.1 – have not been met?

The seven social and socio economic objectives were the outcomes most related to the project. As benefits they underpinned the reason why the deal was done - if we do it this is what you get. According to Coun Bluh - they haven't not been delivered it's still a work in progress.

3.  At what point between May 2010 and February 2011 did the company directors know there would be insufficient funds to discharge its liabilities to the Council?

December according to GP. So he clearly wasn't followoing events too closely and his friend and colleague Mr Hunt wasn't keeping him too well informed.

4.  Would the Deputy Leader now acknowledge he misled me in his letter dated 20 December 2010?

H=Graciously apology made

5.  Would the Deputy Leader advise whether he may have misled his cabinet colleagues in particular Coun Williams and members of the Conservative Group

GP wouldn't exactly come clean on this one - but I believe KW was honestly unaware of any failure on the part of DC to have paid interest. What will be interesting is to see how many Conservatives have a scintilla of courage and come out telling what was told to them at various group meetings

6.  In a letter to me dated 2 February 2011, the Deputy Leader advised me that Digital City UK Limited owns the hardware in Highworth, subject to a charge to the Council. Would the Council confirm that a charge has been properly registered against the assets of Digital City UK Limited?

 I will wait with bated breath for the Civic offices to provide an answer


Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #97 on: February 09, 2011, 04:08:29 PM »
Quote
As for where has the money gone - £250k in 6 months

Let's be very clear, this money was given in order to ensure the roll out process continued.  There is absolutely no other way the following Council officer statement can be interpreted.

'The key risk in delaying further funding is that Digital City will not be in a position to progress full Borough coverage, meaning that the project is likley to stall and the original loan amount of £150k will be in jeopardy'

What i have been told is as opaque as the statement is clear.

It (the £250k) has been spent on activities in relation to progressing the business plan objectives

ph1lc

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #98 on: February 09, 2011, 04:38:05 PM »
Des

In answer to your question 6 - no it has not been registered! If it had it would be a matter of public record at companies house.

The failure to register, if indeed the charge is valid against the assets of DC is an offence against the Companies act 2006 ( both by the company and the officers in default).

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Jan 31st 2011 - Cllr Perkins WiFi'asco Announcement Delayed Again
« Reply #99 on: February 09, 2011, 04:52:00 PM »
Des Morgan said,

Quote
I was also intrigued as to why Mr Hunt even needed an office in the DMJ.  It was obvious that he never had any staff on the books of DC a point he confirmed last night.


So no staff!! Way back when, an IT jobs web-site said they had 30 staff,

http://www.cwjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/news/swindon-wi-fi-city-creates-tech-jobs-008


Quote
The bad news (for Boris, that is) is that Swindon got there ahead of London – it has just finished wi-fi-enabling a northern suburb called Highworth in a pilot exercise, which will be extended to the rest of the city in the coming months.
The good news is that the pilot has already created many new jobs with the first tranche going to network experts and technicians. To date, a 30-strong army of network and software engineers has been hired for the pilot implementation and that will scale rapidly as the rest of Swindon is wirelessly enabled.
"The key people we need at this initial stage are network planners, engineers and also the software  engineers to do the optimisation and configuration when there are problems with signal," reports Rikki Hunt, chief executive officer of Digital City, the company tasked with talking Swindon into a new digital era.


I wonder. Have 30 people been made redundent by DC or did those jobs never really exist? 
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