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Bonkers Blog October 2011

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5 October (Part 1) - Newsreel

2010/11 Budget Book


Yesterday the council belatedly put last year’s budget book on line. A cursory examination shows that they spent £353,000 on upgrading the car park at the Thames Innovation Centre. According to figures revealed in the Public Realm meeting agenda the TIC has been responsible for creating nine new jobs. The TIC may have originally been a Labour job creation scheme but don’t let the Tories fool you into thinking they can manage money any better.


Intimidation


It’s not just gardeners, allotment association members and bloggers who Bexley council try to smother, it's social housing tenants too. A family that was moved into London & Quadrant accommodation discovered it was a timber framed building with little or no sound installation so they could literally hear their upstairs neighbours roll over while in bed. There were complaints to L&Q, Bexley council and local councillors. When both tenant and councillors seemed likely to meet at a public event Bexley council wrote to the tenant warning him that he must on no account approach his councillors in a public place. L&Q were much more helpful, they accepted there was a problem and moved the family which is now very content with their new accommodation.

Name and contact details of tenant known but withheld for fear of retaliation by Bexley council.


Not all bad


Two sources of critical material for the blog wish to show that some Bexley staff members remain impervious to the culture coming down from on high. A hedge on council property that had grown to twelve or more feet high was found to be damaging neighbouring property. The owner of that property asked the council to inspect their hedge and Phil Goddard who is engaged on ‘Ground Maintenance’ said there was no budget available for the job but agreed that a serious problem was developing. Two weeks later the hedge had been trimmed to the total satisfaction of the adjacent property owner.

When a heavily laden Serco refuse vehicle ran over a pavement and badly damaged it Tony Hughes and Andrew Jones who are part of the Craske/Frizoni outfit had it repaired the same day. There is some dispute about how long they took to get to the site but it seems it must have been between five and twenty minutes. Maybe they have taken a leaf out of the parking enforcement rule book and hide in side streets and pounce the moment they see a job to do.


Bexley council staff’s use of the web


I’m not sure why anyone would want to know but someone asked the council in an FOI what were the top website destinations of council employees from their office computers. The FOI was never answered but a few days ago a new page popped up on the council’s website giving exactly that information. If you want to see your best guess confirmed and that Google, the BBC, Amazon and ebay all feature highly then maybe this is council tax money well spent. Thousands of hours a month were spent looking at the BBC and Amazon, all in staff lunch breaks I expect.

OK, if it is such a good idea to tell the world that Bexley staff spent 125 hours looking at Sky News last month I had better get in on the act myself…


"bexley is bonkers" "bexley council" bexley bonkers"
"bexleyisbonkers" "bexley phone parking" "bonkers bexley"
"fat controller bexley" "alex sawyer priti patel" "bexley recycling statistics"
"chris loynes bexley" "priti patel alex sawyer" "commander stringer"

What’s that all about? The top twelve keywords entered into search engines last month that resulted in a direct link to the Bexley is Bonkers website. Thousands of them in some cases. Marginally more fascinating than the fact that Bexley council staff shop at Amazon I’m sure you will agree. But maybe not much more. The sequence reads from left to right.


More guidance to councils from Mr. Pickles


The Secretary of State for Communities is still trying to get councils to be more transparent. After asking Bexley to be more welcoming to “Citizen Journalists” (and failing in his attempt) he has asked them to publish the names of all their employees earning more than £58,200 a year and how much more Tuckley is paid compared to the lowest earners.

The PDF file of the code of practice issued last week may be downloaded from the government department’s website.

 

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