Author Topic: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?  (Read 4579 times)

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Offline Tea Boy

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2010, 10:33:01 pm »
SBC does have experience of sending one of its services out to trust - Swindon Dance. Unfortunately, they've cut their grant year after year.



Hi Drone - you hit the nail on the head there, this is the strategy the current ruling group has behind trust status. The ability to blame 'the trust' for not finding extra revenue, whether it is there or not.

Also will SBC allow it to be thoroughly independant or will Cllrs always want to have overall say so they can dictate what they want and when?
Gardening tips: Always remember its brown side down, green side up.  If its knocking now it'll only go bang later

Offline Drone

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2010, 07:27:25 am »
There are lots of excellent and hard working volunteer, community and friends groups. Why doesn't the council start by talking to them? And, there are some councils (Sheffield spring to mind) who have put some services out to trust and made it work. Why can't the council ring them before spending £50, 000?

My feeling is the councillors will want to play it both ways - cut funding and legal responsibility, still tinker with all major decisions and take credit for any successes.

The truth is, about 90% of the council's budget goes on education, child and adult social care and housing. The amount spent on parks, libraries, leisure and culture is tiny, by comparison. The council could close all those services tomorrow and not be much closer to finding the £45 million in savings it needs.

-------------------------------------------------------

Also - While most staff learned last week or in the Adver on Tuesday, I *think* the tender was actually posted online on the 13th August.

And, while the Adver may have claimed to have "seen a document", if you type "swindon", "leisure" and "tender" into google, it's easy enough to find the consultation ads. It's hardly Watergate!
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2010, 07:40:17 am »
But should staff be spending their times looking for tenders etc that may or may not have been posted online or doing their frontline jobs?

Getting information out, instead of hiding it, should be the first thing to do.

Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2010, 09:26:44 am »
Consultants Consultants Consultants, can be very good for your health or very bad.

some observations:

Firstly what is their brief?  - very important because we do not really know even if we think we do

Secondly who will be resposible for implementation of their recommendations?

and more importantly

Thirdly do those Directors and Managers requesting those services realise they could be writing their own death warrants?  Are we going to see the recommendation that all the Leisure Centres are sold off to the Private Sector and the closure of all Libraires apart from Central?

Offline Muggins

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2010, 12:58:17 pm »
From today's paper it seems we have been consulted and only 18 (yes that's 18) of us have responded.  Naughty Swindonians for not being interested in repsonded, now why could that be?


Could it be we know darn well it's a waste of time as no notice will be taken?
 
Perhap's it because most people don't want to be part of anyone's BIG society at present. Perhaps it because instead of becoming more engaged (on their terms) we prefer to become more distant?
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2010, 02:31:05 pm »
From today's paper it seems we have been consulted and only 18 (yes that's 18) of us have responded.  Naughty Swindonians for not being interested in repsonded, now why could that be?


Could it be we know darn well it's a waste of time as no notice will be taken?
 
Perhap's it because most people don't want to be part of anyone's BIG society at present. Perhaps it because instead of becoming more engaged (on their terms) we prefer to become more distant?

18.

This also happens to be this weeks total of paying subscribers to Digital City's Highworth Hot-spot, which must mean that the consultation is actually a great sucess in the minds of Garry Perkins and Rod Bluh :)


I was going to pen something coherent and send it to Bluh's 'It's a knockout' 'budget challenge' CONsultation, but then just couldn't be arsed because....

1. My learning with Bluh's autocratic leadership methods has been that he doesn't listen. He doesn't learn. He doesn't accept responsibility. He's not accountable and he he never accepts blame.

Also, the 'consultation' is another example of Bluh utterly ignoring your ward councillors and the council as an organ of democracy.  The Adver article makes it very clear
that the cabinet fully intends to ignore any opinions and suggestions not received via SBC'c Communications Service:

Quote from: Garry Perkins
"Council officials are warning that opinions and suggestions will only be taken into consideration if they officially respond to the consultation."

But what if I want to see democracy done here? - what if I want to discuss my concerns with my ward councillors, and then sit in the council chamber and see my councillors represent the residents of their wards in full council? 

I think Bluh is once againing bypassing local democracy entirely and marginalising at least 50 Borough Councillors - this time by trying to policy wash his cuts program directly with the electorate because he wants a mechanism by which once again do exactly as he wants, but blame you, the resident tax-payer, for the redundancies and cuts he is about to make because of his own ineptitude in office.

Bizarrely, Bluh probably sees this as a political win-win situation for himself: If the public don't tell him what to cut they are then to blame for 'not engaging with him'.  If the public do tell him what to cut then 'I'm just making the cuts the public suggested, don't blame me!'.

Councillor Garry Perkins , deputy leader and Bluh's chief coffee & bagel fetcher says:

Quote from: Garry Perkins
"This really is the one chance to say what you want.

I would urge people to engage now rather than complain later.

This is now about what the people out there can do for themselves rather than what the Government can do for them.

"This is really the final chance to have their voice heard"


Perkins and Co have a poor history of 'listening', in fact Garry Perkins is singularly one of the most repugnant and obnoxious local politicians I've every had the misfortune to see 'engaging' with members of the public and other councillors in council. His own behaviour alone is enough to put most people off.

I also note that Cllr Perkins refers to the electorate as: 'The people out there'.  Far from being 'all in this together', I reckon Perkins looks quite cosy in his Jag-driving and leather jacketed 'Uber-Tory' clique.  Bit of a Chingford Skinhead thing going on there? 

In all, this is another shitty and anti-democratic political manouvre by a small cabal of singleminded, anti-democratic and incompetent part-time politicians.  One day the back bench conservatives might wake up and do something about it, but until they do, they are all complicit in this shit. 


Offline Alex

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2010, 04:08:41 pm »
And I see that our Deputy Leader "Makes no apology for wanting to base (massive and far-reaching decisions) on the best advice they can get" in today's Adver.... citing the use of them in "successful businesses" as the excuse.....

Yet it is so many of these large "successful" businesses which are no longer actually successful in terms of genuine profit or the people who work for them, ( unless they are the very senior managers).

They've all outsourced their real talent pools and  loyal staff; the shareholders and other employees and many customers are actually rather less enamoured. This is where they now find there's nothing left to outsource and the companies managing the ex staff are often exploiting them while paying lip service to staff welfare & are not in fact considering it at all.

Some of the really succesful businesses are applying completely different business models now and genuinely considering the welfare of their staff, and they tend to go from strength to strength.

Offline Drone

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2010, 05:05:57 pm »
But should staff be spending their times looking for tenders etc that may or may not have been posted online or doing their frontline jobs?

Getting information out, instead of hiding it, should be the first thing to do.

Ah, don't worry. I give the council 9 hours of decent work a day and then come home and worry about this stuff!

Totally agree with the Garry Perkins descriptions above. He's like a 1950s East End thug, but without the charm.
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2010, 06:35:16 pm »

Totally agree with the Garry Perkins descriptions above. He's like a 1950s East End thug, but without the charm.

Hang on a minute Drone you are talking about my representative in Shaw and Nine Elms.  This is a bit harsh isn't it?  But it has to be said that we only see our Garry at Election Time.  That means his next scheduled appearance will be four weeks prior to the all out May 2012 Elections.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2010, 06:38:51 pm »
Quote
Quote from: Garry Perkins

"Council officials are warning that opinions and suggestions will only be taken into consideration if they officially respond to the consultation."

Why?

Are council officials too stupid or lazy to read the FREELY given opinions of citizens too cynical to trust their local politicians? Wouldn't the opinions and debate which takes place in the public domain actually be a much better indicator anyway?

Geoff says -
Quote
But what if I want to see democracy done here? - what if I want to discuss my concerns with my ward councillors, and then sit in the council chamber and see my councillors represent the residents of their wards in full council?

I think Bluh is once again bypassing local democracy entirely and marginalising at least 50 Borough Councillors - this time by trying to policy wash his cuts program directly with the electorate because he wants a mechanism by which once again do exactly as he wants, but blame you, the resident tax-payer, for the redundancies and cuts he is about to make because of his own ineptitude in office.

Bizarrely, Bluh probably sees this as a political win-win situation for himself: If the public don't tell him what to cut they are then to blame for 'not engaging with him'.  If the public do tell him what to cut then 'I'm just making the cuts the public suggested, don't blame me!'.

Nail on the head in my opinion - a cabinet strategy drawn from the first page of Public Relations and Spin for Dummies.

Back to the Perkinator's pronouncements:
Quote
"This really is the one chance to say what you want. I would urge people to engage now rather than complain later.

Why? Get ignored now rather than later you mean? Or give you more time to prepare your arguments and justifications for what you'll do anyway?

( Errrr? And what is the claimed precedent by which anyone might give 'engagement' any credence? Has he got any evidence of showing that he or many of his colleagues are capable of listening, or even then acting according to the concerns of the electorate? I'm all ears and eager to be educated if he can! )

Alex said:
Quote
Yet it is so many of these large "successful" businesses which are no longer actually successful in terms of genuine profit or the people who work for them, ( unless they are the very senior managers). They've all outsourced their real talent pools and  loyal staff; the shareholders and other employees and many customers are actually rather less enamoured. This is where they now find there's nothing left to outsource and the companies managing the ex staff are often exploiting them while paying lip service to staff welfare & are not in fact considering it at all. Some of the really succesful businesses are applying completely different business models now and genuinely considering the welfare of their staff, and they tend to go from strength to strength.

Spot on from Alex.

Too many of councillors are anachronisms and hypocrites, hide bound by a Tory / Labour divide which went out with whippets, red braces, fat cigars and pins striped suits and a world which only existed outside of Euclid back in the 1980s when they started serving their political apprenticeships down the party clubs. They listen selectively, their 'engagement' is almost always opaque, selective, one-way with a preordained outcome; they place party politics or 'vibrant visions' ahead of the wishes of the electorate, hide details behind process and procedure and then treat many of those who DO try and become involved with utter contempt... And they really SERIOUSLY wonder why people don't care?

Its because we've lost trust in the process and many (if not most) of the personalities involved.  Five years of the evidence as to why lies across the pages of TS. What ever is said by anyone which isn't simply ignored will be manipulated to political advantage.

As Geof says, the ward councillors (especially if they are doing their jobs) are our elected representatives. If the council cabinet doesn't think that they should be the main mouthpieces for the community as Geof says, its an indictment of the process and the failure of local politics.

Personally speaking, I think its a tacit admission that the cabinet  A). no longer have a clue what the electorate actually think, B) want to manipulate the cuts not on the basis of merit but those which will generate the least noisy bad publicity/settle old political scores and C) [as already pointed] use the selected responses from the 'engagement' to blame the public for what's cut/what isn't.

We've had ten years of 'difficult decisions' and the resulting 'big efficiencies and savings'... Tell me anyone at SBC, as we face a FURTHER 33% of cuts, just who exactly benefited from all the previous self-imposed belt-tightening? Come up with an answer which addresses the local provision of services rather than short termist and electorally beneficial low council taxes, and who knows, you might get a polite answer.

Until then, you can poke it where  :censored: belongs - up yer  :censored:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - Voltaire 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita

Offline Muggins

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2010, 07:55:28 am »
I've been soooo cheesed off lately that I thought about removing my 'motto' at the bottom and putting back the old one and adding - (a rude word) Give up, I'm as apathetic as hell!   But come to think of it I'll leave it there. 

Bluh and his bunch might read it and take notice, well come on, you never know!!   So with regard to the lack of response to SBC consultations:

GO WHERE PEOPLE ARE, NOT WHERE YOU WANT THEM TO BE!.

Consultants once wrote down the best way to consult: it has a fairly good pedigree commissioned as it was by the Wilts Voluntary Development Forum AND the Health Commission for Wilts and Bath AND Wiltshire Social Services  and here it is repeated FREE on Talkswindon:

CONSULTATION - GETTING IT RIGHT....

Plan the process of consultation.
Clarify who to consult and why.
Say clearly what the consultation is for.
Say what your organisation does.
Be flexible about methods.
Make meetings convenient, accessible and well publicised.
Use every day language and provide translations for those who need this.
Allow adequate timefor those you consult to respond.
Budget realistically and plan staff time.
Avoid too much consultation - co-ordinate with others.
Remember it's two way.
Use existing networks.
Communicate well - give and get good feedback.
Seek advice early on the progress from those with experience of good practice.

A final bit of advice from me: plagarise others work if it saves a wadge and makes sense! PLENTY OUT THERE ON THE INTERNET.

At least of 6 of the above SBC does not do well or at all and other posts on this page says so.


 
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Offline James

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2010, 07:48:54 pm »
Seems pretty clear this is not consultancy at all.

I think that the word must mean something else to politicians.


Offline Bobby Bingo

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2010, 08:45:13 pm »
Councillors have been invited to a presentation on Sept. 22nd entitled "The Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007" Will we need consultants after this?
Bobby

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #33 on: August 28, 2010, 02:20:35 am »

Corporate manslaughter eh?

*wonders if leader of council could be prosecuted for killing a town and inflicting economic gbh on its workforce...

Offline Alex

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Re: Consultants, consultants consultants...but little consultation?
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2010, 08:54:10 am »
I don't think people have realised that Corporate Manslaughter this has become a real issue in recent years and new legislaiton was introduced in 2007 to try to put the blame squarely where it lies- in the boardroom:

"The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is a landmark in law. For the first time, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care. "
http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/index.htm

I'm very aware that H&S when applied locally inside organisations can be very "jobs-worth" having worked in that area myself for many years, but this is an etremely timely piece of legislation- they've been aware for some time that so much stress at work is due to bad management- hence the minimum management standards and this new(-ish) law.

We have an extremely approachable HSE Inspector  in Emma Darvill on 0117 988 6074 if anyone ever feels the need to contact her.


 

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