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martyn142

Blaenau Gwent worst in UK for inward investment

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-22127100?SThisFB

The WAO blamed "long-standing cultural, performance and leadership problems" at the authority. Remind me who the "long-standing" party in power has been eddie legge? No doubt Team Legge will view "long-standing" as referring to the short period when Labour was out of office rather than the decades when when they held power.  Embarassed

Hedley McCarthy said "I am encouraged that the WAO has recognised the progress that the council is making and with the foundations for continuous improvement in place we look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Wales Audit Office."

However, the WAO said "the council was unlikely to comply with a requirement to make arrangements for improvements."  Embarassed

Still people vote them in, Team Legge continues to sing their praises,  and they pick up their handsome salaries so why should they care how badly they are serving the people of Blaenau Gwent?  Crying or Very sad

eddie legge watch: Posted from my PC  in the study. Weather looks overcast but no rain. Just going for a shower.
Rocke

So, after almost TWO years of Commissioners, Education is still unsatisfactory - great choice of option there then Leighton Andrews.

And lo and behold - a Labour administration and Social Services concerns. It wasn't that long ago (but more than 5 years  Wink ) that they were in dire straits and the council took an expensive (but cost-effective in my view) option in order to avoid an Intervention Board.

It's nice to see that the WAO does a thorough job - the remarks on the town centres are spot on. They are a hindrance to shopping, making things more difficult for shoppers and traders.
If I remember rightly, the current (unfinished) works in Church St should have been completed by November last year and I've recently been told that until another phase of funding starts we won't be seeing any more contractors, who employ non-BG citizens, clogging the street(s) up, keeping customers away.

Presumably when the Misleader of the Council says that the WAO have acknowledged areas "where the council is performing well and delivering improved services for our residents" he is presuming that because any particular area hasn't come in for criticism from the WAO it's alright ?

Prepare for the nightmare scenario Cllr McCarthy. This is your last term as a BG Councillor.
Because come 2017 there will be no Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

The heat is on the Welsh Government so much that the bigger boys down the bay will now stop at nothing to save their necks.
That bastion of Labour known as Torfaen recently became the first Labour-run council to fall foul of Leighton Andrews' personal survival plan ie. blame everyone else for failing Education.
I suspect that BG could become the first Labour-run council to follow Anglesey.
Saeson

Well I`d like to gloat, but I live here   Sad

It`s hardly surprising and I can`t see much chance of improvement with McCarthy at the helm. I`ve never had much time for him; he belongs to yesteryear and it shows. He`s probably never even heard of project management a large part of which is just common sense.

I like the bit where he said "As a direct result of the report we are working hard..."; so it takes a report like this to tell them how cr*p they are? Rolling Eyes

There`s not the space here (and I can`t be bothered) to analyse the whole paper, but I think the part about the Council not knowing how much money was raised from littering and dog fouling fines just says it all.
martyn142

Sad to say I just can't for the life of me see a way out of the mess we are in. The borough appears to be in terminal decline. And yet the electorate continues to put the people who have been at the rudder for many, many decades - and who must therefore bear a great part of the responsibility - back into power.

Maybe we get the leaders we deserve?  Confused
Rocke

Saeson wrote:
Well I`d like to gloat, but I live here † Sad

It`s hardly surprising and I can`t see much chance of improvement with McCarthy at the helm. I`ve never had much time for him; he belongs to yesteryear and it shows. He`s probably never even heard of project management a large part of which is just common sense.

I like the bit where he said "As a direct result of the report we are working hard..."; so it takes a report like this to tell them how cr*p they are? Rolling Eyes

There`s not the space here (and I can`t be bothered) to analyse the whole paper, but I think the part about the Council not knowing how much money was raised from littering and dog fouling fines just says it all.


Don't mention the dog-fouling !!!
I won't rake up old news (too much anyway) but that farce is a classic example of what is wrong with the way BG is 'governed'.

When warned that people wouldn't be stumping up £75 in one go ie. if taken to court they'd end up paying £1 a week or so it wasn't a concern.

When asked if the company would have its cut even if there was initial non-payment, the answer was 'yes'.
So, in my view the council was already on a loser, paying out money it had not received.

At a later date, when another initiative regarding improving non-payment figures was being discussed it was pointed out that if discounts for early payment were implemented then the budgetting of the scheme was up the pole and we would actually lose money.
(Assume 100 fixed penalty fines - the council took this to be £7,500 income, less of course the company's cut. However, reducing the figure to £40 (or whatever it was) means the best possible figure would be only £4,000).
The scheme was meant to be self-financing or even provide a surplus, yet within a year the discounting meant that it could never be.

Remarkably, I spent quite some time in committee trying to get that point across, and no-one could see it.

I therefore had no support when it came to rubber-stamping the report.

It's a big problem.
The attitude is that officers are professionals, their recommendations and calculations must be right and the role of a councillor is simply to rubberstamp everything, unless you are in Opposition.

I'm not in the least surprised that dog-fouling enforcement is a foul-up.

Btw Cllr McCarthy was the Executive Member for Environment, responsible for overseeing this, at the last going off.
Rocke

martyn142 wrote:
Sad to say I just can't for the life of me see a way out of the mess we are in. The borough appears to be in terminal decline. And yet the electorate continues to put the people who have been at the rudder for many, many decades - and who must therefore bear a great part of the responsibility - back into power.

Maybe we get the leaders we deserve? †Confused


The electorate doesn't put them back Martyn, it simply doesn't exercise its power to vote.

The last elections were won on postal votes. Labourites going into sheltered accommodation etc. and targetting those whose duty was to vote Labour etc.
Those people who took a considered view of how they wanted to be represented in the main went to Polling Stations.
I can tell you that the voting patterns of postal and personal votes were as different as chalk and cheese.

The problem is those who did not vote.
There was only a 27% turnout.

27% of electors bother to vote, yet in my experience 100% of the populace will voice their concerns about something or other.

Remember the devolution referendum ?
'Won' by some 5,000 votes.
I bet there was at least 50,000 who didn't want it but just stayed at home.
Look at the mess that bout of apathy got us.
Rocke

Interesting one this !
Some tweets I've happened upon:

"2010 Audit Commission praised the new Leadership initiative (DNA) at BGCBC. In 2013 it's unsatisfactory. You have to commit in any change."

"You've got to feel for the BGCBC Managers/staff. They are failing as a result of political meddling and Councillors acting like 5year olds."

"haha! Yes bloody agree. They were the champions of new change. Now a shambles. English councils way ahead!!"

"you need to get in there .... and film 'sack the boss 2'".

Yep, the council's failings have been noticed by a far wider audience.

Now we don't just live in the least attractive Borough for investment but also the most derided one.

Anyone heard of any fiddling in the Civic Centre ?
kdwent

The trouble is that for this council to change it needs to admit that it may have made a couple of mistakes.   And as we have seen on this chat forum certain people cannot admit to that in any shape. Hell most of them can't even post in their own names.
martyn142

Rocke wrote:
Anyone heard of any fiddling in the Civic Centre ?


I assume you are referring to violin-playing here Rockey?  Shocked
Rocke

martyn142 wrote:
Rocke wrote:
Anyone heard of any fiddling in the Civic Centre ?


I assume you are referring to violin-playing here Rockey? †Shocked


Of course Martyn !

After 'The Witch is Dead' is long gone we'll be hearing a cover of that old Paper Lace favourite, 'Hedley, Don't be a Nero'.

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

Dai Rocke, in his house, thinking he's got too much time on his hands nowadays. Weather unknown, in fortified secure basement, bereft of natural daylight.

Apparently there's rain coming, according to www.bbc.co.uk/wales.

Oh - and I've altered the PC's clock to read 24-hour time.

Laughing
Rocke

kdwent wrote:
The trouble is that for this council to change it needs to admit that it may have made a couple of mistakes. † And as we have seen on this chat forum certain people cannot admit to that in any shape. Hell most of them can't even post in their own names.


Again, I'll try not to rake up too much old news.
To use a previous saying 'evolve or die'.

In my experience and view the root cause of our problems is the 'old boys club syndrome' as I term it.
One becomes a councillor, you learn from more experienced members ie you learn the old ways, you get re-elected enough times and you become one of the senior councillors, and you teach new councillors the er.... old ways. And so it goes on and on.      

At the very first Group meeting I went to, just after 'we' were given power I was 19th to be offered a 'job' - representing the council on the Brecon Beacons National Park committee.
I declined, and a colleague beside me said 'take it, or you'll be out in the cold for the next 4 years'.
I didn't take it. And I never got frostbite.

BGCBC is all about playing politics, not driving through the progress that has to be made. In my day it was all about spiking Labour's guns, precious little about policy formation and implementation. Executive Members and the Leadership simply told us what was happening, instead of inviting us to contribute to taking this council into Century 21.
The Labour Group is just the same. I've had new Labour councillors telling me how we are there to support our respective groups, until it's 'our' turn to be part of the inner sanctum.

I'll finish with a perfect example, street lighting.
'Our' Executive Member tells us that lights are going off at midnight. No discussion whatsoever.

In committee I make the point that we licence pubs and takeaways to stay open until then. It will inconvenience a lot of people. I then hit them with the political angle - the more people that notice it the more people the Labour Party can stir up and the more hassle there will be in implementing the policy.

Result? - you saw all the brouhaha. Months later 'we' reverted to a 01:30 switch-off. All that hassle (to citizens and the administration) for nothing. All that political dynamite handed to a group completely bereft of ideas of how to tackle budgetary problems.
Our street lights have now started going off at 00:30, so clearly it's a strategem that the current council sees value in. Say no more.

The tweeter is absolutely spot on - councillors being politicians, and not very good ones at that, because none of them seem to be able to talk convincingly about their convictions.

(Their reasoning Martyn, their reasoning  Very Happy )
Rocke

I've been having a closer look at the full report.

This comment from the Auditor General's office is a classic:

"A number of the actions do not directly link to the Improvement Objectives and consequently contribute little to their achievement.
For example, the focus of the objective to maintain and improve the
highways network to contribute to a safe and effective transport infrastructure does not include any measures linked to judging the impact of the Councilís activity on how it is has improved safety by reporting on a reduction in road traffic accidents or highways
injuries/deaths
"

In other words, the council says it's doing something for a reason, and then doesn't have any way of finding out if it's worked.
eg. putting in speed bumps 'to reduce speed and therefore reduce accidents', when 'they' a) didn't know what the accident rate was in the first place; and b) still don't know what the currenct rate is now?

"We found that of the 27 measures audited, four had to be qualified and six needed to be corrected due to errors."


That's information that is provided to Councillors, who should have the nous and the ability to be able to check whether the data they are given is correct.

Is it little wonder that the Borough's in a mess when those who affect our everyday lives put something into place for a reason, and then have no way of finding out if it worked, or more worryingly, if it hasn't worked and is actually impacting detrimentally on people's lives?

Anyone know the HUGE effect speed bumps are having on taxi businesses?
HMRC queried the repair costs of one business.
A few photos convinced them, to be fair.
Taxi firms pay more in repair costs than fuel.

Presumably citizens in one of the most economically-deprived areas of the UK also suffer far higher than average repair bills.

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