Barry Cash would like to be the councillor for Bishopston in the elections this week. But there’s a problem …
Barry, a serial letter writer to the Nazi Post and the motorists’ friend (“I have called on the Council to remove peak parking restrictions”; “allow more parking”… etc), is proudly shown “listening to local residents views” on the front of his latest election leaflet.
However, there’s one small problem. The resident on the leaflet suffers from dementia and wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what was going on! Needless to say friends and relations are said to be less than happy with this shameless exploitation of a vulnerable person.
Barry’s big political pitch and “ambition for Bishopston” is to “keep it as nice as it is”, which is er … nice!
PS It’s Dementia Awareness Week – find out more on the website of the Alzheimer’s Society, which helps educate, inform and support those affected by dementia.
Firstly, he claims he bought his flat in 2011 – when in fact he ACTUALLY bought it in 2012.
Secondly, he admits that he knew it was a council property BEFORE he bought it, and that he could have pulled out after he ‘discovered’ this fact:
I enquired about this and my heart sank when they said they were acting as the agents for BCC who were disposing of the property. I…almost withdrew from the process.
(‘Almost’ – but not not quite. Ah, the sweet smell of a politician’s bullshit-scented principles!)
Thirdly, Hoyt – who by his own admission at the time lived only “three doors down” from the property he was to buy – KNEW that it was owned by Bristol City Council well before it was even put on the market.
We have paperwork which clearly shows that the property in question was only put up for sale AFTER February 2012 – and that Gus Hoyt had been sent details of this in January 2012 as part of his ward councillor casework.
Friend of The BRISTOLIAN, Steve Norman announcing, in the latest issue of The BRISTOLIAN, his candidature for Avonmouth at the forthcoming local elections on 22 May seems to have galvanised his Labour opponent, John “BUMBLING” Bees into some action.
And Bumbling Bees’ first move? Why, to send some direct mail to er, Steve Norman!
We’ve faithfully reproduced this incredible piece of political communication below. But what’s going on? Has Bumbling Bees been poisoned with truth serum? Or is this a case of late onset common sense from Bees?
You can go and meet meet Steve on Friday 25 April and Saturday 3, 10 and 17 May outside the Co Op in Shire and pick up a proper leaflet.
Click on image for pdf version.
UPDATE: Bristol Labour Party have informed us the above letter is an “accidental misprint”. Here’s the letter that should have gone out to Steve : Bees letter (pdf)
It’s been confirmed to The BRISTOLIAN that so-called temporary plans to move staff out of the Council House while it’s “refurbished” will be made permanent and the building sold to the PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.
We understand that one of China’s leading sovereign wealth funds, the CHINA INVESTMENT CORPORATION (CIC), will be paying in the region £30m IN CASH for the landmark building and its College Green lawn. The deal was reputedly first brokered by Mayor Fergo when he traveled to China on a business mission late last year.
We can also confirm that the city’s private sector property boss, Robert “Spunkface” Orrett has travelled to Beijing twice this year already and we’ve seen evidence from a Freedom of Information request that Spunkface has, for the last six months, been receiving MANDARIN LESSONS at least twice weekly at his Council House office.
The future of the Council House, one of the city’s landmark buildings is currently unclear. Although a well-placed source has told us that he believes it will be used by the CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY as a cultural and business centre to promote further Chinese investment in the region and the UK as a whole.
“There’s absolutely no doubt now, “ he says, “the Chinese are coming and they’re paying CASH!”
Our source has also spoken to people “close to a number of West Bristol estate agents” who say that what appear to be senior Chinese Communist Party officials have been viewing “HIGH-END PROPERTIES” in Clifton and Leigh Woods.
Our source says, “Initially the Chinese were very interested in Georgian town houses in and around Clifton Village. However, since the Chinese security services have got involved, the interest has switched to SECLUDED LOCATIONS in Leigh Woods. I’m also told interest has been expressed in Ashton Court Mansion.”
Our spies in AVONMOUTH also report sightings of Chinese in and around the port. “They look like teams of surveyors in hard hats and h-viz,” we’re told.
“They’ve turned up three times now,” we’re told. “They arrive in a convoy of about four or five smart, black Range Rovers with tinted windows and wander around the site. It’s all a bit cloak and dagger – dark suits, dark glasses, moody demeanours and so on.”
“Four of them came in here the other day and they didn’t seem much interested in buying any wood. I was just really friendly as they looked like the types who might shoot first and ask questions later. Although I did hear they bought a lot of salad leaves off the SEVERN PROJECT when they visited there.”
A strange article appears in the Nazi Post regarding the death of Tony Harvey and featuring Bristol City Council’s PR boss and general odd bod ‘Dim’ Tim Borrett in various guises.
Borrett accidentally overlooks his own council’s duty of care towards Harvey and appears to blame your caring, sharing BRISTOLIAN for Harvey’s death while painting a picture of the man as some kind of modern day saint.
Quite how The BRISTOLIAN killed Harvey is not made clear by Borrett or The Post. Can a few simple documented facts on a page kill? Or have we invented a secret sonic death ray machine?
Anyway, we’ve fisked and filleted the whole article for you.
BRISTOL City Council has defended a senior member of staff who was found dead after his department was investigated for financial irregularities and bullying.
That should actually read departments. Not only the council’s Markets Service but also their Security Services, responsible for the collection of cash across the council – which, coincidentally, Harvey ran – were under investigation. Why haven’t the council mentioned this as part of this generous mission to explain to the public?
Tony Harvey, 53, facilities manager in the markets department of Bristol City Council, was found dead at his home on January 9 this year.
The father-of-two’s department had been the subject of an internal audit following complaints from staff made to public services union Unison.
Complaints were actually first made to Harvey – who completely ignored them. Instead he started a “restructure” to remove troublesome whistleblowers – who were asking simple questions about glaringly dubious financial arrangements – from his department.
It is widely believed Mr Harvey may have taken his own life due to the pressure of allegations that were made public online, the Bristol Post understands.
It is widely believed by who? ‘Odd Bod’ Borrett by any chance? Or did Spunkface Orrett feed them that one?
A number of fact-based article, based on documentation regarding Harvey’s conduct, have appeared in The BRISTOLIAN (a newspaper). The content of these articles have never been disputed by Harvey or his employers, Bristol City Council. We also have a number of emails that show Bristol City Council was invited on numerous occasions to properly resolve the issues in the Markets Service internally. It refused.
But the council said Mr Harvey was not guilty of any mismanagement and there was no evidence of dishonest activity.
Can you be guilty of mismanagement? And as the article later points out, Harvey was never investigated, so it’s hardly surprising that mismanagement was not uncovered.
There was “no evidence of dishonest activity” because in November 2012 Harvey SPIKED any investigation that might have obtained the evidence. He preferred to leave around 20 allegations UNRESOLVED.
A spokesman said Mr Harvey was never investigated personally and was not suspended, but in fact he helped the council to resolve its accounting problems.
See! He was NEVER INVESTIGATED. So of course there was no evidence of mismanagement or dishonesty.
The “help” he provided to the council in resolving its “accounting problems” included:
SPIKING an investigation;
Starting a departmental restructure DURING an Internal Audit investigation;
Creating a new departmental staff structure that DID NOT COMPLY with the authority’s financial regulations;
Removing staff so that there was “A LACK OF RESOURCES AND EXPERTISE within the Markets operation to resolve all the outstanding issues.”
When he died in January, Harvey had been “helping” resolve accounting problems in the Markets Service for 20 months. Yet after nearly two years of this “help” the Markets Service accounts were still being described to councillors as “OF CONCERN”.
It appears complaints were first made about Mr Harvey’s department in May 2012, when a member of staff at the council contacted Unison.
No. A complaint was first made to Harvey personally in early April 2012, which he ignored.
Unison wrote a letter, seen by the Post, to Mr Harvey directly highlighting a number of concerns about financial mismanagement and bullying. But an official internal audit triggered by the letter found only a small sum of money unaccounted for. However, the audit did uncover irregularities and recommendations were made to bring it into line with council book-keeping policy.
The audit uncovered £165k of “uncollected licence fees” for 2012. About one third of the department’s yearly income. This figure is listed in a budget monitor report presented to councillors in January 2013. It is not “a small sum of money”.
It beggars belief that Harvey would not have noticed this amount of money apparently missing from a department he was monitoring and it beggars belief that he ignored a whistleblower who tried to tell him this in April 2012. And it is absolutely startling that he then removed the whistleblower from their job later that year.
And what “irregularities” were uncovered? They seem to be in bookkeeping. Usually, irregularities in bookkeeping require further investigation. This never happened. Harvey just tried to change the bookkeeping system and ignore what might have happened in the past.
Council spokesman Tim Borrett said any financial malpractice was down to a formerly “antiquated” system that had now been modernised with the full help and cooperation of Mr Harvey before his death.
Note Borrett acknowledges “malpractice” and then blames it on a ‘formerly “antiquated system”’. Systems don’t commit malpractice. People do.
In a statement released yesterday, a council spokesperson said: “He aided investigations into several allegations and managed the work to improve business operations.
He improved business systems by ignoring financial regulations, firing knowledgeable staff, ignoring whistleblowers and leaving serious investigations INCOMPLETE and allegations UNRESOLVED?
“While the limitations of the old financial practices meant that ability to reconcile and audit was inadequate by good practice standards, no evidence has been found of dishonest activity.”
That’s because Harvey stopped any investigation into wrongdoing in November 2012.
He added: “With regards to the tragic suicide of Tony Harvey, we cannot and will not speculate about the cause. To do so would be grossly irresponsible and risks more upset and harm being caused to his grieving family.
So, wait for it … Here’s the speculation about the cause:
“Suffice to say the anonymous implications made elsewhere that this somehow implies an element of guilt is simply not true.”
The BRISTOLIANhas never implied anything.
We have been upfront in naming Harvey and provided facts about his conduct that are not and never have been disputed.
We are not anonymous. We can be contacted. We recently shrugged off soppy threats from crappy Bristol establishment solicitors Burges Salmon over defamation. So if Borrett fancies it…
He added there was no evidence that Mr Harvey should be criticised for his role in the situation, rather he “helped bring improvements to the financial management”.
Total bollocks. See above.
Mayor George Ferguson said: “It is clear that Tony was a much liked and a respected friend and colleague to many at the council.
This is a joke, right?
“He was diligent in sorting out the previous unsatisfactory financial management at the markets, for which we should all be grateful.
No he wasn’t. He spent 20 months “sorting out” markets and it still wasn’t sorted. At best he was a gross incompetent.
“He is sorely missed and our deepest sympathies have been extended to his family and all who knew him.”
Mr Harvey is thought to have taken his life on January 9. Neighbours at Hinton Drive, Oldland Common, said he appeared to be happy on the days leading up to his death.
A neighbour, who chose not to be named, said he had two daughters, but lived alone. She added that nobody had been to the house in the past three weeks.
An inquest into Mr Harvey’s death has been opened at Flax Bourton’s coroner’s court and has been closed again while further inquiries are made.
Expert lawyers investigating the death of a woman who received treatment from a nurse at a Bristol care home who is being investigated over allegations of abuse have called for an inquest to be held into the pensioner’s death to investigate the care she was given.
Serious injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office are representing Annette Whiting, the daughter of Kathleen Cole, who died in August last year after being under the care of Holmwood House Nursing Home in Westbury-On-Trym for five years.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have now written to HM Coroner for Avon, Maria Voisin, requesting an inquest is held into the 77-year-old’s death, as they believe the results of a number of internal investigations into standards at the home and Mrs Cole’s care require further inquiry.
Her cause of death was initially recorded as being from natural causes but a post-mortem carried out before she was cremated resulted in the cause of death being altered to pneumonia.
Lawyers have seen notes taken during an internal meeting after Mrs Cole’s death which revealed issues with nutrition and hydration, manual handling, skin care and management, administration of medication, failures to manage a pressure sore and a failure to diagnose pneumonia prior to her transfer to Westbury Nursing Home from Holmwood House.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by the BBC in January found there have been eight substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect at Holmwood House in the last two years.
Jonathan Peacock, Regional Managing Partner and specialist abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office is representing Annette.
Holmwood House stopped admitting patients with nursing needs under what was described as a “voluntary” arrangement. It followed a risk assessment by the council and a suspension of all admissions from June until August last year.
Among Annette’s concerns are that her mother was given an enema which she believes was unnecessary and left her mother distressed. The nurse, Cicily Joseph, was found guilty of assault – a verdict later overturned on appeal. She resigned from Holmwood after being suspended.
However, a council investigation upheld an allegation of abuse and Ms Joseph remains under investigation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Annette, 54, from Seamills, said: “My mum deserved to be treated with dignity and respect and I thought she was in the safest place possible at Holmwood House with people who were used to providing her specific care needs.
“I feel that I now owe it to my mum to get answers about her care and I believe an inquest is the only way to do this. I am also worried about other residents’ treatment and would like to know that everything possible is being done by the home to improve the failures identified by the CQC.”
**** PRIVATE SECTOR TWIT DIDN’T LIFT A FINGER TO HELP HIS HUMILIATED EMPLOYEE HARVEY ****
**** EGOMANIAC BOSS COULDN’T HANDLE ‘LOSS OF FACE’ ****
Moonlighting private sector property boss, ROBERT “SPUNKFACE” ORRETT, took over line management duties for death riddle markets boss TONY HARVEY from MIKE “TAX EFFICIENT” WATTS in December 2012 soon after the markets whistleblower had been successfully fired by Harvey and the humiliating audit report lay unread on Spunkface’s desk.
However, BNP Paribas employee, Spunkface was no new broom. he was more a stinking, shit-stained old mop soaked in the diseased and decaying excrement of Harvey and his useless old boss Mike “Tax Efficient” Watts.
For while Spunkface may now be publicly breaking down in tears in meetings over the grizzly fate of his employee, HE DID BUGGER-ALL to try to protect Harvey from being exposed and humiliated in the press when he had the chance.
The BRISTOLIAN understands a meeting took place with Orrett in early December 2012 to discuss the fact that a whistleblower had been proven to be unfairly removed from his job by Harvey and that all of the twenty-odd detailed allegations regarding markets finances remained “UNRESOLVED” after a pathetic six month non-investigation by the council’s rubbish Internal Audit department.
The BRISTOLIAN has been told, “Orrett basically said the investigation was over – he was resolving it by leaving it unresolved – and that what happened from now on was up to him and none of our business. He was not interested in the slightest in negotiation, discussion or any form of conciliation. He just looked down his snooty fucking nose at us.
“It was clear the whistleblower had reached the end of line within the council. The council were more concerned with victimising and screwing a whistleblower than investigating their own bosses for potential fraud, theft and mismanagement of public money.
“It’s hardly surprising the whistleblower turned to the press and to the radical press at that. They’re the ones who will give scumbags like Spunkface and Harvey as good as they give in the total bastard stakes.”
And us total bastards at The BRISTOLIAN can report that once we started, early last year, rubbing the council’s nose in Harvey’s role in markets, neither Spunkface nor any other council manager bothered to contact the paper, the whistleblower or his union to attempt to resolve the situation or allege any inaccuracies in our stories (because there aren’t any).
In the ultra-macho management culture favoured by Spunkface and Harvey there’s presumably no place for compromise, climb-downs, loss of face or apology?
Spunkface, literally, preferred to let Harvey dangle than reconsider a crap decision. What a silly boy.
**** ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER EMAIL COMES TO LIGHT ABOUT THE COUNCIL’S DERANGED MANAGEMENT OF THE MARKET SERVICE SCANDAL ****
**** UNACCOUNTABLE ‘TAX EFFICIENT’ CONSULTANT ON SIX FIGURE SALARY DROPS HARVEY IN IT AND BRAVELY RUNS AWAY! ****
On 6 December 2012, Tony Harvey’s then boss, Mike “Tax efficient” Watts responded to a query from a markets service whistleblower.
The whistleblower was concerned that the recently published audit report into markets, which left every one of their complaints “UNRESOLVED” after six months of supposed investigation, was being ignored and buried by Watts, a highly paid consultant Service Director, and his useful idiot, Harvey who he had designated as his hatchet man.
Watts – or Capability and Performance Improvement Ltd as perhaps he should be known – was pointedly and directly asked about the whistleblower taking their complaints outside of the city council. Watts’ brusque reply was, “you are fully entitled to take up with any other authority you see fit and have been all along.”
So did Watts consider that the whistleblower might see the press as fit? And did this supposed human resources expert think through the potential implications of this for the staff he was responsible for and who would be in the direct line of fire?
But why would he give a toss? The greedy private sector consultant – who was not even an employee of Bristol City Council and who was paid by us council tax payers through a limited company to reduce his income tax bill – was off to take up another lucrative and unaccountable post waffling about HR for Southampton City Council!
So he wasn’t going to be around to pick up the pieces from his crap, macho man decisions was he? Talk about dropping other people in it …
**** DEATH RIDDLE MARKETS BOSS PUT IN LINE OF FIRE BY SENIOR MANAGERS AND COUNCILLORS ****
The BRISTOLIAN has obtained a sensational letter from a Markets Service whistleblower to the council’s former Monitoring Officer, Stephen McNamara sent in July 2012. The letter was also copied to former strategic director Will Godfey and a handful of senior councillors responsible for financial oversight.
The letter is a formal complaint regarding suicide boss, Tony Harvey’s multiple failures in his treatment of a bona fide whistleblower and it particularly focuses on Harvey’s proposed ‘restructure’ of the markets service that he announced, in a remarkable coincidence, just days after the whistleblower came forward in 2012!
The letter explains that Harvey was undertaking this restructure of the department as a blatant means of getting the whistleblower out of their post while an investigation into serious financial irregularities in Harvey’s dodgy service had barely begun.
Remarkably, Harvey was refusing to suspend his dodgy restructure on the basis that “the [audit] investigation will not affect the review[/restructure]”. An absurd opinion. How could an investigation that would conclude with a considerable number of recommendations about the structure and practice of the department’s financial management not affect a review of the department’s structure and practice?
As The BRISTOLIAN has been told by a well-placed source, “Harvey’s restructure always looked like the act of some bent-as-hell management madman intent on sacking a whistleblower to cover up his own dodgy and incompetent management conduct rather than the cool-headed, well thought out professional restructure of a local authority department he was handsomely paid to produce.”
Indeed, the letter to McNamara highlights a number of major irregularities in Harvey’s restructure plan. Some proven accurate when the council later had to reach an out-of-court settlement with one of the whistleblowers due to the flaws in this very restructure.
The letter goes on to ask that Harvey’s restructure process be suspended until the financial investigation is complete and a proper, comprehensive restructure, including the recommendations from the investigation, could be produced. The whistleblower and his union even offered their wholesale help and support to such a process.
The conclusion of the letter is intriguing. Firstly it states:
You are entirely at liberty to continue on the course selected by Tony Harvey and I am at liberty to reach the conclusion that you’re not taking my complaints at all seriously and take them outside the organisation.
A clear indication that the whistleblower would make things public if necessary. They then go on to say,
My trade union representative and I are more than happy to discuss the issues raised in this letter with either yourself or Will [Godfrey] or another serious management representative that is not Tony Harvey.
A clear indication that the whistleblower was open to dialogue, discussion and negotiation. The letter concludes by saying,
I’m extremely persistent and deeply interested in the proper conduct of public affairs. I’m not going to go away and there’s certainly nobody in your authority capable of scaring me away. I’ve provided a number of reasonable ‘soft’ options worth pursuing in this letter. I would strongly encourage you to take one of them.
Alas, McNamara’s response was short, curt and dismissive. No discussion. No dialogue. No negotiation. Harvey’s dodgy process to remove a whistleblower from their job during a ‘live’ financial investigation would continue.
Unfortunately – for them – The BRISTOLIAN also does short, curt and dismissive. More effectively, many would say, than a jumped-up public sector lawyer like McNamara.
And so the die was cast. Senior council bosses proactively decided upon open conflict and a bruising public row rather than negotiation and compromise.
But did they bother to think through the implications of their decision? Did they consider the potential impact on their staff – such as Tony Harvey – on the frontline of any brutal and very public conflict? Did they consider their duty of care towards Tony Harvey?
Or was this another decision driven by sheer arrogance and the knowledge that someone else’s body could always be thrown in the way to deal with the consequences and to pay any price?