Author Topic: Incompetence: CCBC (and other Public Bodies and Statutory Undertakers...)  (Read 23080 times)

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Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #105 on: October 06, 2017, 11:45:27 AM »
I know...  I just keep on hoping, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the severely limited intellectual capacity of our elected representatives shouldn't be strained to deal with matters of importance. Pot holes and bin collections - yes, but anything else - such as statements regarding child protection in swimming pools or remotely technical issues such as wind and sand - best leave that to those who can do their 7x tables...
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #106 on: November 12, 2017, 06:13:26 PM »
The Daily Post has picked up on the fact that You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. In a masterful observation Cllr Philip Evans (Conwy council’s representative on the Conwy Valley Railway Liaison Group, Transport Advisory Forum and West Coast Rail 250) gave what must qualify as the understatement of the year with regard to our councillors:

"A lack of foresight when the current franchise was let meant that increased demand was not taken into account."

Seems that particular skill permeates most council decisions.
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

DaveR

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #107 on: November 13, 2017, 12:06:11 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
The Daily Post has picked up on the fact that You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. In a masterful observation Cllr Philip Evans (Conwy council’s representative on the Conwy Valley Railway Liaison Group, Transport Advisory Forum and West Coast Rail 250) gave what must qualify as the understatement of the year with regard to our councillors:

"A lack of foresight when the current franchise was let meant that increased demand was not taken into account."

Seems that particular skill permeates most council decisions.
To be fair, the franchise decision was not taken locally, or even in Wales, IIRC. Usage of the railway network is now at all all-time high and consideration need to be given to establishing a regular service to Llandudno on Sundays all year round.

Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #108 on: November 13, 2017, 01:27:12 PM »
But presumably the Conwy Valley Railway Liaison Group, Transport Advisory Forum and West Coast Rail 250 must have made strong representations at the time, which would be a matter of record?
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

DaveR

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #109 on: November 14, 2017, 08:55:23 AM »
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But presumably the Conwy Valley Railway Liaison Group, Transport Advisory Forum and West Coast Rail 250 must have made strong representations at the time, which would be a matter of record?
Quite possibly, but i doubt the Strategic Rail Authority (who were responsible for awarding the franchise back in 2001) were remotely bothered about what they thought (sadly). I doubt this London based quango even knew where Llandudno was, much less had any interest in it.

Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #110 on: November 14, 2017, 02:08:20 PM »
There are few things as convoluted as Parliamentary records, but having a spare 90 minutes I've managed to find the records for the franchise, the committee involved, the membership of that committee and the reasons why the franchise was awarded. You can almost certainly place most of the problems firmly at the door of the egregious Thatcher, but I digress.

The process started in March 2000 under the  auspices of the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs. then in its third term.  Interestingly, those who manned the committee were exclusively representing Welsh constituencies, so "this London based quango" was certainly responsible to the Welsh voter through the simple fact that they were Welsh MPs. And, as a select committee, it wasn't actually a quango.

It took until October 2003 to award the franchise and the criteria applied to prospective bidders was fairly stringent:

    "provide, at a reasonably early stage, clear information on the scope of the specification that will be acceptable. This scope will be determined primarily by the availability of funding, taking into account the Authority's overall priorities for its budget; and

    "Where a new or replacement franchise is likely to require improvements to the existing railway infrastructure, the Authority should specify how those improvements are to be reflected in the franchise proposals"

within these parameters determined by the Strategic Rail Authority:

affordability and value for money;

the commitment of existing franchise operators to safety, performance, customer services, personal security, innovation, investment and efficiency;

the extent to which investment can be obtained;

the extent to which better performance can be secured;

the wider social and economic benefits, including from road decongestion, and environmental impact of proposals;

compatibility and consistency with local transport plans and regional transport strategies;

the extent to which integrated transport measures both within the rail network and between rail and other transport modes can be achieved, including integrated public transport information systems; this should seek to include better and safer interchange at and access to stations by local public transport, by car, cycle and on foot and by passengers with disabilities;

the extent to which proposals will seek to improve the complete door-to-door journey experience;

the extent to which passengers will be given a greater voice in the level and standard of services;

the extent to which station facilities such as signage, information, waiting rooms, ticket offices and secure parking can be improved, and accreditation obtained under the Secure Stations initiative;

impact, if any, on existing or potential freight services".

There are 162 paragraphs in the original report, much written in officialese and somewhat impenetrable, plus the use of an overly complicated scoring system to analyse the various bids mitigated against a transparent process.  However, the process was further complicated by the need to use English hubs to facilitate the proposed timetables and - in the long run - it came down to two factors:

1. The Tory decimation of the railways in 1963 - 69 leaving absurdly little spare capacity
2. Lack of funds being made available to subsidise what should have been a commercial service.  Yes - Thatcher was all about selling off state owned assets (which was - in fact-  criminal) and under the Conservative Thatcher government and that of her immediate successor, Major, various state-owned businesses were sold off, including various functions related to the railways – Sealink ferries and British Transport Hotels by 1984, Travellers Fare catering by 1988 and British Rail Engineering (train building) by 1989 and finally the railways themselves in 1993.  However, the governments have always had to subsidise the successful bidder, in effect paying them to run the service for which they 'won' the bidding, which does go to show just how wonderful capitalism is.

However, it's clear that failing to run Sunday services is a clear infraction of at least three fo the criteria specified above, so the question becomes why this has not been addressed.

One big problem is that local councillors fail to think big. They all tend to shrug their collective shoulders and say that nothing can be done quickly, but that's simply not true.  The Government - any Government - responds to potential bad press and perceived voter irritation, so doing things by the book rarely works.  To get results, much more direct action is needed by councillors, AMs and other interested parties. Otherwise, we get the services we deserve.


“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

SteveH

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #111 on: December 13, 2017, 10:04:27 AM »
Outrage after council charges almost £900 for just TWO new dog poo bins
Conwy Council has been accused of 'profiteering' from the work to replace the containers, which each cost around £144.

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SteveH

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #112 on: January 18, 2018, 08:34:51 AM »
'Show up or we'll show you up' - Councillors who fail to attend meetings could be named and shamed
In December only 10 out of 20 councillors turned up for a meeting at one North Wales town council, Llandudno

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SteveH

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #113 on: March 09, 2018, 02:29:29 PM »
Cash-strapped council's cabinet in line for pay rise
Conwy council's top team of nine likely to see their allowances go up by more than £3000 each


Conwy council's Democratic Services committee will look at possible pay rises for its nine cabinet members that would see their pay go from £26,200 to £29,300.
On Monday the council will look at a report from the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales, which also proposes a 1.49% increase to councillors' basic allowance - an increase of £200.

As well as pay increases in their basic pay, chairs of committees could be in line for an increase.

The council recently hit the headlines after agreeing to bring in bin collections on a once every four week basis and proposing a 5% council tax rise.

Some councillors said they were firmly against the increases when the council is facing cuts in other areas of its services.

Cllr Aaron Wynne said: "Why should councillors enjoy a pay rise when the rest of the public sector have pay caps?

"That includes the 1.5% increase basic allowance for councillors which is more than the vast majority of public sector workers will get. How is it right that the councillors making the cuts would be getting a pay rise."

Cllr Adrian Tansley said: "I think that if Conwy is trying to save money the last thing that should be done is to be giving a pay rise to councillors. If we are cutting services like social services why should we be giving out pay rises."
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Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #114 on: March 09, 2018, 02:52:30 PM »
Can we get hold of the list of those councillors who voted for the rises? We can publish them on here.
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

squigglev2

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #115 on: March 09, 2018, 04:55:03 PM »
Council pay rises coupled with cuts don't seem that uncommon.  From Norfolk.

County councillors have stood by their decision to award themselves an 11% pay rise, despite claims it is "obscene" at a time when the authority is planning £125m of cuts to services.

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Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #116 on: March 09, 2018, 08:03:30 PM »
You can't compare Conwy with an English area; English councils weren't allowed to raise Council tax for several years. Conwy has risen year on year.

It's perhaps instructive to examine how these raises came to be.

The amusingly named Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) sets the levels.  They're supposed to be independent, but almost all of the members have been councillors, so not too much independence, then.

To determine the levels is an interesting process: "]In 2017 Panel members continued the practice of visiting all Welsh principal councils to meet with elected members to inform and update understanding of their activities. The WLGA Exit Survey of members who stood down in 2017 has also been considered.
The general view from members and officers is that the workload has increased and most claimed that it was far in excess of 3 days."


So they don't talk to the people paying the raises - the taxpayers.  No, they talk directly to those who will benefit from them. Those people - surprisingly - said they were overworked and underpaid.  And that was accepted as a good reason for increasing the payments?

It gets more fun.

"The Panel originally determined in its Annual Report 2009 that payment of the basic salary would be aligned to the median gross earnings of all full-time employees resident in Wales as reported in the Annual Survey of Hourly Earnings (ASHE).  Given the pressures on public expenditure it has not been possible for this alignment to be maintained.  If this alignment had continued the basic salary would currently be significantly higher than the current prescribed amount, (close to £15,000 pa).  This is calculated on an assumption that the basic activity required of an elected member (i.e. without the additional work required for a senior salary) is equivalent to three days’ work."

So just to get this clear: in 2009 - 9 years ago - they thought paying someone to do a job the equivalent of £27,5000 per year, and moreover a job for which no qualifications were required, no training, no experience, no skills and for which there were numerous applicants was a good idea? Truly, the independent voice of reason.

So, presumably, the panel examines a truly independent scale, such as either the CPI or the RPI? Nothing so simple.

"When making financial determinations for this Annual Report, the Panel has considered the progression of a variety of benchmark figures for the period from 2010 to 2017.  As well as the ASHE median gross earnings figures for Wales, the Panel also considered the Retail Price Index, the Consumer Price Index, NJC Pay Scales and Living Wage figures.  It is noted that these figures show clear increases in the cost of living and earnings."

Well, they would, wouldn't they? The RPI and the CPI rise every year, but most salaries have stayed low, so the government tweaked the LW so that the lowest earners would at least be able to eat. Sometimes. £27,5000 a year isn't the lowest earner.  But that seems to have escaped the worthies on the IRPW.

More fun follows, however:

"The recent visits and discussions with members and officers did not change this conclusion. In fact many executive members indicated that their workload has  increased."

Poor dears.   Now the cabinet say they're all working harder. Can anyone, in their wildest dreams, imagine any councillor or cabinet members saying things were easier? That's about as likely as Donald Trump telling the truth.

But the real kicker is in one of their final paragraphs:

"The Panel’s previous determinations contained flexibility for each council to decide the appropriate range of portfolios to meet local needs and adjust payments within the Executive to reflect responsibility."

So originally the pay scales were more recommendations, but councils could choose not to implement them in full.

"As a result of the strong views expressed during the visits that the Panel should be prescriptive in respect of the salaries of executive members this provision has been amended.  Consequently there will be one salary level within .each population group"

Anyone want to bet whose the "strong views expressed" were, saying the IRPW should make the raises compulsory for all, and not leave it the councillors to decide, who would then have to answer to their voters?

When you investigate the make up and methodology of committees like IRPW and Councils one thing becomes blindly obvious: it's always going to be rigged to favour the councils.  Oh, and we - don't forget - also pay the panel members on the IRPW.
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

SteveH

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #117 on: March 09, 2018, 09:58:52 PM »
Don't think I can stand anymore "FUN"........  Nice research, Ian.

Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #118 on: March 10, 2018, 08:21:10 AM »
Thanks.  They do make it difficult, however. Phrases such as "payment of the basic salary would be aligned to the median gross earnings of all full-time employees resident in Wales as reported in the Annual Survey of Hourly Earnings (ASHE)." leave you wondering exactly what that means. There are a lot of questions that need to be asked, I suspect.
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

Fester

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #119 on: March 10, 2018, 11:57:20 PM »
.... and you wonder why I despise politicians, and given the Brexit and US election debacles, it seems millions of others are following suit.
Fester...
- Semper in Excretum, Sole Profundum Variat -