Thursday, 19 February 2009

Jane Todd Talks Utter Shite

Jane Todd, chief JoCo worshipper at the Council has taken an early lead in the 'Bullshitter of the Year' contest. The City Council website carries a response from her to the Evening Post's coverage of the 'top secret report' on officer/member relationships.

I feel obliged to reproduce it below, along with my comments, so you can see it for the execrable kak it is.

"Sometimes I wonder what it will take for the Nottingham Evening Post to recognise that things have changed and continue to change – for the better – at Nottingham City Council."

Er, maybe when it stops trying to cover up critical reports...?

"The front page story headlined City's Top Secret File, on which the council was not even invited to comment, is so wide of the mark and so out of date that many readers must be beginning to wonder if their local newspaper has it in for their local council."

Erm no Jane, we're not. Anybody reading this might suspect that you're trying to deny the media's legitimate role in holding public services and public servants to account in the...

"No-one would deny the media's legitimate role in holding public services and public servants to account in the public interest. But where is the public interest in splashing on the front page a story that dates back to 2006? Well before I was Chief Executive. Before even Michael Frater was Chief Executive."

Well Jane I'm so glad you asked. Part of the issue is that although the report is pre Frater a significant other party is still in place. Whats more, that significant other party was in place when the previous two Chief Execs were bundled out of the door at our expense. So, some people might suspect that this significant other party may be a large part of the cause of the 'cultural problems' the council was suffering from and, as he is still there, may be cynical about whether the problems have been solved at all. You never know, there might be a few clues to this in that report.

Another thing is that, as the report is almost certain to be politically embarressing some residents of Nottingham might just want to take such things into account when they next get a chance to vote.

"It seems the Post may have its iPod stuck on shuffle and it's playing one old tune after another."

Guffaw! *insert yoof relevant ipod reference here for teh kidz*.

"It's been acknowledged that relationships between senior Councillors and senior managers previously – but no longer - employed by the council did not work as well as they could. But things have moved on. I've been here since 1st May last year and I think it reflects on my time here that the Post has been unable to date any of its "Trouble at the City Council" stories later than June last year."

June last year! Why thats...ages ago, 8 months even. A whole different epoch.

"What will reflect even more upon how things have changed will be the Audit Commission's next Comprehensive Performance Assessment Direction of Travel report due to be published in March. I don't expect it to say everything is perfect but I am confident that our significant steps in the right direction will be acknowledged."

Awww, Jane doesn't expect the next Audit Commission report to be perfect. Thats probably for the best. Maybe she hasn't managed to get the whole council to pull the wool over the Audit Commission's eyes by following the Housing Benefits Service's exercise in tick box management.

"To be very clear, we have not released an old, draft report to Councillor Sutton because, on balance, our legal officers and advisors do not believe it to be in the public interest to do so. I must emphasise that councillors have had no role whatsoever in making this decision."

No Jane, you have refused to release a still relevant report because it would be politically embarressing to Jon Collins, your lord and master.

"It strikes me – and I know it strikes people I talk to – that the Post seem to be seeking to denigrate the City Council at any opportunity – no matter how old the story – and I think people deserve better. It does Nottingham no good and the Post no good if we're raking over old coals rather than pulling together, particularly in these difficult economic times, in the interests of Nottingham and the people who live here.

Jane ToddChief Executive,

Nottingham City Council "

Trans; 'Yes come on team, lets pull together for Nottingham's sake. Lets have some of that supine journalism we know you're good at, this bolshy stuff doesn't suit you at all. You're letting me down, you're letting the team down but most of all, you're letting yourself down.'

You see? What a bullshitting patronising little gobshite she is.

Meanwhile, today's Evening Post reports that as well as the £30k for the report thats gone up the swannee, the Council also spent £5k on legal advice on how to cover it up. Some people might wonder if £35k for avoiding embaressment to the Labour party is good value for money.

Furthermore Cllr Sutton has announced that he is referring the matter to the Information Commissioner which should be interesting. Generally the ICO has taken a fairly robust view in favour of complainants when it suspects that covering up political embaressment is the issue so I don't hold out much hope for JoCo and JaTo on this one.

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