The million pound merry-go-round

Trebles all round! New city council chief exec, ‘Junket’ Jan Ormondroyd, finally makes her opening gambit down at the Council House with a deckchairs-on-the-Titantic-style senior management reshuffle accompanied by some very generous inflation-busting pay hikes indeed for the same old chosen few.

Shoved very quickly under the noses of the Labour Executive at their next cabinet meeting on May 1 will be Junket Jan’s brilliant new management plan (pdf) for the city council, personally crafted by Jan in fluent Birtspeak.

On the plus side, Jan intends to scrap former Chief Exec Pigfucker Gurney’s pointless Chief Executive’s Department. Set up just four years ago at great cost, this was never anything other than a personal vanity department designed to grab regeneration and central government funds coming into the council and then spend them on marginal vanity projects in the hope they might make Pigfucker look good and look like he was actually doing something important. Needless to say they didn’t.

The second part of Jan’s plans, however, are rather less impressive. In her paper to the cabinet, littered with big, important management-sounding words like “strategy”, “partnership”, “performance” and “delivery”, Jan announces that she is going to give the council’s clapped-out old senior management crew a makeover “based on a strategic portfolio model”.

More waffle explains these “new portfolios are “strategic”, “corporate”, “customer focused”, “performance/value for money orientated” and take into account “future proofing delivery” around forward planning, business transformation, and emerging technologies.”

And in what, no doubt, Jan intends to be a breathtaking PR coup, we learn that the current set of senior officers will even have to apply if they want these posts. Blimey. Is Jan having that long overdue clear out of crap in the Council House?

Unfortunately not. Read the small print and you find that the only people allowed to apply for Jan’s new senior officer posts – with two exceptions – are the current directors! And – in a remarkable coincidence – Jan has devised seven new posts and there’s currently seven senior officers in post.

So what this dismal plan really means is that the bosses who were called “Directors” will now be known as – wait for it … “Strategic Directors” and given a pay rise!

Big deal. The new Strategic Directors will be exactly the same deadbeats that have been failing the city for years.

For instance, the current Director of Central Services, Carew Reynell – who was last seen personally overseeing a £6m overspend on the Redland Green School construction by failing to follow his own financial standing orders and then failing to inform elected members what he was doing – will now become ‘Strategic Director Resources’.

His new job, we’re assured, will be “underpinned by a core set of generic strategic leadership and management competencies [and] will have a formal lead for delivering specified strategic outcomes”.

Fancy sounding shit isn’t it? Although might this be a little beyond someone who can’t even follow a simple set of written financial instructions of their own devising and who needs a consultant to explain to him that budgets are generally monitored on spreadsheets?

Meanwhile Heather Tomlinson, our £125k a year director of children and young people’s services, who has singularly failed to articulate any kind of education strategy or vision for the city whatsoever over the last four years – while squandering millions not doing it – will now become ‘Strategic Director Children, Young People and Skills’.

Why? What for? What’s the point? Is it not patently obvious that Heather’s overpaid, underperforming butt needs to be kicked out of the city? What exactly is achieved by rewriting her job description to include more meaningless management buzz words; handing her a stupid new job title and giving her another unearned fat pay rise?

Of the other posts, Annie Hudson currently called Director of Adult Community Care will become ‘Strategic Director Health and Adult Social Care’.

David “I love a big project, me” Bishop, currently Director of Planning, Transport & Sustainable Development will become ‘Strategic Director City Development’.

And Ian Crawley, the Director of Neighbourhood and Housing Services, who’s currently been seconded to work as New Labour’s PFI accountant friends KPMG‘s office boy, tea-maker and yes-man on behalf of the council with the title Director of Business Transformation will return to housing as ‘Strategic Director Neighbourhoods’.

Which conveniently leaves just two management posts and two managers remaining …

One post is Assistant Chief Exec, currently occupied by the personality-free paper shuffling drone Terry Wagstaff. He is, however, being touted to take early retirement, which may free up at least one post for somebody competent.

But the only current manager who may not have a job is Steven Wray. He currently has the laughable title of Director of Culture and Leisure Services. Although his only noticeable contribution to culture in the city so far has consisted of spending £25m on some ludicrous architects from London to ruin our industrial museum when we asked for an arena anyway and demolishing one of the best modernist facades in the city to make way for a yellow tin shed foyer for the Colston Hall.

Will he go too? Or will he be become Jan’s ‘Strategic Director Transformation’, the KPMG tea-making role, where Wray’s destructive urges might find a useful outlet supporting the privatising accountants as they deliver brutal cuts to the lower paid sections of the city council’s workforce over the next few years?

And finally … What’s the cost to us of Jan’s newly titled team then? Er, between six of them – not including the ‘Strategic Director Transformation’ post – they’re going to cost £1,005,000 a year! Or £167,500 each! Even with the 26% cost of employing them, this still means these new strategic directors will be collecting over £120k a year – or a pay increase of between 15-20%.

What a bargain! And what great news for the 35,000 ordinary Bristolian council taxpayers at the bottom of the heap who’ve discovered they’re now out-of-pocket because the government’s scrapped the 10% tax rate.

And no doubt ordinary city council employees and public sector workers will be thrilled at this news too as they get credit crunched into accepting below inflation pay rises of around 2% this year.

Footnote: The Evening Cancer has kindly published the pay rates of the council’s current management team. Here they are:

Assistant chief executive Terry Wagstaff (paid between £87,581 and £95,849).

Heather Tomlinson, director of children and young people’s services (£115,223 to £127,778).

Carew Reynell, director of central support services (£97,850 to £109,904).

Graham Sims, acting director of neighbourhood and housing services (£97,850 to £109,904).

David Bishop, director of planning, transport and sustainable development (£97,850 to £109,904).

Annie Hudson, director of adult community care (£97,850 to £109,904).

Stephen Wray, director of culture and leisure (£87,581 – £95,849).

Ian Crawley, acting director of business transformation (£97,850 to £109,904).

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26 Responses to The million pound merry-go-round

  1. Chris Hutt says:

    I like the bit in Jan’s plan where she says “Shortlisting and interviews will be undertaken by the Appointments Committee”. Shortlisting? How many applicants are they expecting when only the incumbent officers are allowed to apply for their old jobs?

  2. Chris Hutt says:

    Here’s another one – “This (taking a strategic
    leadership role) will require the Council to raise its game to significantly improve its own performance…..This ambitious agenda requires high calibre managerial leadership.” So let’s reappoint the old, failed team! Talk about musical chairs.

  3. Chris Hutt says:

    Sorry, just one more – “The current Chief Officer profile is: 2 women, 6 men; all are white British.
    The profile of the Strategic Leadership Team will be re-audited after appointments have been completed.”

    To save the Council the onerous and expensive task of re-auditing the profile of the Strategic Leadership Team, can we just assume that they’re still going to be all white British and mostly male after being reappointed?

  4. Sceptic says:

    Chris – re recruitment, did you note on the following on page 6:

    “The recruitment process of any posts advertised externally will be designed to promote applications from potential BME candidates.”

    I don’t know about you, but if the council’s doing a crap job, I’d sooner care about the calibre of the people doing the work rather than their colour: I don’t really care whether the staff lineup looks like a Benetton advert or not. I just want the fortune I hand over each month in council tax is not being wasted

  5. Chris Hutt says:

    But it’s all about image these days. Why call a spade a spade when you can call it a Strategic Transformation Competency? It sounds so much more important, worthy of so much more remuneration.

    Have you noticed “Reputation Management” amongst the proposed responsibilities of the Deputy Chief Executive? Managing their reputations seems to come before managing their departments.

  6. thebristolblogger says:

    Also note the fatuous claim in the Deputy’s job description for “Day to day accountability”. Accountability to who exactly? Will I be able to phone up and discuss the council’s strategy and reputation on a daily basis with them then?

    There’s another gem in section 4 “The case for change”:

    The Blueprint for the future organisation

    So Jan’s got a blueprint eh? And it’s been Capitalised for added impact and importance. But where is it? And why hasn’t it been published to support her new proposals?

    It’s also worth noting that responsibility for IT support and property maintenance, currently large in-house services with a considerable number of employees, has been given to the Strategic Director Transformation. This is a department with just a 3 year life-span so it looks like Jan has just announced the outsourcing of quite a lot of people’s jobs here. Let’s hope they’ve all been told in advance …

  7. freddie says:

    Someone should investigate if Dawn Primarolo employed Helen Holland and Ed Bramall in her office to campaign locally on her behalf.

  8. Bearded leftie says:

    When will we have a post about the travails of the Lib Dem group?

    Babbs Janke is back as leader, replacing Steve Comer by a single vote – the same margin he beat her last year. So one idiot councillor has turned the group upside down again by switching sides!

    Gary Hopkins came last as usual.

    This swopping of leaders shows what a nasty bunch the libdems are – and how unfit they are to hold any sort of office of all.

    Most amusing of all is the plight of Cllr “call me DOCTOR” Jon Rogers. An unlikely ally of Comer, he was also deposed, by has-been Simon Cook, and now faces losing his seat to the Greens next year

  9. dunno says:

    I thought Brisol was the home of rebellion. So where’s this spirit now? Now that the Council is apparently doing a poor job and is over paying itselft to do it? Where’s the organisation to loby the government to protest in the streets.
    Or, God forbid, orgnise all involved to vote for the green party durng all local elections?
    Where are the people when the people are needed to take control of their government? Is this the price the people are paying to only be partially educated?

  10. Chris Hutt says:

    “This swopping of leaders shows what a nasty bunch the libdems are ” – Isn’t it called democracy when they elect group leaders? Is that such a bad thing? They do call themselves Liberal Democrats so it would be a bit odd if they didn’t choose their leaders on a majority vote, wouldn’t it?

  11. poor dear says:

    mr Beardie I guess Shirley Marshall living in the USA could have swung the vote, doubt she had a postal vote. Although picking up £10k in councillor allowances a year would cover the cost.

    The lib dems have a leadership vote every year, its fun, its good to have M’am back.

  12. former officer at BCC says:

    haha the Lib Dems are nuts. After a year in control Labour must now have extracted all the juicey stories of how dreadfully Janke treated several officers. How long til these leak out?

  13. Amelium Celer says:

    I’d have thought Helen Holland would have had enough sense to think twice before throwing round stories of treating officers badly no?

  14. BristolPatriot says:

    Former officer of BCC; Thats like saying how much longer will it be before the very deep suppression that officers have over the public at large and Tenants is finally stopped.
    Officers [many but not all] appear to think they are the bosses of everyone rather than public servants wgich they are.

  15. Amelium Celer says:

    Heard a rumour yesterday that the tories will be voting to put the lib dems back in power at today’s full council meeting…

  16. Paul Smith says:


  17. redzone says:

    from barbara janke;
    ‘ continual change do the city & its people no favours. another shake up at the top after barely a year, with no elections taking place, could make the city council a laughing stock’

    could make the council a laughing stock!?!?thats got to be the understatement of the century.
    what a pathetic shambles!!!

  18. poor dear says:

    How about this from Alex Woodman Lib Dem councillor for Cabot. Link to his blog is on this page

    “Therefore, after having five administrations in five years, we feel that at the moment what Bristol needs is stability, not another change which would have left the city with a weak and ineffectual administration”

  19. Chris Hutt says:

    I suspect it’s more to do with the number of hot potatoes currently being held by Labour – BRT on the Railway Path, the incinerator, caretakers, etc. Easier for the Lib-Dems (or anyone else) to criticise those decisions from opposition than to resolve the underlying problems when in power. Who wants to approach next May’s elections with a lot of deeply unpopular decisions on their hands?

  20. Poor dear says:

    If they run the cabinet they can ditch these proposals with the stroke of the pen. The system of cabinet Government in councils allows the cabinet to do more or less anything it wants. If the lib dems wanted to save the path they could have taken power and done that, clearly not that bothered.

    awaits post from Gary Hopkins or Jon Rogers to explain why they have decided to leave these issues running

  21. Chris Hutt says:

    But since the BRT/Railway Path and the incinerator issues are promoted by the West of England Partnership, which Bristol is party to but not in control of, it isn’t so easy for Bristol to opt out (hence Labour’s wriggling on April 1st?), especially where it had previously signed up to the plans when under Lib-Dem control.

  22. poor dear says:

    so what was that council meeting all about?

  23. redzone says:

    good question poor dear!
    most bristolians would question what any of the council meetings over the last decade were all about?!?

  24. Dave says:

    I’ve suspected the IT to be outsourced for a while now too. It’s what all the Councillors want, and it’s happened to Somerset and Taunton Dean CC (who signed a shared services deal with IBM worth £400m (?)) – they used KPMG to analyse their business practice, a company long rumoured to have “unhealthy” ties with IBM. Who do you think Bristol CC are using as business analysts. Yep, KPMG. Expect Bristol’s IT to be outsourced to IBM.

    BTW, every time I read Jan Ormondroyd’s name, I just think of this:

  25. BristolPatriot says:

    Over on Charlie Boltons blog thebristolblogger asks “What has happened to Ian Crawley? previous Director of housing.
    Why he is still seconded “Ian Crawley, the Director of Neighbourhood and Housing Services, who’s currently been seconded to work as New Labour’s PFI accountant friends KPMG’s office boy, tea-maker and yes-man on behalf of the council with the title Director of Business Transformation will return to housing as ‘Strategic Director Neighbourhoods’.

    Idoubt very much you will see him return when Business transformation is complete its likely he will receive generouse severance pay and retire into the sunset. Whilst The new Director of NHS
    Graham Simms .Is likely to get his “Golden Handshake” When the housing stock [What will be left of it after TMO’s] will go to an ALMO after a further stock options appraisal- Once the un elected HMB have been concinced that the Housing service is no longer viable

  26. Pingback: LEAKED DOCUMENT: city council leadership – we’ve done over the vulnerable, now for the wage slaves « The Bristol Blogger

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