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Bonkers Blog November 2017

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21 November (Part 1) - Not all sweetness and light

If Council Leader Teresa O’Neill really has people approaching her in the street to heap praise on the LED street lighting, my guess is that it was just one person and she embroidered the truth as everyone at Bexley Council seems to do.

Well not everyone perhaps because the lighting controversy appears to be just as intense within Bexley Council as without and an insider sent the following email. Once again slightly edited for easy consumption here but all the essential points are reported in the original format. In fact it differs by little more than a few punctuation marks.

You may be interested in the goings on inside the street lighting service.

Conway is the new contractor for all street lighting services including the maintenance and the lucrative bulk renewal to LED columns.

My understanding is it was negotiated by Engineering Services (Civils) behind the back of Highways who used to be in charge of the service. The result is that Graham Ward has plucked another service to add to his armoury. The whole thing stinks worse than Crossness on a bad day.

Service is now absolutely terrible and as a dodge to make the complaint figures better (which were sky high at the beginning of the year) they no longer accept complaints to the Contact Centre. There is a convoluted online process instead. Complaints are discouraged.

Highways ceded control to Civils in an attempt to prevent the loathesome Graham Ward getting his grubby mitts on them! The previous contractor Kier had years left on their contract and surprise surprise, Conways Street lighting division was run by [name redacted], whose firm used to have the contract before selling out to May Gurney then Kier. Brown envelopes and back handers galore methinks!

I heard they bit off way more than they could chew. Things may have changed recently but if an audit had been done there would have been no paperwork to audit!

The basic premise is that certain people wanted the bulk renewal contract and colluded with FM Conway to get it. That’s the way I see it. They didn’t think of or maybe care about the maintenance side. LEDs may be long lasting but the wiring and columns they are retro-fitted to aren’t. Columns sometimes have to be moved, accidents etc. More future costs and meanwhile the public gets a poor service with no simple way of complaining.

There used to be a fortnightly check of every column to see if it was lit but that has been done way with so ‘outs’ are not fixed as quickly as they once were. Maybe it’s just a short term blip in service or maybe it’s the way things in general are headed.

Oh dear, and if you believe the Bexley Conservative propaganda machine everything in the borough is so very wonderful.

Note: No evidence of backhanders etc. has ever come to light but that such things are considered possible by staff within Bexley Council is perhaps alarming.

The message above was not sent anonymously.


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