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News and Comment March 2020

Index: 2020

7 March (Part 1) - More than just a rumour mill?

I’ve been reviewing the oldest blogs and have come to the conclusion that there was one hell of a lot of what now looks like trivia reported pre-2014. I suppose it was topical at the time but some of it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense now that memories have faded over six years.

They can’t be removed wholesale because it risks far too many broken links and a massive error log but some have been modified a little to perhaps make them more understandable to any new readers who stumble into the archives.

I still think the dishonesty displayed by Bexley Council at the time was absolutely staggering, lying on a massive scale and for example spending loads of money on defying the guidance issued by the Department for Local Communities. I wasn’t surprised to read that Teresa Pearce MP spoke against it in Parliament at the time but had forgotten that David Evennett did so too.

The spite shown to residents who asked questions was similarly unbelievable. They had to agree to have their name and address published on the Council website before asking their question. Tough luck if you were hiding from an abusive partner for example. Blatant lying to the press and asking police to falsify their reports to defend their own criminality was not unknown.

Prosecuting a resident (and eventually losing) for something he didn’t say on Twitter might have been the pinnacle of Bexley Council’s constant dishonesty. Even I was threatened for saying something that someone else entirely had said. Bexley Council was desperate to quash all criticism and presumably terrified that dirty secrets unknown might come to light. They banned staff from accessing BiB, I suspect that is still the case.

Fortunately Bexley Council is now transformed in all of those particular aspects of its operation and because of that BiB is very different too. Bexley offers a better service to its residents than many London Councils albeit at a high price not to mention the sale of its parks and green spaces.

Residents may be relatively happy but it is easy to detect that many employees are not. Two or three times a week someone passes on information that they hope can be published. Some has had an outing here but some of it isn’t really suitable and that which is would make for a very short piece. At the risk of reintroducing pre-2014 levels of trivia, here’s a few examples of what has come in since the beginning of the year.

No one is happy

• From an old finance man comes the opinion that BexleyCo does not have the ability or, he says, the sense, to protect its interests in Erith Town Hall now that Capita no longer wants it. Shades of Tesco in Broadway is implied which he says, resorting to bad puns, is neither thorough nor good.
• Someone else expresses incredulity that the budget hole for next year suddenly halved and wonders where the money came from. Fewer consultants, increased parking charges or profit that comes from the £100 million investment in BexleyCo? I think he jests. BexleyCo has yet to build a house.
• A name you haven’t seen here is Steve Moore but he appears to have rubbed some of his Bexley colleagues up the wrong way already. They say he has arrived in Bexley via the same route as too many recently. A route that once again includes Newham with Havering tacked on for good measure. The allegation is that he is being lined up to fill Director Paul Moore’s boots. Time will tell but I suspect he is no more than yet another highly paid consultant.
• I was sent some photos and links to Social Media videos of senior Bexley staff in a state of advanced inebriation. I might have published them before 2014 but things have moved on since then. What I cannot understand is why supposedly intelligent people think it is a good idea to make such things available to all. Maybe my assumption of intelligence is wide of the mark.
• Do the former Capita staff who were members of their share save scheme have to declare their interest now that they work in Bexley is a question to which I have no answer. Capita shares fell 40% this past week.
• Another message from a different source alleges that the Finance Director is renewing the Capita deal and will pull Bexley out of oneSource and that books are being cooked to deceive elected members.
• Someone alleges that former Director Paul Moore has been given a tidy sum to shut up about the bullying he suffered. If so that will be well buried within the annual accounts if for no other reason than his payout will be lumped in with many others. The suggestion is he was made to carry the can for the BexleyCo fiasco while three named colleagues got off scot free. This someone seems to think that Chief Executive Jackie Belton is just what is needed for a spot of axe swinging.
• A resident buying a flat on the Eastside Quarter development on Broadway says that the contract refers to a 250 year lease from Bexley Council and Tesco. Strange that Bexley Council said an overage clause would be a very bad idea.
• There are complaints a plenty about the Gravel Hill Broadway roundabout and the four sets of pedestrian controlled lights. Only this week Bexley Council was proclaiming them a rip roaring success. Almost no one believes them.
• Someone more observant than I am says the webcasts often caption comments with the wrong name. Not seen that but then I generally only monitor the audio.
• An anonymous message from Southwark asked how Bexley-is Bonkers can be accessed. I didn’t understand the question because the message was sent from the Contact form. Maybe I failed to see the point.

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