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News and Comment August 2012

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8 August (Part 2) - On yer bike

Young cyclistsI’ll try not to mention the O word but obviously cycling is enjoying a high profile at the moment. Bexley council runs free training sessions for young cyclists, it’s nothing particularly new and of course it is not really free. Nothing is, it costs the tax payer money. How much is not certain.

Over the last year or so I have been aware of an undercurrent of discontent among the people who run this service. Some have said the costs per trainee have been creeping up for no obvious reason, almost exactly doubling to more than £100, and that those who have tried to put a stop to it have been the subject of criticism and far worse. As always in these cases it is difficult to be sure who is right but the allegations about where the money is going are serious. There is no evidence that anyone has investigated whether the allegations are justified, I’d guess if they had been the story would have gone cold long ago. All I hear about is the dismissal of whistle blowers. As I said, it’s hard to be sure when you are only hearing one side of the story but once in a while I do hear both.

Among my files I have a number of signed documents and emails from high ranking officials within Bexley council which show beyond any doubt whatsoever that one of them made up a story to ensure that an employee was dismissed. That someone had been guilty of a misjudgment, albeit with a string of mitigating circumstances, and had whistle blown a manager on a previous occasion. Successfully; he departed, but the employee became a marked man. When the opportunity arose a Deputy Director who I am tempted to name and picture here accepted or concocted a series of embellishments to the original misdemeanour which ensured the dismissal was confirmed. There is no doubt about it, the documentation as well as simple common sense makes it an absolute certainty the management signed off a lie. Unfortunately the employee concerned got cold feet about publishing the story and documentation in full, but that doesn’t make it Hokum.


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