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flamboyant

When is a Director of Law not a Director of Law?

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It's bloody desperate isn't it! How the bloody hell do 'we' ever deflate this ballon of wealth and rid ourselves of these bottom feeding tics who feast upon our public funds. There's no bloody end to it. One pile of rubbish falls and another springs up in its place. It's bloody relentless.

Why can't the Council elected leaders say, 'No'. Why? I'd have no problem in telling them all to clear off, be gone, on your way and you'll get no gagging money from me because I couldn't care less who you tell. Go tell the world for all I care. I couldn't care bloody less.

Why has it got to be this way? Bloody hell! I bloody hate them. I do. Bloody intensely. I hate them more than any of you. Oh, you might think you hate them but compared to me, you simply dislike them. I bloody hate them.

I'd love to fix up a fight with Bill bloody Norman. Just him and me. I'd tip up outside Plough bloody Lane, park me handcart and its load of rancid melons and I'd fight him. I would. And he could arm himself with any offensive weapon of his choice, it would be of no concern to me and of little use to him.

I'd bloody hurtle toward him screaming and gibbering in biblical tongues and frighten the life out of him howling, 'Bill. I bloody hate you and today Im going to punch you once for every pound you've managed to take from the public purse'. That'd make him think, 'Good Lord that's a lot of punching'.

If Bill bloody Norman is reading this, and lets face it, its highly unlikely I want him to agree to fight me so that I can deliver Hereford from his controlling grip that sees him and his colleagues getting wealthier and us getting bloody poorer. I've said it before and I'll say it again, not that its worth repeating, Council staff have got to start leaving their work stations, knocking on the doors of the high and the bloody mighty and asking them out for a fight. That'd sort them all out. Imagine going to work everyday knowing that you had to fight the staff. They'd soon get tired of that. I know I would!

If I had to fight the staff daily I'd be looking to work elsewhere at some place where I didn't have to fight the staff. Before I agreed to take up the position of Head of Legal Services on a salary of an eye watering sum of money I'd ask, 'do I have to fight the staff'.

Mind, I've fought them all in my dreams you know. The theme of the dream is pretty much the same every time. I tip up, women scream, 'we can't keep our hands off him. Lets clap our hands, stamp our feet and jump up and down bra less all over his fat face' and then I fight them. It doesn't last long. Basically I dance about avoiding the punches, bobbing and weaving until the opponent gets exasperated and then I belt them over the head with a large wooden mallet and the crowd cry, 'that's a bit out of order. Hitting someone over the head with a mallet'. Then I wake up, have a cigarette, another can of ale and hope I can get back to sleep to continue beating these Council Leaders to a pulp and be cheered on by women who faint with pleasure because I am the most desirable man they've ever seen with a handcart selling rancid melons.

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I was sitting in the conservatory this morning perusing the Telegraph, when it suddenly came to me.

I ran into the kitchen and declared, "I've had an epiphany"!, the long suffering Mrs. B said, "You'd better get a cloth and wipe it up then", I said , "No you daft bat, I've had a vision, a glimpse into the future, and it's not pretty"

In my vision, I saw Plough Lane, there was a gatehouse, guarded by ex-SAS troopers, all thrown out of the Regiment for being too violent, all armed to the teeth, stopping and searching passers by. I saw salivating Rottweiler's on short leads patrolling Baynhams forecourt, there were large signs, in four languages, declaring that the area was a 'no hand cart zone' and that melon salesmen would be 'shot on sight'. There was a moat surrounding the Council offices, filled with water and teeming with man eating sharks, (actually, they were piranha, but I can't spell that). All employees were being escorted about their daily business by Neanderthals, knuckles scraping on the floor, even to the refurbished toilets.  Then I saw the bill for all this security. That was the most frightening, and all coming from the 'public purse'.

The reason for all of this, because SOMEBODY, (you know who you are), somebody declared their desire to fight, (somewhat unfairly in my  mind), some one who seriously deserves the sh*t knocking out of them, Bill bloody Norman.

Well, all I can say, is if my council tax is raised next year by even one penny, I shall be around to 'somebody's' house, rummage through their tackle, and have their Shimano beach caster and box of wagglers on e bay within the hour.(Unless of course, I can be the sole promoter of this altercation and sell tickets)

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Ha ha!! Hilarious I would pay to see Bobby beat a path to Bill Normans door!

 

You're wrong about him not reading these pages, I hope he's squirming!

 

This post has been accessed 140 times, trust me someone's running to Bill at it again Norman!

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Hello there!

 

Welcome to Hereford Voice! Judging from your blog,(which I did enjoy reading!) and Wirral Leaks, it sounds as if you have as many concerns about how your council is run, as we have about ours!

Edited by dippyhippy

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Sadly, I'm not as familiar with local politics in Hereford as you obviously are (although I'm always interested to hear about other places). Of course I don't mind you posting the link. 

I remember once a long time ago showing Bill Norman my press card for him to have a long argument with me trying to persuade me I wasn't the press! His replacement Surjit Tour isn't willing to stretch the truth to that degree!

Over the years I've had my effect on local openness and transparency (and been shouted at many times by politicians). Faced a local councillor (and his entire political party) on the other side of a courtroom, won then beaten said party into last place at the ballot box a few weeks later. 

My reporting has led to violence against my family from someone associated with a political party, arrests on a trumped up "breach of the peace" matter (I joked with the arresting officer that my snoring couldn't be that loud!), the Council being featured on the regional TV news and the downfall of a previous Labour administration.

However on the bright side, my reporting has also led (in part) to a new law coming into effect in just a few weeks time that will allow anyone to film public meetings of their local Council if they so wish.

I bear the scars of poor corporate governance literally (a four inch scar resulting from an operation on my wrist after breaking it a few months after the wrist having been weakened by the bully boy coppers putting the handcuffs on too tightly because the police so a side line as witness intimidation and doing the bidding of terrorists (that is people who use violence for political ends)).

So yes, it's been interesting! Although the journey has been such that would lead to others fleeing the country and seeking asylum! Sadly being hauled out of bed and taken away in handcuffs so the police can quiz me about local government officers seems to be about the way things used to work round here. Witness intimidation and persecution of whistleblowers is the way things are done. Such is life eh in our "democracy"?

 

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However on the bright side, my reporting has also led (in part) to a new law coming into effect in just a few weeks time that will allow anyone to film public meetings of their local Council if they so wish.

 

Nice of you to add this information to our site and get an experienced voice to add comments to our forum. I came across this on your website a few weeks ago and have been watching some of your videos in the council chamber at Wirral, although it is a problem to get the sound right.

 

This should put the wind up our lot here in Herefordshire. Gives "You've Been Framed" a new area to look into. Maybe Bobby 47 can do the voiceover for the clips. Dippy can be director, Biomech with clapperboard, Flamboyant on lighting and Denise on make up. All we need now is someone to do the on-set catering. Do you think The Commercial would do this Bobby?

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Nice of you to add this information to our site and get an experienced voice to add comments to our forum. I came across this on your website a few weeks ago and have been watching some of your videos in the council chamber at Wirral, although it is a problem to get the sound right.

 

This should put the wind up our lot here in Herefordshire. Gives "You've Been Framed" a new area to look into. Maybe Bobby 47 can do the voiceover for the clips. Dippy can be director, Biomech with clapperboard, Flamboyant on lighting and Denise on make up. All we need now is someone to do the on-set catering. Do you think The Commercial would do this Bobby?

I do my best by filming underneath one of the two speakers in the public gallery but the acoustics from the public gallery are to put it bluntly awful. In fact for Wirral School Forum meetings (also held in the Council Chamber) I've started recording from the Chamber last time itself which is better. The trouble is the place has a very high ceiling so sound just gets lost. 

 

Also the angle from the public gallery means only about half a dozen out of sixty-six councillors can be seen. 

 

I do try to record sound independently (in better quality) and have thought of dubbing over. Trouble then is synching the soundtrack to the video. Once the regulations come in I'll have a rethink about things. At the moment I'm using cheap equipment (the camera cost about £24.99) and have recently upgraded to a tripod with a video head (which allows for panning onto whoever is speaking).

 

At least one person has suggested a direct feed into the audio (where meetings use microphones) would be better. I'd have to have a meeting with Wirral Council though to get the permission to do that though. 

 

There has in the past been a lot of resistance to councillors being filmed. It's odd as you wouldn't expect politicians to be camera shy would you? Or is it just that an independent record of the meeting that can't be altered like the minutes can allows less flexibility for politicians to spin what happened? 

 

 

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However as people are interested in the filming issue, I'll provide a little more detail.

They'll come into force on the 6th August 2014 and the text of the new regulations can be read here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2014/9780111113554/pdfs/ukdsi_9780111113554_en.pdf . 

Regulations 1-6 deal with the filming issue. They mainly amend other legislation to do with public meetings. 

To summarise it, from 6th August 2014 local councils won't be able to prevent people filming their public meeting. The new regulations also apply to town and parish councils, public meetings of fire and rescue authorities and a few other public bodies such as combined authorities. 

As well as filming, it means you'll be able to take photos, tweet etc and publish such information. I'll write up something a little more detailed nearer the time. 

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Slightly off topic but still on one of our favoured subjects.  Yet another quite well paid post is being created by the Council.  What on earth has happened to the plain straightforward job spec listing duties.  Page after page of crud.  I wonder if the people applying for the post really know what they are applying for.  A person is being paid handsomely to create these job specs.  HC clearly just do not get it complicated highly paid posts are not what is required to get this county right.  It is dare I say it the ordinary labouring posts needed to get this county back to what it once was.   Get the city and outskirts clean tidy and not smelling of pi*% and sick.  Things should naturally fall into place   Anybody coming to Hereford for an interview would not be impressed with what they see so the Council start with a minus because they do not get top drawer in the first place.  Could somebody out there who actually understands council speak translate the job spec and say what exactly is the job in terms that joe public would understand. 

Jobs: Commissioning Lead Integrated Pathway: At Herefordshire Council we are transforming our services in resp... http://bit.ly/1pxlcsa

 

 

Edited by Denise Lloyd

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I'm a journalist that writes about local government for a living. So I'll do my best to translate into language the average person on the street would understand along with a quote from the original. 

"At Herefordshire Council we are transforming our services in response to the unprecedented challenges presented by national policy changes, the financial environment and the need to reduce demand on key services."

At Herefordshire Council we're planning cuts to services, but we're too frightened to just call them cuts. 

"
This is an exciting time to join our organisation and be part of the journey to reshape and focus on our clearly set out priority areas, within the resources available, to keep children and young people safe and give them the best start in life; enable residents to live safe, healthy and independent lives and stimulate the economy by investing in projects to improve roads, create jobs and build more homes."

We're desperate for people to work here, like many local councils we provide education through schools, repair the roads, try and make sure people have a job and that houses are built. 

"
Herefordshire is a naturally beautiful rural county, where people are attracted to the rewarding and stimulating work opportunities outside an urban setting. We embrace the changing environment; grab hold of continuous improvement opportunities, work at pace and balance flexibility. You can make a real difference here whilst enjoying a great combination of quality of life with quality of work. "

We don't expect you'll be spending your working career staring out of the window at the scenery, but there are some nice places to walk in on your days off. We'll tell you you can make a real difference, but when you get the job you'll find you're just a cog in a very large machine and expected to do what you're told. 

"We have lively and active communities in our villages and market towns of Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury, Kington, Leominster and Bromyard, as well as the vibrant and historic city of Hereford. All offer good schools, entertainment and shopping facilities. There’s something for all ages, great community spirit and is a wonderful place to live and work."

If you have kids, we have schools (but doesn't everywhere else)! We also have shops to spend your hard earned wages in. Some of our buildings are very old. 

"
Herefordshire Council is integral to the community and as the county’s largest employer and provider of services, working with us provides the opportunity to have a positive impact and make a difference to Herefordshire residents and communities."

Don't worry you're not joining a cult (despite our aim to make a positive impact) we're a local council. Work for us.

 

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Thank you now I understand it.  Any plain speaking person(which in my experience are the most productive) wouldn't get a look in just because they don't talk the talk.  

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Believe me I've spent years attending public meetings and putting what they say at them into something the public will understand! Management often seems to have a language and jargon all of its own. It's interesting though that there seem to be great similarities across local councils. 

Much of what local councils do isn't decided locally but is determined nationally by laws, regulations or how much money they get for something that year. It probably explains why a lot of local councillors often stand to become MPs. 

Being a councillor didn't quite give them the power and status they wanted so they want to carry on climbing the greasy pole of politics. 

Some of my translations of how things were put were done somewhat tongue in cheek, but you're right, the job description is written by people who don't seem to have writing in plain English as part of their job description! 

Edited by level80

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Denise

 

One of the key skills needed to fulfil the requirements of the post states-

 

Experience of influencing senior managers across organisational

boundaries, often with difficult or contentious messages concerning the design of services and subsequent contractual arrangements.

 

Which loosely translated means

 

Experience of influencing senior managers - Can you lie with conviction, manipulate figures to support those lies?

across organisational boundaries - From the comfort of your living room

often with difficult or contentious messages concerning the design of services - Maintain those lies when everyone around you knows your lying

and subsequent contractual arrangements - Make covert arrangements to farm out our Public Services without anyone knowing your doing it, until the Contracts have been signed!

 

Tell us about your previous role for example -

If I type your name and previous place of employment into Google will I get any nasty surprises? If so you're hired!!

Edited by flamboyant

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Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has passed a law allowing press and public to film and digitally report from all public meetings of local government bodies.

 

Public will be allowed to film Council meetings from today. Strange no publicity of this in the main media. An article today in the Northamptonshire Telegraph explains the news. Wait for Herefordshire Council to annouce how they plan to allow this to happen.

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I've written about it myself here http://johnbrace.com/2014/08/06/openness-of-local-government-bodies-regulations-2014-prevents-councillors-stopping-filming-at-public-meetings/ and you can read the DCLG press release here http://www.gov.uk/government/news/press-freedom-boosted-by-new-right-to-report .

It was also covered this morning by BBC Radio Merseyside, but I suppose local media coverage partly depends on whether you live in one of the areas mentioned in the DCLG press release as previously banning filming. 

Edited by level80

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Your rights to attend and report meetings
 
Why are there new national rules?
We now live in a modern, digital world where the use of modern communication methods such as filming, tweeting and blogging should be embraced for enhancing the openness and transparency of local government bodies. This will ensure we have strong, 21st century, local democracy where local government bodies are genuinely accountable to the local people whom they serve and to the local taxpayers who help fund them. 
 
Who do these rules help?
These rules help any members of the press and public who want to know about, view or report the work of local government bodies. The “press†is defined in the widest terms – including traditional print media, filming crews, hyper-local journalists and bloggers.
 
The new national rules have increased your rights to film, audio-record, take photographs, and use social media such as tweeting and blogging to report the proceedings of all such meetings that are open to the public.
 
But the local authority says reporting is a breach of its Standing Orders?
It is a legal duty for the local government body to follow the new provisions. If a local government body’s existing Standing Orders are not fully in line with the new legislation, in the short-term, we recommend they simply waive the relevant provisions of those old Standing Orders which could be taken to inhibit the new reporting rules, and then take steps to update formally its Standing Orders. 
 
And it applies to the Fire Service and Police as well - especially as they can't keep their Agendas and Minutes of meetings up to date. The Local Enterprise partnership is however exempt!
 
To facilitate public scrutiny and public reporting, local authorities should not conduct their meetings in foreign languages. Does that include "council speak"?

 

Edited by megilleland

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But the local authority says reporting is a breach of its Standing Orders?
It is a legal duty for the local government body to follow the new provisions. If a local government body’s existing Standing Orders are not fully in line with the new legislation, in the short-term, we recommend they simply waive the relevant provisions of those old Standing Orders which could be taken to inhibit the new reporting rules, and then take steps to update formally its Standing Orders. 

 

Oh you mean like http://johnbrace.com/2014/09/10/filming-public-meetings-on-merseyside-open-democracy-phase-2-fire-authority-is-best-liverpool-council-is-worst/ Liverpool City Council who tried to stop filming after the new law came in?

 

Or like Wirral Council http://johnbrace.com/2014/10/29/the-day-democracy-and-freedom-of-the-press-died-at-wirral-council-28th-october-2014/ who class the presence of a sixteen year old to be enough to ban filming (despite having nothing in their standing orders)?

 

Councils flagrantly disregard their legal duties. Yes the media could sue, but seriously is that what's needed for things to change?

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19th November Hereford Times News by Bill Tanner

 
THE public should soon be able to record meetings of Herefordshire Council – providing that recording doesn’t disrupt committee proceedings.
 
And, according to the draft, the definition of disruption is down to the relevant committee or council chairman.
 
The council’s constitution currently forbids the filming or recording of any meeting without the prior consent of the meeting chairman.
 
But the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 allow recording at meetings which are open to the public that includes filming, photographing and audio recording.
 
The council’s audit and corporate governance committee is expected to agree on the change to the constitution when it meets next week.
 
Changes to the constitution to permit recording can then be made at assistant director level.
 
Recording privileges are not extended to “closed doors†meetings or any meeting from which the public have been excluded.
 
Nor can those recording offer a “running commentary†on proceedings.
 
If the recording is deemed to be disrupting the meeting a chairman can ask that it be stopped and, if it not, order the recorder from the room.
 
Anyone intending to film, photograph or otherwise record at the meeting is required to let the council’s governance services team know as far in advance of the meeting as possible so that “appropriate arrangements†can be put in place.
 
Flash photography or additional lighting is not permitted without prior approval. Nor is the recording of others present if they have indicated that they do not wish to be included.
 
Permitting recording is a statutory requirement and, while a protocol is not essential, it is seen as mitigating the risk that those attending are unaware of their respective rights and responsibilities.
 
Recording of council meeting for outside dissemination first became an issue in 2010 when the Hereford Times revealed the council’s plans to broadcast meeting on the internet as part of a package to improve its overall communications.
 
Within a week the council had pulled the plug on so called “Council TV†amid criticism over the how much the project could cost.
 
Cabinet instead switched to the concept of more centralised control of communications given than the council’s then self-promotion spend had risen to more than £2 million with every sign of going higher.
 
In 2012, the council webcast a planning meeting at its then Brockington base as a trial that attracted more than 1,000 viewers, with 463 watching on the day and another  704 logging on to the council’s website to watch it over the following five days.

 

I didn't think they would enter into the spirit of the law, just twist it to suit their circumstances.

Edited by megilleland

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What "appropriate arrangements" do they think will be needed to be put in place?

 

Surely the very fact that it is a public meeting, and presuming signage is put up alerting folks to the fact that they may be filmed, what else would be required?

 

I will be very interested to hear what definition they come up with for "disruptive."

 

Perhaps this needs putting to the test.......find out where the line is drawn!

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10. Recording of Meetings

To note the technical amendment required to the constitution, and approve a protocol to guide recording of public meetings.

 

Appendix 1 - Draft Protocol re Recording at Public Meetings of the Council 

 

RECORDING, PHOTOGRAPHY AND USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN COUNCIL MEETINGS: PROTOCOL AND GUIDANCE

 

The Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 allow reporting at meetings of the council which are open to the public to attend (such as Council, Cabinet and any committees). Reporting includes filming, photographing and making an audio recording of proceedings at a meeting, and also any other means, including social media, for enabling a person who is not present to see or hear proceedings at a meeting as it takes place or later.

 

Reporting is not permitted where the public have specifically been excluded from the meeting in accordance with lawful requirements. If this is the case an explanation will be given of those reasons by the chairman at the meeting.

 

The regulations do not permit oral reporting or commentary on a meeting as it takes place if the person reporting or providing the commentary is present at the meeting. The reporting of meetings should not disrupt the business of the meeting. If it does the person reporting can be asked to stop doing so and if they do not, they may be asked to leave the meeting.

 

The reporting of meetings is subject to the law and it is the responsibility of those doing the reporting to ensure they comply.

 

If you are intending to film, photograph or otherwise record at the meeting

 

* please let the governance services team know as far in advance of the meeting as possible so that any appropriate arrangements can be put in place

 

* please remain within the area designated for the public and minimise movement

 

* please do not use flash photography or additional lighting without prior approval

 

* please respect the privacy of members of the public and do not film or photograph any member of the public speaking at, or attending the meeting if they have indicated that they do not wish to be included

 

* please do not put undue restrictions on the material produced, so that it can be reused by local people and organisations on a non-commercial basis

 

If you are attending a meeting and do not wish to be filmed or photographed please let the governance services team know before the meeting starts so that anyone who intends filming or photographing can be made aware.

 

Further information

Further advice or guidance may be sought from the governance team (GovernanceSupportTeam@herefordshire.gov.uk)

 

Notice to be displayed in all public meeting rooms:

 

Recording of meetings

Anyone is welcome to record public meetings of the council using whatever, nondisruptive, methods you think are suitable. Please note that the meeting chairman has the discretion to halt any recording for a number of reasons including disruption caused by the recording, or the nature of the business being conducted. Recording should end when the meeting ends, if the meeting is adjourned, or if the public and press are excluded in accordance with lawful requirements.

 

Anyone filming a meeting is asked to focus only on those actively participating.

 

If, as a member of the public, you do not wish to be filmed please make a member of the governance team aware.

Edited by megilleland

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