Sunday, December 09, 2007

QE hospital damned in national report

We don't normally get very surprised by reports that says Greenwich is rubbish. Nor do we get suprised when the Council pretends that we live in a wonderful utopia. The Council's delusional attitude towards the Borough, and the leadership's habit of outright lying in the Council chamber is pretty much par for the course.

We mention this because we're quite interested in how deep the ostriches will stick their head in the sand over the latest Healthcare Commission report which notes that Queen Elizabeth Hospital Trust in Woolwich (as well as Queen Mary's in Sidcup and Lewisham) are amongst the worst hospitals in the country.

Publicity spending increased by over 300% in ten years

If any residents have been wondering where large parts of their Council Tax goes then we suggest you have a look at this table of figures from the pressure group the Taxpayers Alliance. IN the last ten years the Council has gone from spending £743,000 a year on publicity to spending £3,189,000. That's an increase of 329.2% on propaganda spending.

It's not all bad news though. They're going to cut some of the spending next year. The plan is to reduce the spending on Greenwich Card advertising by £15,000. This makes sense when you think about it. A Greenwich Card gets you discount on services. Why advertise something that saves residents money, it would be cutting off their nose to spite their face.

Council to cut data protection team

We've just been having a look through the Council's budget cut plans and stumbled on something that surprised us a little. The Council is planning on cutting £168,000 a year from its Information Management Service. If you're wondering what that means the Council says "it is likely that there will be redundancies". What is Information Services Management? Well it's not anything very important, just little things like Data Protection compliance.

Yes that's right. At a time when the Government has lost 25 million child beneifts after a massive data protection breach and compliancy failure our Council is proposing to cut the budget from the team responsible for making sure the Council is compliant. We particularly liked the Council's assessment that this would mean a "reduced Information Management service" whilst simultaneously saying that there would be "no detrimental impact".

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Council's backup strategy for the John Roan School

Some may remember that the Council is trying to force the school to move from its location by Greenwich Park to filthy toxic piece of waste ground on the Greenwich Peninsula with no local amenities which acts purely as a thoroughfare for us poor sods that have to use the pathetic public transport system to get the hell out of Dodge.

We have just learned that the Council is still trying to play dirty tricks in getting what it wants on this matter. Officially, if you go to the Council now and ask about the John Roan School the line is that the move is not the Council's to decide but the school's and the John Roan Foundation.

Sounds simple and honest doesn't it? Well it would be if we were not dealing with a Council that will use any means to get what it wants and trample over the views of local people. Especially as the John Roan plans are part of the Government's "Building Schools for the Future" scheme and the Council is way behind on its target because of its own incompetence.

Instead we have learned that the Council has now deliberately stalled the process whereby the John Roan Foundation was going to make a decision citing "legal considerations". What might these legal considerations be? Well (and this is the really devious bit), the Council is trying to take legal ownership of the name "The John Roan School".

This way - no matter what happens - the Council will be able to open its new school and close the other. The new school will have no outside space for the kids, and the air quality will be blighted by a deliberately clogged up dual carriageway. The Council can then flog off the land where the old school was to one of its "preferred" developers.

Whilst we're on the subject of outside space, ponder on this little thought for a moment. The Council started compulsory purchase procedures in order to take land that would provide outside space for Plumstead Manor School. Meanwhile, the John Roan is being forced to move by whatever means to a school with no outdoor space other than the roof.

Now take a look at the Governor make-up of the two schools and note the influence of the Council's controlling group in the former but not in the latter. In fact, look at the entire Phase One of the Council "Building Schools for the Future" and see how, with the exception of Plumstead Manor which is getting more playing fields - all the schools seem to be those where the elected officials of the Council have no political stake in the school's redevelopment success.

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Back from a research project

Should any readers be wondering where we have been, we've been doing research for some people and this has meant that updates to the site have tailed off. We have been publishing comments though, and in recent weeks there has been a concerted effort by a political communications PR company to target our comments. We cannot be sure who has employed them but let us put it like this, we believe the former Deputy Prime Minister's son used to work for them.

As a result we've come in for a lot of flak for our last post about the Mercury being banned from the Town Hall with suggestions it was not true. It was true, but after we published the story the ill-tempered high blood pressure Leader of the Council who occasionally grows a little Hitler moustache crapped his pants and reversed the dictatorial edict. It really is as simple as that.

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