Bite the Bullet Jon!

October 27, 2011

I’m sorry it is so long since I have posted. This is because I haven’t had the time to do any research for posts and anything I have learned during my paid work would only out me if I posted it here.

However, there is one interesting titbit I can post. As I am sure many of you know, Nottingham City Council have to make big reductions in their budgets. The figure of a £72 million pounds reduction is the figure I have heard talked about – I have only heard verbally though.

Nottingham City Council Officers are trying to get the agreement from Senior Councillors about where the reductions should be. They are tearing their hair out over the Leader Councillor Jon Collins, who is refusing to consider reductions to any services.

Sorry Jon, but one of the parts of being the Leader is that you have to make difficult decisions. You can’t refuse to make difficult decision and at the same time roar out at Officers when you are frustrated “I am the Leader!” – which I have on good authority he has done on a number of occasions.


Frivolous use of council credit cards?

July 22, 2011

The Public Services website reports that:

“The only English local authority (Nottingham City Council) to resist Eric Pickles’ data transparency drive has hit back at the Communities Secretary over allegations that it used corporate credit cards for frivolous purchases, writes Iain Robinson.

Pickles censured Nottingham City Council’s use of the cards on flights, wine and tickets to Alton Towers.

But deputy council leader Graham Chapman said the purchases were “perfectly reasonable and proper”, and that the issue highlighted the flaws in using financial data out of context.

Chapman said the wine was for resale in council-run cafes, while the flights were reimbursed by sponsors and the theme park tickets were for disadvantaged children.”

Nottingham City Council should publish its financial data. Citizens should have a right to know how their local authority is spending their money.

I suspect that the council is right in its comments about them park tickets. I am surprised though that a credit card is being used to buy wine to resell at a council run cafe. Unless we are talking about a couple of bottles of wine though, then it would surely make more sense for the cafes to be ordering directly from suppliers on an invoice basis?

Follow the link below to read the original post.

A Strong Leader

June 15, 2011

Nottingham City Council is currently run by a councillor from the ruling party called the Leader (currently Jon Collins), who makes decisions with a Cabinet of councillors, also from the ruling group (currently the Labour Party). Each of these councillors has responsibility for particular services, known as their ‘portfolio’. Nottingham has a Mayor, but this is a ceremonial role without any decision-making powers.

However, under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 the council must change its constitution by December 2010 to one of two options for leadership: either a Leader with stronger powers (a Strong Leader) or a directly elected Mayor.

Many Local Authorities consulted with their local citizens about which model they preferred.

I don’t know if Nottingham City Council has changed their constitution by the required date. And I certainly haven’t seen any sign of consultation. However, the council seems to be moving towards the strong leadership model.

This would mean that instead of Cabinet members being appointed by a meeting of the council, as they are now, between two and nine councillors would be chosen by the Leader, to help him or her take decisions. The other main change would be that the Leader would be appointed for a four year period (or the remainder of their term as a councillor), rather than a year.

I have heard many disparaging comments from City Council officers basically saying that the last thing Nottingham needs is for Councillor Jon Collins to be a stronger leader with more power. I certainly share their views.

Allegations about consultant paid £1,000 a day

November 5, 2010

Notts Police Authority have allegedly being misusing money by paying out large amounts for a consultant, as reported in the Nottingham Post.

“A POLICE consultant is to stand down before an inquiry is completed on why her job was created.

Jaki Lowe was an interim director of human resources working on a plan to shave £1.2m, or 17.5 per cent, from Notts Police‘s spending on staff over the next three years.

Anonymous letters sent to Notts Police Authority and the Post expressed doubts over the need for her post, and claimed it was costing £1,000 a day.

In response to the letters, chairman of Notts Police Authority Councillor Jon Collins, requested another police force look into the allegations in the anonymous letters….But Ms Lowe has now stepped down before the inquiry was completed..

The investigation will continue but it has not been revealed when it will finish.”

Follow the link below to read more.

Labour accused of imposing candidate

June 29, 2010

Below is an interesting article about how Labour allegedly overlooked local candidates and instead imposed one they had already selected. Everything I have heard about this, suggests that this was done, deliberately to stop Jon Collins becoming a Labour MP.
Chris Leslie “Gordon Brown’s former leadership campaign manager Chris Leslie has been selected as the party’s candidate for Nottingham East to replace John Heppell who is stepping down at the general election.

There has been some controversy about the selection process overall, not least the suggestion that Labour was deliberately not announcing potential candidates to replace retiring MPs until the election was announced, limiting the time Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had to debate the matter.

In this case Labour has been accused of imposing their man and overlooking three local candidates, including Nottingham City Council leader Jon Collins, former leader Brian Parbutt and executive board member Jane Urquhart.”

To read more follow the link below.

Jon Collins Update

June 28, 2010

Jon has apparently emailed every Nottingham City Council employee criticising the Government’s budget and the impact budget cuts will have on services provided by local authorities.

You may not agree, but this seemed a pretty party political move and not appropriate for someone who is the Lead member of Nottingham City Council.

Jane Todd on the otherhand, the Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council, sent a general email to employees talking about the need to work together during difficult times.

Now that is appropriate.

Nottingham awarded a Purple Flag for city centre

June 24, 2010

No I didn’t know what the Purple Flag was either. Apparently though..

“Nottingham has been successful in its bid to gain Purple Flag Status for its late night offering and is among one of the first places in Britain to be recognised for the strides they have made in becoming safer, cleaner and more pleasant places to be after dark..

Nottingham city centre was assessed on a range of criteria including attractiveness and appeal, cleanliness, personal safety, arts and cultural offer, how welcoming it is, as well as the strength of partnership working”

Jon Collins is quoted as saying “”The Assessors and Panel were impressed by particular strengths, including Doorwatch, Street Pastors, good signage, refurbishment of the public realm, BID management of the city centre and the excellent partnership work between businesses and agencies.”

Okay there are some good bits about our City Centre including the Doorwatch scheme. However they still haven’t managed to erect a sign in market square to the nearest public toilets.

To read more follow the link below.

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