Saturday, 29 September 2012

My post to the Wokingham Regeneration youtube video

Wokingham is a small town that people call home. Not a business hub. To enter a town trade war with our neighbours will bring increased pace and aggression to our streets. It is unfortunate that  public finances are split like this. We are taking on debt at a time when debt is the problem, and we are subsidising our costs with reliance on selling homes at prices that are still too many more times the average wage to leave a respectable disposable income to spend in the expanded town. Congestion.

Interested to see how open they will go on posts.

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Answer to the Question. Public scrutiny. Wokingham Regeneration

If you do not know the question I sent then it is here. It relates to the Wokingham Regeneration contract with Wilson Bowden Developments made through Wokingham Enterprises Ltd. 

As a forward to this long list. I would like to point out none of it address the issue.

The entire scrutiny process is in the hands of people or companies who will not be selected paid unless chosen by those being scrutinised. It is #Libor all over again.Thus the need for public scrutiny, as was the concern from the National Audit Office.

They may as well add 40 other friends non-spouse family to the list who may or may not have access to the actual contracts and give them special titles.

They also reduced the question to open loop holes.

The last line is hopeful at best since in 'normal operations' you or I are allowed to request all the details of the contract and then get other quotes and make sure we got a good deal. Can not get better than that other than us appointing someone to do it.

Question (their version)
Highlighted by the National Audit Office report Jan 2012 that Wokingham Borough Council
owned companies could be used to avoid scrutiny. What measures have we taken?


I understand that the question relates to the potential to avoid scrutiny rather than that
WBC has been referred to in this specific way. Which we haven’t been, of course.

There are many formal measures in place that enable the Council to scrutinise our
Companies. These include;

Under the Constitution surrounding our Companies, our Councillors and Officers sit on the
Company Boards

The Council can attend the AGM of each Company and indeed call an EGM as its
shareholder, when it sees fit

Our Companies report to TESC on a quarterly basis, which is open for Public Scrutiny and

The Companies must appoint Auditors that must be acceptable to the Council (as
shareholder) and provide information as requested by the Council in the formulation of our
consolidated accounts.

These formal measures are supplemented by numerous informal measures to ensure
there is effective scrutiny in place. This includes;

Monthly meetings between the Finance Directors of the Companies and the Council’s
Chief Finance Officer, together with the Council’s Lead Member for Finance (Anthony
And Service related meetings to ensure the Companies are performing in the way we want
them to, for example; the Strategic Director for Health and Well-being together with the
Lead Member for Community Care (JMS) meet regularly with chair and MD of Optalis.

I hope this satisfies you that we take the scrutiny and oversight of our companies very
seriously, to both protect the interests of our residents and make sure they deliver on their
ambition; ambitions that will significantly impact on the financial well-being of the Council
and the delivery of vital infrastructure for our community.

Answer which was provided in Mr Lokuciewski’s absence
This is certainly not the case and in fact if anything it enhances the scrutiny role because
Scrutiny is quite entitled to look at the service being provided by any of our suppliers.

There are many formal measures in place that enable the Council to scrutinise our
Companies. These include the section of the Constitution covering our Companies; our
Councillors and Officers sit on the Company Boards; the Council can attend the AGM of
each Company and indeed call an Extraordinary General Meeting as its shareholder, when
it sees fit.

All our Companies report to a sub-group of this Committee, TESC, on a quarterly basis
which is open for public scrutiny and questions. The Companies must appoint Auditors that
must be acceptable to the Council and provide information as requested by the Council in
the formulation of our consolidated accounts.

These formal measures are supplemented by numerous informal measures to ensure
there is effective scrutiny in place. This includes monthly meetings between the Finance
Directors of the Companies and the Council’s Chief Finance Officer, together with my
Lead Member for Finance, Anthony Pollock, and service related meetings to ensure
the Companies are performing in the way we want them to. For example the Strategic
Director for Health and Wellbeing together with the Lead Member for Community Care,
Julian McGhee-Sumner meet regularly with the Chair and Managing Director of Optalis.

The scrutiny is actually even more rigorous than for the normal operations we have.

Kaz Solution.
Auditors and scrutiny panel  to be selected and agreed by 10 random adult voters. Not those being scrutinised.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Being asked today at the Executive meeting I hope

Dear Mr Chair.

I recently was denied a Freedom of Information request regarding the £100m Wilson Bowmen contract on commercially sensitive grounds.

In July 2012 in the previous meeting the minutes state

Panel noted the four principles of good scrutiny as identified by the Centre for
Public Scrutiny. With regards to the principle 'to reflect the voice and concerns of the
public and its communities', Members questioned how the public could be involved in scrutiny. they were informed that they could attend pubic scrutiny meetings,
ask questions at meetings, suggest topics for review or could pass their concerns on
to their local councillor. Agendas for public meetings were also sent to the local media.

Audit Commission Annual Plan 2011/12 also notes the dangers of the partnerships

"The risk of error and misstatement appearing in the financial statements will increase if weaknesses continue in your arrangements for the valuation of assets."

"At present the progress of the Transformation Programme does not take place in a public meeting. There is a risk that existing reporting lines do not enable effective scrutiny of progress by members outside of executive and other interested stakeholders."

Do you accept that a £100m council funded contract where there was little consultation and land and asset valuations have not met the auditors expectations and controlled by a select few people who are from the same organization presents a risks to mismanagement of funds and public value for money.

Also your current purchasing decisions state that 80% service and 20% price as determining factors. This again maintains opportunities for 'relationships' and I feel there should be a scale. If one company charges twice and much and is a 99% 'trusted' supplier and another company is locally trusted but does not have a relationship a member of the council council they may get a trusted score of 50% and could never get the work even if they were to offer it at half the price.

I feel the 80% 20% does not represent the purchasing style of the people you represent and would wish for tenders to be more openly scrutinized and higher quotes justified with an independent other.

Update. The answer

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Was there a true consultation on Wokingham Regeneration

According to Wokingham Enterprises Limited and their development partner Wilson Bowden, you were consulted on how you would like to achieve a regeneration of Wokingham town centre.

The consultation apparently started in 2009. I heard nothing, then a letter sent out in June 2011  to homes across the borough. This letter.

2011 Consultation letter circular version

2011 Consultation letter postal version

They both boil down to the same thing.
  1. We are looking at regenerating the town centre. We will make sure it looks nice and in keeping and provides jobs.
  2. If you want to have look at the proposals there are three days in a row in the middle of the school holidays.
From my limited survey it would appear about one in 10 people have any recollection of receiving this letter. although I suspect that even if the letters were actually delivered it suggests a face lift or re-build of the 1960's buildings. Locals working 80 hours / week would not feel the need to juggle things to make the specific Saturday they could attend.

In June 2012 there was a proper public disclosure in the Wokingham Times that there was going to be an exhibition at the end of July 2012. We were shown in an illustration that they would like to build 100+ dwellings on the car park near Shute End, more houses along one edge of the playground half of Elms field, an underground multi-story car park, and loose the other half of Elms field to another supermarket, an underground multi story car park and courtyard shopping square.

Over all 160 more infill dwellings on community resources This to pay for landscaping for the remaining field, making a through road to Shute End and a face lift to the 1960's buildings.

There is also a lot more in the 2010 master plan but this has never been promoted to the general public for consideration.

Not at all what one would have expected from the 2011 document and disturbing given the hardship that many have faced of late trying to get a local school places or even siblings into the same school.

With many new flats on Molly Millars lane as yet to be occupied and the cricket and tennis club property development opposite Elms Field still ongoing. Every patch of land. Where does it end?

At what point is the 'Historic Market Town sign taken down.

My thoughts now are that, if a councillor who went door to door claiming to wish to represent they would have at least included a mention of residential development supermarket and loss of open space openly into the initial public letter. Wilson Bowen or Wokingham Enterprises Ltd did not.

This would not be a problem if we could think of the exhibition at the end of July as the start of the consultation. But we can not. Tory Cllr Allistair Corrie (A tax advisor from Risley signed the £100m contract that was penned by Tory Cllr Matt Deegan (A tax advisor) between Wokingham Enterprises Ltd and Wilson Bowden Developments before the event opened.

It is important that the contract was between Wokingham Enterprises Ltd, a Wokingham Borough Council owned company and Wilson Bowden Developments. Ordinarily such a contract would be open to public scrutiny but by using the sub company. The denied freedom of information request is currently facing an internal review.

A post exhibition survey was conducted by @WokinghamRegneration but this simply asked questions about, assuming we do this what trees would you like and should the buildings be all the same in a row. I had to ask them specifically where state negative comments, they said we can put it anywhere. Many people did. But it was not obvious. It did not ask directly for people to approve or reject the key areas of dispute, apply a financial value to them. The results were absolutely fascicle. As you looked down the stats between about 120 and 220 they seemed to have been filled in in batches of four by supporters who could not be bothered to even pretend to be someone else. Also the survey drew on every one of the many lovely features they ask us if we liked. Which we did. Like a nice painting that I'm your willing to buy. The Summary used very odd measurements based on how many features we liked. The whole survey was a list of likeable features and nothing about choices about the things we don't.

My conclusion (Which matches that of the National Audit Office) is that there was no appropriate pre-consultation.

If you do not feel that there was an appropriate consultation and think there should be one then please sign the petition calling for there to be one.

Open interview. Real views.

Why I stopped voting Conservative

I am a conservative in that I believe that government runs business inefficientlyI also believe that business in competition is necessarily selfish and cruel.

I believe it is the role of government to create an environment in which business can provide momentum and drive, but not at the cost of quality of life. 

The benchmark is to create an environment in which all who are willing to work an honest week until their mid 60s can raise a family at a timely age if they so choose, with a good provision for security, health and education.

More and more people become disenfranchised with the Conservative leadership. Not with what Conservative means but what the Conservative party has become. Business interests dictating policy and government directly running businesses or quangos. Both cruel and inefficient.

What is the solution. How about get involved! Join the Conservative party and change it from the inside yes? ... NO.

There are just too many self interested business men involved and they will join the rest at the top, not you. Some have gained economic respect due to their wealth and party contributions regardless of its source. Inherited wealth, successfully reducing costs for large companies simply by reducing front line wages to below a local living wage or helping them avoid tax and drive tax paying competitors out of business, being ahead of the curve on the financial markets,  personal tax avoidance and land ownership and hoarding.

Not only are these non-'wealth creators'  allowed to influence policy in their own best interests. But they represent the aspect of business that provides nothing of value increasing the burden on those who do. Individually costing you more than the worst of lifestyle benefit families.

By joining them as a hard working local with an ideology for change your support adds in-touch credibility to a leadership that deservedly has none.

So I stood as a Green councillor last year. Why. Business men are going to get involved in that too and cycle will start again.

I agree. Until a minister is forced to sign away future revenue streams for the privilege of serving his country the cycle will continue. But, as of yet, I believe the Green party, currently at least, is led by a democratic majority of people who are thinking about everyone and the long term.

For me the cut off point has been reached. When someone of average intellect is willing to work a 40 hour week can not support a family by their late twenties or early thirties,m when once they would have, society has failed. This is not growth, this is not efficiency, this is not progress and I believe it was avoidable.

Evendons East Parish Councillor Election 2012

If you live the centre of Wokingham but despair at the relentless infill development and its affect on our school places, water, roads, drainage and flooding. Or perhaps you feel that you home is becoming too urban, then please research before you vote in the Evendons East Parish Councillor Election. And do vote.

Click here to see why I switched.

Many people vote for the party rather than the councillor? And those who do... vote. But a councillor has no influence over national policy.

A councillor is supposed to be your voice in council. They do not have voting rights on planning applications. That is reserved for 9 councillors selected by the leader of the leading party to be on the planning committee.

Your parish councillor will have three minutes at the beginning of some meetings to raise your concerns.

The planned Wokingham Regeneration is for a large food store, multistory underground car park, courtyard plaza and some face lifts and includes 160 dwellings. Yet more cramming on our community resources at a time where some siblings are going to different schools.The contract is for £100m and has been made using a sub-company which allows the contract o avoid public scrutiny. We are not being allowed to know what we are spending on what. Why?

You have two men standing to be your Evendons East Parish Councillor.  

I asked them both three questions.

John Bray
Are you unreservedly in favour of the #wokingham regenration proposal?
No. Although I am very much in favour of a regeneration of Wokingham Town Centre I believe that too much recreational space is being sacrificed with the current scheme.
If not, what would you like to change?
Less of Elms Fields being built on, ideally Elms Fileds being untouched.
Not so much money being borrowed by the council. Could the businesses who will prosper by this regeneration not be coerced into coughing up more sponsorship?

 Was there a sufficient consultation?
Absolutely not! Presentation after the decision has been made is not consultation!
The Town Centre Forum is not truly representative and the Council has not consulted widely with the electorate before embarking on this scheme. 

Mark Ashwell
Are you unreservedly in favour of the #wokingham regenration proposal? 
If not, what would you like to change? 
Plenty to hone as an active member of the Town Centre Regeneration Forum
Was there a sufficient consultation? 

Please do vote, spread the word and GET ACTIVE.

A councillor can not fix this secrecy over large public borrowing alone. 

In local government a petition with1500 signatures must be taken seriously and there are perhaps 6000 of us who are local enough to care. This means we have to be proactive.

If your are a resident of the Wokingham Borough and feel that the entire consultation and contract process should start again then please use this link to sign the petition and share.

If you feel that the Wokingham borough council owned companies should have the same level of transparency when spending your money as if the contract was with the council itself then please sign this petition and share.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The causes of unaffordable homes (and therefore the things we 'MUST' fix

If we are going to have affordable housing we need house prices to reflect better what they cost. This means less section 106's money being spent by the council and less developers / land owners cashing in on planning permissions. It also means stopping 'buy to let' being the only pension you can rely on. 

But before we build loads of houses we need to make sure that land and homes are what they should be relative to cost of living first. UK is already unsustainably populated so any building should be done with resolving that in mind.

The main problem. Lords taxing the peasants.

A landlord should either provide a valuable service or they are simply a new version of a lord of old taxing the peasants who work the land.

Hoarding land is a low work way of providing a robust income as well as providing simple to set up tax free legacy to avoid death duty of 40%. As your property portfolio ages the mortgage payments  (if any) become lower relative to rents and profits go up, allowing you to purchase more properties. You might perhaps pay a little over the odds since you know it will pay off in the end.

Your grandchildren, who inherit the 'business' can then charge other peoples grandchildren to rent from them. Your grandchildren will therefore have money to purchase more properties and expand the trust. Or, if they are creative, they will use their rent income to buy faster appreciating assets or land in developing counties. Removing the wealth from uk circulation, driving unnafordable housing in other countries and expanding the number of other people's grandchildren their grandchildren can tax for having access to one of the basic needs. Shelter.

The demand for homes has increased not simply because bacnks allowed people to go beyond the safe limits of their finances, otherwise the value of property would not be able to fluctuate as it does. The problem is property hoarders who have more money available who are thinking long term and avoiding 40% death duty. Douche of Cornwall for example.

There is a double whammy here. The increase price means people who bought their home have higher borrowing. Not only has our new buyer purchased a home for double the build cost, but they will pay multiples of that to the bank before they pave paid it back.

Meanwhile there is a new additional waste work (work that has no real world beneficial output). Those people who simply had to rent because prices are so high have their relationship with the property managed. If they owned their home there would be no unnecessary property management and that person could do something of value for a living, rather than be a rich burden on society.

This has reached epic proportions in the UK. #RentBritain

The fix would be simple if only so many buy to let landlord didn't have little equity and that house prices need to come down by about 50% to be a real reflection of the cost of actually building a home. A reduction like that would create a negative equity bomb that would put the banks back in the red.

Thankfully we did not adopt the Euro. So we can still fix it.

If we can not deflate property prices we must inflate everything else. Including Salaries. 
Perhaps 10% / year for ten years. This can be done by printing money. This effectively steals from the rich to give to . . whoever they give the money to so it would be nice if it was split evenly with citizens.

It would normally create a run on the pound as senior politicians, I mean investment bankers, try to get their money into globally stable assets, ready to buy back in to the UK after the printing has stopped. But since other counties are hemorrhaging at the moment it may not. I would drop the EU for a bit and restrict capital flow. Like Malaysia did in  1978.

If our 'Wealth Creators' are so clever let them try to create money by getting people here to do something of value. Not buying and selling imported goods, hoarding land or gambling with the advantage of inside information.

To stop property from inflating also we must carefully limiting lending so that working people can only borrow the money they should to afford for home. 

So how do we stop those landlord grandchildren buying the properties and starting the process again?

Here are some options I like.

'Right to Buy' extended to private market, for private and business. If you are letting out a property are either providing a service or are privately taxing another human. And should go and do some useful work. If after 2 years your tenant feels that you are not providing a service they have the right to purchase the house from you at the going rate. Using avoidance tactics *kicking out 2 days before, selling to a mate, must be made to be 'not worth trying'. In the same breath the administrative costs of the transaction must be negligible.

Land hoarding businesses holdings to be be subject to death duty. So if you own or hold shares in businesses, or are a beneficiary in a trust, 40% of those assets will revert back to the state.

Alternatively scrap death duty and introduce a wealth tax. e.g. 1%.

But don't expect this to happen without some kid of change to what we demand of politicians when we vote. Here is a list of some large political donations financial sources.

Here is one way you can change it.

Now this is planning.

This is a great example of spending time and money on planning to an extend that everything else will become complicated and costly.

This may well not be the fault of Wokingham Borough Council since there appear to be all sorts of other organisations they must appease but, as someone who likes to get things done, were I quote for a job and read something like that I would triple my quote for the extra admin and recheck my 'how many times you can change you mind before you pay' clause.

About seven years ago my wife and I were once members of the Wokingham Town Twinning association and we had a German man staying in our two bedroom maisonette for a long weekend.

There was a friendly openness in how we communicated and one thing was evident to the Germans. Our houses are small and we pay to much for them and none of us had bought land and self built.

Well we all think there is no land. And if there is, it will be a developer who builds an estate on it.

My in-laws once bought a plot in a new estate in Morocco. I saw the 'before' pictures and all there was was the road layout. After two years they were told a if they did not build the house they would have to sell the plot back. So they got on with it and the family designed their new home. In the end they never moved there since the mansion they had built was not near the town centre where they worked so they rented it out. I went to see the estate once and it was fantastic. People had put a lot of thought and creativity into their homes.

Public involvement at a public meeting.

Have you ever been involved in a conversation where you have conflicting views at the beginning and end up agreeing at the end?

How many rounds of communications does it take.

I would say that most of the time the 'oh I hadn't considered that' comes out in the first few exchanges. Once your get past about 10 each your not going to agree.

I was at a planning meeting at Wokingham Borough Council (just to see how inclusive I felt) and, knowing that the people talking in front of me are mostly in regular communication and had possibly discussed many of the matters before thought the consultation might take more of a 'Question Time' like approach.

But from what I can tell, if you are an objector, you must apply to get a share of a total of 3 minutes to object. Your slot will come after the parish council (who will probably object and say something similar to you to avoid loosing your vote next year).

Then the people supporting the project get to say their bit, the last word as it were, which may well have been altered to mitigate things you might have said.

And then . . . the 9 members of the planning comity who are selected by the Tory leader David Lee chat about it with the main representatives of the employed council.

As a sceptic I obviously suspect that there is some sort of agreement in advance. However, even without the pre-discuss, if there are any stand out questionable observation's the consensus seems to be that you have to sit there and bite your tongue.

I used to think it how silly it is in parliament when the back bencher's voice their disagreement with various animal noises, now I am not so sure. Our council meetings are stuffy, formulaic and... well... odd. Perhaps it is just a case of the 'no one knew how we should behave and therefore it evolved to whatever makes the leaders would like the most.

If you were to look at a top down view of a development on a field that appears more densely populated than the surrounding estates and the building control manager says, "You can see how it is in keeping with the rest of the area." and then rolls on while you at range try to count dots per area. What do you do to alert the 9 and those around you that you disagree? If most of the public in the room also feel that way perhaps 'the 9' should consider this a point worthy of expansion.

I would like to suggest that people at public meetings have red and green card sticks. And if something is said that you strongly agree with you put your green stick up. If a statement is disagreeable you put the red one up. This will not disrupt the all important flow, but at least if there is an apparent consensus amongst the public on an issue.

Otherwise Wokingham Borough Council "Have your say" simply does not exist.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Police commissioner anyone?

Is there anyone who has 'been on the force in the Thames Valley for 20+ years" willing to be the Thames Valley Police Commissioner?

Academics creating paperwork and Soldiers who became business men. Sure, get these people in for a day to throw some ideas about but don't let them lead it.

The Police will not differ from the NHS on this.

More info here.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

So.Who to appoint to deliberate over Wokingham Regeneration contract?

I would say someone of impeccable trust, uncorrectable.

But what would I know?

Matt Deegan...


INVESTMENTS: On / Offshore, Funds, Managing risk, Taxation, Trusts & Estate Planning
PENSIONS: Pre & Post retirement, Individual & Group PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Penned the £100m deal and...

Alistair Corrie 
(Tax Advisor from Risley) 
Signed it.

I always though tax advisers and Private Banking Business Managers were crooks.

Lets just get something straight. Their job is to help someone with a lot of money, keep more for them and perhaps their family than the government think they should, meaning regular tax payers have to make up the difference. Matt and Alistair then take their cut out of our loss.
Sounds to me like an advert for what is wrong with the UK and an unlikely philanthropist.

Wokingham owned companies. Open for business. Not scrutiny. Wokingham Regeneration or Development?

Wokingham Borough Council January 2012 ITEM NO: 61.00 TITLE Audit Commission Annual Plan 2011/12 

"Has concluded that there is Risks with the mismanagement and potential  misreporting by the use of council owned companies."

"The town centre redevelopment is being funded by the Council at a time of economic uncertainty. There is a risk that failure to deliver the anticipated returns will have an impact on your financial resilience"

"At present the progress of the Transformation Programme does not take place in a public meeting. There is a risk that existing reporting lines do not enable effective scrutiny of progress by members outside of executive and other interested stakeholders."

July 2012 in the previous scrutiny meeting the minutes state 

"Panel noted the four principles of good scrutiny as identified by the Centre for Public Scrutiny. With regards to the principle 'to reflect the voice and concerns of the public and its communities', Members questioned how the public could be involved in scrutiny. they were informed that they could attend pubic scrutiny meetings, ask questions at meetings, suggest topics for review or could pass their concerns on to their local councillor. Agendas for public meetings were also sent to the local media."

Freedom of Information request on the £100m Wilson Bowden Wokingham Regeneration contract rejected on commercial grounds. 

(update. This is now contested and will go to formal internal review before it can be escalated outside of the local council.)

(Update. Some Tory councillors have defended the secrecy of the Wokingham Regeneration contract between Wokingham Enterprises Ltd and Wilson Bowden Developments because businesses do not like their tenders scrutinised Since Wokingham Enterprises Ltd is not the actual council but a sub company (with exclusive use of our money) it is fine for it to be outside the law that demands open public scrutiny for council expenditure and contracts..

I would like to remind the councillors the laws around transparency of public spending are there for a reason. Using a business owned by the council does not change whose money can be abused. You have chosen to fail on ethics and use an untested loophole. Selecting ones own scrutinisers, no mater how many, is not acceptable.

I am also aware that the council are supposed to provide the information that does not limit a businesses competitive edge but is not outweighed by public public interest.

19 October 2012 Wokingham Enterprises Limited is to be put into a Dormant state

£6k payment to Cllr David Lee's selected councillors deemed acceptable, although they did not apply for the role against better applicants who may have been willing to do so for free as part of the community.

Request to ask if the above situation is acceptable at the Scrutiny meeting for 11th September denied as too late and too vague. (amendment, have agreed to bring up at the next one)
Update Question asked to the executive of Wokingam Borough Council

Deeply concerned about just how 'comfortable' the establishment have become. When their answer to to ethical concerns met with 'within the rules'. Who makes the rules?


The audit (makes some interesting reading). Pages 6-10.

Who scrutinises the Conservatives decisions  Sheer madness.

How are they supposed to operate? Not in my experience. We should submit questions on the fly in response to glossed over items.

LibDem councillors complain publicly about the problem. Not all willing to commit to acting on it by signing a petition though?

Please do something

Sign the petition! And tell your neighbours. (this is a link too)

In my dealing with Wokingham Borough Council not questioning their integrity, but instead my expectation that their actions should be open to scrutiny so that their integrity can not be questioned, I have felt politely misdirected. Rarely ignored, for which I am grateful, but feel I have met too many beurocratic defence systems to work within the system.

If you believe in conservative values and became a Councillor only to find out that you have simply empowered a secretive clique I would ask that you act on it in the only way you can. Stand down for a bi-election. I'm sure if you talk to the other parties they would help you regain your seat under another banner.

One final push. Please.

If you agree can you please contact your local ward representative and get our council to be 'actually open and accountable in regards to contracts managed through our three companies. It is still our money. 

Copy / Paste


Do you feel the executive Wokingham borough council is suitably scrutinised?


Dear Cllr

I am one of your constituents.
I am deeply concerned about the way that the non-executive directors of our council owned companies have been selected and are being remunerated. Also the large sums of our money that they are able to spend apparently without public scrutiny.
One example being the £100m contract with Wilson Bowden homes which the National Audit Office was concerned will not represent a viable investment. The National Audit office has also expressed concerns about how the companies can be used for misreporting.
Can you please request a public consultation referenced in the local press for measures that should be taken to stop these companies from being capable of facilitating inappropriate use of public funds.
Also can you please express your personal views on the matter.

Kind Regards

Find your ward representative here.

Update 2014/01/30

I have had a tenuous relationship with Wokingham Borough Council regarding our right to film public meetings. They have consistently blocked the filming of the South Wokingham Development in relation to highways. A Freedom of information request has confirmed that the negotiations surrounding the S106 contributions have not been calculated to construct an average contribution per dwelling area. These leaves a lot of leeway with secretive people.

Eric pickles guidelines are clear on this. Let the bloggers in. If there is misrepresentation then that can be dealt with. The evidence of one recorded meeting was needed when Cllr Baker lied in an outburst at a previously blocked Southern Wokingham Highways meeting and I accused him of in in an e-mail exchange in which the Wokingham Times was included. He threatened to sue me, I played along and then provided the evidence, not before asking the leader of the opposition who was present to vouch for me on twitter. She vouched for Cllr Baker!

So we can see why the ability to film public meetings in the manner linked below is essential to scuppering dishonesty at Wokingham Borough Council.

Wokingham Borough Council felt that this annotation is was excessive and blocked filming.

They council could film it themselves. Cllr Baker lied (again) that I was asked to tender for the work over a year ago on a public forum of the old Wokingham Times site. I offered to purchase the kit if they would film it.

They have made up rules that someone can film as long as the film the whole thing put it all online and do not edit it. Only the BBC does not do that? They made that up and 3 hours of waffle is hardly transparent either. Not to mention that Cllrs are signed up to a code of conduct to support transparency. Yet the annotation is to ask about Fracking because councillors will not be transparent about how they will act on that.

I'll cut to the chase.

People can not be bothered to govern without cashing in a little it would seem. If people will not volunteer out of the goodness of their hearts then we may as well have the gamesters doing it.

But people poor people are starting their lives in too much debt now. For all our innovation. That is why we need to make life harder for the crooks and keep their take modest.

Start with transparency. Make them commit in advance about Fracking (Yes, No or public referendum) and make them allow people to turn up and film as they see fit at public meeting just as they can at any other public event.

Just tell them to make promises using