Arise Sir Tom Winsor or WTF?

tom winsor

So, the worst kept secret of modern day policing is out, our old friend and valued colleague, Tom Winsor, is to become a Knight of The Realm.  It is to be noted that this award has been given for ‘Public Service’ and not for ‘Services to Policing’, although the joke is maintained by including it in the Law and Order section.  Cressida Dick, it should be noted, is receiving her award for Services to Policing.

Let us examine this more closely, what exactly has Uncle Tom done to deserve this?

He has re-written an old David Camoron speech and called it

Independent Review of Police Officer and Staff Remuneration and Conditions.

He has admitted, on national radio, that his method of estimating the fitness levels of bobbies on the beat were flawed and unscientific, he just didn’t know how to do it, so that whole section of his independent report is flawed in my opinion.

He omitted to draw his fee for writing his independent report, merely taking the expenses.

He saw off all opposition to become the Chief Inspector HMCIC, despite being the first and only CIHMIC not to have ever been a Police Officer.

Winsor has overseen the introduction of the new all-force annual Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) inspection programme.

Winsor has also overseen the publication of a number of vital HMIC reports on issues such as domestic abuse, crime data integrity and policing in austerity.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

“As Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Mr Winsor has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Inspectorate is able to successfully shine a light on policing outcomes and value for money.

He established the PEEL programme, which is giving the public a clear, independent view of the quality of policing in their local area, and delivered thematic inspections on important issues such as stop and search and domestic abuse to ensure police forces are dealing with them appropriately.

I’m delighted to reappoint Thomas Winsor as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and I very much look forward to working with him in the future.”

So December has really been a good month for the good Chief Inspector (sorry chaps), not only reappointed for a further 5 whole years but a Knighthood to boot.  Makes his unclaimed fee for his independent review pale into insignificance really.

They do say respect has to be earned, well I think this demonstrates quite clearly that Sir Tom has finally earnt our respect and maybe we should all now bow down to him, his words are obviously wise ones and he has been rewarded accordingly.

Or maybe I’m joking too, you decide,

Oh, by the way, a Happy New Year to my reader.

News of Tom Winsor's Knighthood Spreads Rapidly

News of Tom Winsor’s Knighthood Spreads Rapidly

And the best caption I have seen so far

Make It Look Like An Accident Bond

Make It Look Like An Accident Bond

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Open Letter To The BBC

Dear BBC,

At the beginning of this year I submitted the Freedom of Information Act request to yourselves that is reproduced below together with your response.

I have to say that I was disappointed by your response, in saying that what I had requested was outside the scope of the Act, and that you have no record of the number of MPs that appear on your programmes. I was however interested in your Editorial Guidelines that state that the BBC should not be paying politicians for appearances where they express political views, and for a long time I took that at face value and assumed that you did not, therefore, pay politicians for their appearances on political programmes such as Question Time.

20 January 2014

Dear Mr Wright

Freedom of Information request – RFI 20140024

Thank you for your request to the BBC of 5th January 2014, seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000:

“Could you please tell me for the 2012/2013 Financial Year

a) How many serving MPs have appeared in BBC TV programmes (with the exception of live News Broadcasts etc)

b) What was the total sum of money paid to serving MPs for their appearance/contribution to BBC scheduled TV and Radio programmes”

The information you have requested is out of scope of the Act. However, we are happy to explain that we do not keep a record of the numbers of MPs and so would in any case be unable to give you this information. With regard to payments to MPs, you may be interested to read the policy set out in the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, which set out the principles to which BBC employees should adhere: http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-politicspractices-interviews#payment-to-mps . These state:

10.4.7

We should not normally pay MPs, or others clearly identified as representing political
parties, for appearances or other contributions to any BBC output in which they are
speaking as a member of their party or expressing political views. They can, where
appropriate, be paid a limited and realistic disturbance fee and/or any reimbursement for
genuine expenses.

10.4.8

They may be paid for contributions to non-political output, where they are appearing on the basis of their expertise outside politics or of their celebrity, and are not taking part as a member of their party or expressing political views. (See Section 10 Politics, Public Policy and Polls: 10.4.4)

Active politicians should not normally be paid for an appearance on, or contribution to, BBC News output. The extent to which a contributor is considered an active politician may be influenced in each case by a combination of factors including, for example, the type of programme or other content, the nature of the contribution, the contributor’s political activity or the capacity in which they appear. Further advice should be sought from Chief Adviser Politics

We hope you find this helpful. Please note that the information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature” 1. The BBC is not required by the Act to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities; however, on this occasion we’re happy to provide the above information in response to your request.

Appeal Rights

The BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not covered by the Act. If you disagree with our decision you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. Contact details are: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF telephone 01625 545 700. http://www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Harris

Head of Accountability, BBC News

So, not only do you claim that you could not answer my question as you don’t record that information, but you give enquirers no Right of Appeal, but instead refer them direct to the Information Commissioner.  For your information the information Commissioner’s website (which is now located at https://ico.org.uk/) says this “You should first complain to the authority and ask it to conduct an internal review.” An Internal Review that you don’t offer.  The Information Commissioner won’t act unless one has asked you for an Internal Review, and you state that you don’t conduct Internal Reviews.  Brilliant!!

Getting back to my original request, you state “We should not normally pay MPs, or others clearly identified as representing political parties, for appearances or other contributions to any BBC output in which they are speaking as a member of their party or expressing political views. “  and  “They may be paid for contributions to non-political output, where they are appearing on the basis of their expertise outside politics or of their celebrity, and are not taking part as a member of their party or expressing political views. “

Personally I would regard This Week as a political programme, and includes political views from the participants. 

For your further information, Diane Abbott MP has declared to the  Register of Members’ Interests that she has been paid £700 by the BBC for every time that she has appeared on This Week.  In the most recent version of the 2014/15 Register (8th December 2014) she has declared that the BBC have paid her £700 on 17 separate occasions.  That equals £11,900 paid for by the BBC Trust for services the the Editorial Guidelines would indicate that she not be paid for.

Diane Abbott is not alone in this, other MPs have made similar declarations to the Register.

As I can clearly not rely on an Act of Parliament to obtain the information I require, maybe Ms Stephanie Harris, Head of Accountability, BBC News, could explain this anomaly to me or attempt to answer my original question.  I see no reason whatsoever why this issue should be protected by Journalistic Privilege, I am not requesting any names, not seeking to identify journalists sources, merely attempting to establish how the British Licence Payers’ money is being spent.  Is that too much to ask?

Yours

Alan Wright

And The Melton Mowbray Award 2014/15 Goes To……..

Well, for me it’s a close-run thing between Diane Abbott and the BBC. I am indebted to Media Guido for the article below.

Diane Abbott Pockets £110,000 of Licence Fee Payer Cash

Feel free to follow the link and you will be further directed to a schedule of payments, that Diane Abbott has properly declared, showing that every time she pops up on BBC’s This Week programme she pockets a cool £700.

In 2004, following a complaint made by Andrew Rosindell MP, Abbott was investigated by the Committee on Standards and Privileges regarding payment she had received from the BBC. They found she had failed to declare earnings of £17,300 on the Register of Members’ Interests which had been received for appearances on the television programme This Week, so, bearing that in mind she unfailingly declares her £700 per week courtesy of Auntie.

In August 2012 the BBC Trust ruled that payments to Abbott for her appearances on This Week were made in breach of BBC guidelines that banned payments to MPs who were representing their political parties. For her part, Abbott had correctly declared the payments in the Parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests. The Trust also said that Abbott had appeared on the show too often.

At the beginning of this year I wrote to the BBC and asked them this question;

“Could you please tell me for the 2012/2013 Financial Year;

a) How many serving MPs have appeared in BBC TV programmes (with the exception of live News Broadcasts etc)

b) What was the total sum of money paid to serving MPs for their appearance/contribution to BBC scheduled TV and Radio programmes”

Their reply included:-

With regard to payments to MPs, you may be interested to read the policy set out in the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, which set out the principles to which BBC employees should adhere: http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-politicspractices-interviews#payment-to-mps . These state:

10.4.7

We should not normally pay MPs, or others clearly identified as representing political parties, for appearances or other contributions to any BBC output in which they are speaking as a member of their party or expressing political views. They can, where appropriate, be paid a limited and realistic disturbance fee and/or any reimbursement for genuine expenses.

10.4.8

They may be paid for contributions to non-political output, where they are appearing on the basis of their expertise outside politics or of their celebrity, and are not taking part as a member of their party or expressing political views.

So, it was 2012 when she was ruled in breach of the above Editorial Guidelines.

Fast Forward to May 2014, the most recent entries available in the MPs Register of Financial Interests, and there we find our Diane still registering £700 a go for appearing on This Week, just not as often.

Much as I don’t like Diane Abbott, I can’t imagine that she would register money that she had NOT been paid, so I must assume that she has.

Therefore, by a process of elimination, I must award the Melton Mowbray to the BBC, for claiming that they don’t pay politicians for appearing on programmes such as This Week, when it is evident that they do.

Shame on you BBC, that’s OUR money.

Just in case any of you thought I was picking on the unfortunate Ms Abbott, Mr Keith Vaz has also declared that he has accepted payment from the BBC for appearing on Any Questions, which is also a politically orientated programme I believe.

The Sound Of Silence or Where Are You Mrs May?

I shall keep it short, you don’t want we twittering on, especially not on Christmas Eve.

It is now 24th December, a full 6 days since Constable Neil Doyle of the Merseyside Constabulary was tragically killed in Liverpool. I don’t wish to comment about the circumstances of his death but would rather let Justice run its natural course.

However, following on from Chris Hobbs’ rather excellent post on Monday I would just like to repeat his statement that we have yet to hear a single, solitary word from our esteemed Home Secretary, Theresa May, on the subject.

On the same subject, I can’t actually find any comment from David Cameron either.

I find this most unusual as they normally have such a lot to say about the Police. It must surely be an oversight. I can’t believe that they think so little of the British Police that they wouldn’t pay tribute to a fallen officer.

I can’t remember the last time a serving Home Secretary failed to acknowledge an officer tragically losing his/her life in similar circumstances. If anyone can provide me with a link to a relevant statement by the Home Secretary I will happily delete this post.

My sincere condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of PC Doyle, may you receive all the support that you will need and that you deserve.

Bernard Hogan-Who To Buck The Trend

BHH has apparently predicted that the Met can do something better than any other public sector organisation has managed to do to date.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has predicted the force’s deployment of mobile technology will buck the trend of failing public sector IT projects and deliver benefits both to victims of crime and officers.

All frontline officers are supposedly to be issued with data-connected tablets on which they’ll be able to record details of crimes, photograph evidence and issue crime reference numbers without needing to return to base.

Now don’t laugh, but he has combined ‘the best Police leaders’ with ‘the best IT leaders to oversee the project.  No danger of anything going wrong there then.  BHH says that he “is confident that our investment will pay off”.

At the same time he sought to reassure that an increase in dependence on IT will not be used as an excuse to reduce officer numbers, despite the recently announced further budget cuts.

All I can say is that they’d better be buying TonkaPads because if something can be broken, Met cops will break it, lose it, run it over or drop it down the toilet.

I can see the need to do something with IT because all the Police Buildings in London seem to be pubs or very expensive flats/apartments. now.  I dread to think where locker space is provided, and I’m pretty certain the Snooker Rooms went years ago along with the Plan Drawer’s Office.  No space for writing Crime Reports up, maybe this is all part of a Master Plan to reduce crime, make it more difficult to record.  Of course the IT on these tablets will be faultless with 100% reliability meaning no down time.

It’s a common sight in DeadBadgerShire to Police Vehicles parked up in a layby with the single-crewed officer tapping away at a keyboard within.  Saves on fuel and wear n tear as well reducing trips back to the Station.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, gadgets (not Gadget) but gadgets and gizzmos have to be part of the solution in an area like Policing, not the whole solution.  Is it only me that thinks that chatting to a crusty PC (are there any left?) or a sweaty DS when you go back to record the crime can sometimes have a positive outcome in relation to the crime you’re recording. Not always but sometimes.  Gods knows, clues are few and far between, anything helps.  Hitting SEND at the end of keying it in and giving the victim the corresponding crime number seems a little bit clinical and unsatisfactory to me, but I’m also aware that with dwindling numbers, and far worse to come, extravagances like chatting to the Crime Desk DS are on the way out, or probably already gone in some Forces.

Anyway it’s all going tom paid out of the proceeds of New Scotland Yard being sold off, so it can’t be all bad, can it?

Police Technology

Going To Market – The New Outsourcing/Privatisation

It seems like a large Police Force in London has quietly taken the decision to go private, or “to the market” as they poncily like to call it. What does this mean? What has happened? Should we be concerned?

Is this simply the thin end of the wedge?

Anyway, this large Force has been deliberating, and had four options to choose from re Procurement etc;

  • Option 1 – Do Nothing, everything stays the way it is
  • Option 2 – Keep everything in-house but Streamline and Improve.
  • Option 3 – Outsource to a new supplier, this would involve undertaking a whole, full-blown new procurement process to identify a new supplier.
  • Option 4 – Outsource to a supplier under an existing shared service framework contract.

The critical factors for declaring any one of the above a success would include service quality, cost reduction, timeframe for delivery of savings and the ability to deliver a service supporting efficient and effective operations.

This process decided that Do Nothing was not an option.  In-house transformation ticked a couple of the boxes, acknowledging the committed, hard-working employees, and the substantial savings that have already been achieved by them.  It scored poorly on outdated and expensive technology, and “Transformation Capacity” (no, I don’t know either).

Apparently, Going To The Market offers ‘fit for purpose’ technology already in use, the transference of risk on savings and delivery, the ability to check out a supplier with their other customers and the potential to achieve savings more quickly.

Whilst it appears that no final decisions have been made, only Option 3 and Option 4 remain on the table. It is anticipated that more work will be undertaken to establish the best route to market, and the In-House Option is dead in the water, hard-working and committed employees included.

A final decision is expected around Easter time with implementation in the Summer, with a period of transition lasting until Spring 2016.

Some staff may have the opportunity to TUPE across to the new supplier, Redundancy Packages are far from certain, but it does seem like jobs are at risk, AND SOON, and who knows where this new supplier(s) will be based??

All that is certain is that this large Police Force loves its committed and hard-working employees, and services will not be remaining in house after Spring 2016 at the latest.

 

Don’t have nightmares, and do have a Merry Christmas, Bah Humbug