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Golden Bull award winners 2019

Peter Sharpe sent us this from a South Kestreven District Council ‘Tree Preservation Order’. It really is the ‘gold standard’ in gobbledygook. Self-importantly insensible, methodically impenetrable and all-round atrocious. Well done!


1. This Order may be cited as SOUTH KESTEVEN DISTRICT COUNCIL (LAND AT Elsea Park known as Wherry’s Spinney, Bourne) TREE PRESERVATION ORDER 2019.


2.—(1) In this Order “the authority” means the South Kesteven District Council (2) In this Order any reference to a numbered section is a reference to the section so numbered in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and any reference to a numbered regulation is a reference to the regulation so numbered in the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation)(England) Regulations 2012


3.— (1) Subject to article 4, this Order takes effect provisionally on the date on which it is made.
(2) Without prejudice to subsection (7) of section 198 (power to make tree preservation orders) or subsection (1) of section 200 (tree preservation orders: Forestry Commissioners) and, subject to the exceptions in regulation 14, no person shall—

a) cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy; or
b) cause or permit the cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage or wilful destruction of,

any tree specified in the Schedule to this Order except with the written consent of the authority in accordance with regulations 16 and 17, or the Secretary of State in accordance with regulation 23, and, where such consent is given subject to conditions, in accordance with those conditions.

Application to trees to be planted pursuant to a condition

4. In relation to any tree identified in the first column of the Schedule by the letter ‘C’, being a tree to be planted pursuant to a condition imposed under paragraph (a) of section 197 (planning permission to include appropriate provision for preservation and planting of trees), this Order takes effect as from the time when the tree is planted.

Thanks to Derek Fishwick for sending us this whopper from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

Waiting Times for Cardiff and Vale Patients for the previous 6 months based on the 90th percentile

Explanation of the Referral To Treatment waiting time at point of treatment or other clinical decision stopping the clock and the waiting time at the point of first Outpatient appointment The waiting time is calculated by ordering the activity records by weeks waiting in ascending order, locating the point of the 90th percentile patient and taking the weeks wait. In essence the weeks wait is representative of what 9 out of 10 patients will wait. The waiting times are as reported to Welsh Government. The patients sampled are only those who live within Cardiff and Vale UHB catchment. The outpatient attendance includes those patients who did not attend their appointment to reflect what the waiting time would have been.

Dr Colum Farrelly was understandably perplexed by this, from BT. It may at first seem to make sense…but it doesn’t, not really, so is a waste of time. Too much is assumed of the audience – fatal and all-too-common gibberish mistake.

The BT Hybrid Scheme combines elements of both defined contribution (like the BTRSS) and defined benefits (like the BT Pension Scheme). Each year you'd build up a block of pension and cash lump sum based on your Pensionable Salary up to the Threshold - your defined benefits. BT will also pay a contribution for you into a defined contribution pot. The amount of this BT contribution is calculated using your Pensionable Salary above that Threshold.

Christine Marshall was rightly miffed by this response from Braintree District Council to her query about grant cuts. The full response was horrendous but here’s a representative paragraph…

CIPFA noted that the assignment had been carried out against the background of unprecedented changes to the funding of local government. The quantum of funding available to local authorities having been substantially cut over the period of the last spending review. The report presented a number of options including special expenses and grant payments based on a number of methodologies but it also identified the possible complexity of making changes and that these would be costly to administer for both the District and Parish/Town Councils.

Thanks to Andrew Dutton who correctly decided this was Golden Bull Award-worthy, from Peter Schofield at the DWP (the last paragraph is 47 words of hypocrisy).

We are improving and re-launching the channels that enable frontline teams to ask questions, raise ideas and make suggestions. This feedback will be triaged and systematically considered, with frontline staff being told what will be done with their suggestion. The insight derived from this feedback will be regularly reviewed by senior managers and fed into Service Design teams.

A good example of how the Department has already altered its approach to acting on front line intelligence is by making staff feedback loops an integral part of the Universal Credit (UC) design process, which uses an iterative and participative process to bring frontline experience to the heart of design activity. If staff identify an issue, improvement idea or question that relates to the UC Full Service it is addressed by the site centre Service Innovation Lead (SIL). If the issue or improvement idea has not been raised previously, the SIL will feed it into the design process.

More broadly, the Department is undertaking work to explore any corporate behaviours and drivers of decision-making that may have contributed to previous issues resulting in errors and will be considering how it can address these to mitigate the risk of similar issues occurring in the future.

It’s a fact that Open Democracy do some very good work. The following is not very good, is in fact horrendous. Thanks to Mike Marcus.

When the change of political paradigm one envisages is a version of civic republicanism which aspires to direct democracy, both nationalism and Europeanism/globalization prove to be feeble answers to the impasses of contemporary political and economic neoliberalism.

Stefan Hoffmeister sent us the following, after becoming wracked with enough despair to want to share his daily misery at a telecommunications company.

Dear Portal Users, From Today, the previously named GTES Escalation Log held on workspace 2 has been replaced with a new SharePoint Online version and has been renamed the VBTS Escalation & Expedite Request Portal for consistency re: the upcoming rollout.
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