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The truths they don't want you to read....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Windfalls and f'ups

Isn't it a wonderful feeling when you realise that you have got a very good deal on a purchase?

Don't you have this frisson of joy when you realise that the goods you ordered from the mainland were never charged on your credit card?

Have you ever had that sphincter-tightening realisation that you have forgotten to issue an invoice, or request payment, and you just know that the customer will never pay your bill?

I am told that there is a collective case of sphincter-loosening at the COU with the realisation that they failed to complete the necessary paperwork and hence failed to issue invoices totalling about £500,000 in the Summer of 2009.

The customer who will not now have to pay for this work is believed to be the Hebridean Housing Partnership.

Negotiations between the parties are understood to have started, but with the Bank of Taxpayer underwriting the COU, what's the urgency?


Anonymous said...

Check this one again Angus. I am told COU billed HHP who refused to pay/could not pay.

Anonymous said...

If the council did bill and hhp declined to pay (for whatever reason) then WTF are the council doing bailing hhp out?

Dr Evadne said...

I would take a rough guess that:
a.) HHP have not paid up &
b.) The cou signed up to an agreement using national scheduled rates for HHP works.
They were always going to stuffed under the terms of this agreement. Someone signed on the dotted line...and ran away as fast as they could.
And indeed WTF are the council so pleased to be handing over more money? Well because HHP are the council in all but name. Another glorified scam using public money.

Anonymous said...

i know this is stupid of me. But what exactly is the COU?

Council operations unit or something? Is it a company? How does it work?

Anonymous said...

Dear 12:27 as CEO you should have some grasp of the operations at Marybank and the performance..................

Anonymous said...

Hi 12:27

Its supposed to be like a Direct Labour Organisation or DLO as they are called on the mainland.

They are given a different name up here to add to the mystery of what they do and who they do it for.

This comes in handy when comparisons are made with DLO'S on the mainland.

Often, benchmarking comparisons are used by Councils to establish League Tables of performance and the information is used to improve efficiency and quality improvement.

By calling ours a COU, we can safely side step any comparisons being draw with mainland DLO'S as we can safely say we don't have one. This negates the need for service efficiencies and quality improvement.

One added advantage for us is that as no other Council in Scotland has a COU, we can truthfully claim to have the best performing COU in Scotland- by a distance.

Anonymous said...

Commercial operations unit.....

Malkie Blur said...

Commercial Operations Unit aka the DLO is an arm of the Council that undertakes the joinery, electrical, Bus na Comahirle ("BnC") and other saintly works.

Commercial is there to give the illusion of some sort of business ability or even a rudimentary understanding of the nature of other people's money.

Operations implies some kind of essential service, or possibly the illusion of motion and activity. Other than on the bacon roll run, obviously.

Unit explains the cohesiveness of the section, moving - as they do - as one, towards the bacon rolls like cheetahs. Normal movement is with the grace and speed of a three-legged pregnant hippo in diver boots.

Members of the COU are often seen working. These are homers for which they paid in cash.

Management inhabits an ivory tower, guarded by unicorns and dragons, into which reality is not allowed to interject, and from which control is never exercised.

The COU is located just to the left of Brigadoon, where the accounting records are stored for ease of misplacing.

Councillors are understood to know of the existence of the COU, but have taken a vow of silence.

The vow of chasitity was abandonded when the COU bu**ered the Council for the umpteenth time.

Anonymous said...

Does this not come under the Mad Barraman's remit.

Flirty Gerty said...

The Council has a Commercial Operations Unit because around 20 years ago, a Tory Gov'mint told councils they couldn't directly employ road-diggers, binmen, plumbers or roadsweepers.

This was supposed to make all Councils contract out their skilled labour and get better value for money.

Instead, lots of Councils set up their own 'companies' using taxpayers' money and their own manual staff, and gave the contracts to themselves. A massive industry grew up around this and successive Gov'mints tried to stop it, with varying success.

The law changed some while ago but lots of Scottish Councils kept their in-house 'companies' because it gave them such a warm electoral feeling. Many English councils gave the contracts to the private sector and instead now get ripped off by foreign companies for emptying their bins and answering their phones.

The Commercial Operations Unit is one such remnant. No-one at the Council knows what to do about it, most of them don't even know what it does, no-one wants to manage it and everyone hopes it won't go bust again. Bit like the UK banking sector really, only a lot more use.

If we got rid of it, someone would have to work out how to get someone to empty the bins, sweep the streets, mend the streetlights, pump the gulleys, clean the schools, fill the potholes, grit the roads and lift the litter. Private sector companies UK-wide have proved that the only way to do that AND make a profit is to cut hours, wages, quality, reliability and staff and manage it all from a multi-national company hundreds of miles away.

So, your choice: a) sack 250 local staff and lose their votes and their family's votes and risk them all going off to the mainland by contracting it all out to some wage-cutting French or Spanish multinational? Or b) hide your head under the pillow and hope to God the next administration will sort it all out?

So far, the choice has been a unanimous b).