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Apr 21 2017

Susan Says: Harrow Council is in a disgraceful state.

Harrow Council is in a disgraceful state. The administration needs to get to work and take responsibility.

It is nine weeks yesterday since the Cabinet meeting on the 16th February.

This means my Conservative colleagues and I have been waiting nine weeks for the answers to 88 questions which we tabled at that meeting. These questions are regarding core Council business which will affect residents for years to come and are asked to hold the administration to account. You would have thought it reasonable to expect prompt answers from the Labour administration, who are supposed to be running the Council. The administration even gained more time to answer these questions as they cancelled the Cabinet meeting scheduled for the 16th March due to there being “no substantive business for the agenda”. Alas, just like many residents we continue to be disappointed by the Labour administration.

Is the delay because the Labour administration disregards residents and representatives? Or is it simply because they do not know the answers? Whatever the reason, I’m appalled by Labour’s attitude and I’m afraid to say that this is what Harrow can expect whilst Labour are in charge of the Council.

Residents deserve better and Harrow deserves better.

Councillor Susan Hall
Leader of the Conservative Group, Hatch End Ward

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47 comments

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  1. Keith Rookledge

    Could not agree more! Useless phoning, often just rings and also when you get a phone being answered an answer machine is there!

    Do they ring back? NO!!

  2. red mirror

    whilst a political atheist i must agree with your observations susan an utter shambles quite a shower in all (give em hell susan)and your new pr photo is really nice god bless keep up the good fight for harrow.

  3. Bill Stephenson

    Susan Hall is playing very silly party politics. She and her colleagues have full direct access to Council Officers. Most of the 88 questions that she and her colleagues posed could be very easily answered at these briefings. As Leader of the Opposition I ensured that our Labour Spokespersons made full use of this facility and ensured we were fully and regularly briefed. We did not need to ask simple, facile questions as she and her colleagues are doing providing a false charade to distract attention from her own particular failure – not typical of some her colleagues – to make any constructive criticisms and suggestions about how the Council is run.

    During my time as Leader of the Council I found that Susan Hall unlike her predecessors did not make any use of this facility. Cllr Hall spends all her time trying to feature in the Daily Mail, denigrating Harrow and inventing fake campaigns instead of supporting the successes of the Council in for example its good ranking for Children’s Services – not a word of thanks or congratulations to their dedicated workforce. More to the point Cllr Hall has totally failed at any stage in the last three years to explain how she would deal Harrow’s inadequate funding being made even worse by the Government’s new proposals of funding based on business rates. Nor do I hear her protest about the grotesque proposals to cut funding to Harrow’s excellent schools. All par for the course I suppose.

    Bill Stephenson

    1. susan hall

      With the greatest respect Bill, I have faced 3 other Labour Leaders since you were in charge and you really are not in touch with current events.

      I would point out though that it is true a lot of the questions require answers that Labour Politicians should know, thus why does it take more than 9 weeks to put these answers in writing, which is what I want. We are still waiting. If I want answers to questions that enable my group to form Policy decisions and to hold the Labour Administration to account then I am doing my job correctly. Perhaps that is what really irks you.

      I would love to tell the readers how many millions the Government have given the Council for our Schools, unfortunately the administration have not yet confirmed the answer to that question. I would love to tell the residents and readers of iHarrow just how the Labour Administration decided to charge the outrageous £75 for our brown bin collection but we still do not have sight of a full business case – we have been waiting months for that and I doubt that one exists. We are kept away from decisions and are not being briefed on major projects until they are about to be signed. Thus I require answers in writing, that way I can keep track of what we are, or are not being told.

      This Council is heading for a financial nightmare in my view. All your colleagues do is borrow, borrow, borrow. We are told another 350 million is to be borrowed. Its easy I suppose when the borrowing costs will be paid by the taxpayers, its easy to spend other peoples money.

      Thankfully the Kenton East residents are beginning to see what is really going on and we are humbled and grateful that they have put their trust in the first Conservative Councillor ever to be voted in there, Nitesh Hirani will be part of our team and will work tirelessly for his residents.

      1. red mirror

        going to be an exciting summer susan i must say though that i am very sceptical as to why theresa may has called for this snap election although the answer i found most convincing is on http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk please check this sights critique it is most enlightening and knowing your antecedents most relevant.

      2. April Showers

        Nice one Susan. That’s telling you, BS. I just don’t think anyone believes anything you say, it’s total BS. Kenton voters have woken up and kick-started the rejection and ejection of Lousy Labour. Well done Kenton.

        1. Wealdstone Warrior

          Indeed, Kenton East is the first of many. Residents of Harrow are fed up of the lousy service the Council provides, the bin tax and increased council tax. Harrow Labour sealed their own fate with the recent council tax increase.

      3. Someonewhocares

        Clearly you are just up to ‘your usual mischief’ Susan but I would not personally have grouped together Educational Funding and Brown Bins in the same paragraph. However if you DO ask Lockwood and his cronies about the first (important) one DO you get answers?

        Many OTHER Councils are finding it (increasingly) necessary to borrow due to CENTRAL Government cuts of course; It’s also called ‘indirect taxation’ as yes, ultimately, WE pay (again)!

    2. Barry Macleod-Cullinane

      Bill Stephenson, I’ve repeatedly asked for the business case for the garden waste collection arrangements at Cabinet and in Scrutiny meetings – to no avail.

      One would have expected that for something so important (financially and service wise) it would have taken a moment to email me a copy of something that should have been drawn up BEFORE the project started. Indeed, the council’s own project management procedures (a variant of the Government’s PRINCE2 system) requires a business case to be developed as part of the project’s set-up. Months and months have gone by and still nothing.

      The delay is such that I’m led to wonder whether a business case does actually exist. Indeed, my doubt that it does is given greater credibility by the fact that the Council Leader has publicly announced that business cases are only drawn-up AFTER they’re asked for by the Opposition!

      This basic failure to manage significant projects has much wider implications both for the council’s finances (and our residents’ taxes) and the services that it provides; a failure to control costs properly leads to more and greater cuts to balance the budget.

      With all this, is it any wonder that Labour-run Harrow Council is in all sorts of problems? Bill, even your administration wasn’t as tragically bad as this one.

  4. Concerned Harrovian

    Keith Rookledge

    Antonio Vivaldi must be turning in his grave. Residents listen to his music as they wait endlessly for the Civic Centre telephones to be answered. Little did this composer know that residents would come to dislike his music because of the endless waits on the ‘phones,.

    When you do get through the outcome is less than satisfactory.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Keith/CH: Please note there is a Customer Services Director (Cutler) listed below in:-

      http://www.harrow.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/9355/senior_management_structure

  5. Sonoo Malkani

    Really exasperating to have to wait for more than twenty minutes to try and get through to the Gardening/Environment Services.Do they really have man-power?One begins to wonder when this happens over and over again.I was most upset to personally experience the wrath of the member with a clipboard in his hand accompanying the Garden Refuse truck the day before.He simply walked up to my drive where I was hoping to have my bin emptied only to be told very rudely after opening the lid that it had a small piece of plastic and two tiny empty garden pots so it was contaminated.I was shocked to see those items in it,having carefully placed my garden refuse in the bin overnight.

    Seems like some passerby had stuck those items into it making it not fit for emptying.Very upset having paid for the service for the whole year.More so by the aggressive attitude of the man in charge.Never seen anything like it in my 47 years in Harrow.

    I apologised at once and removed the offending items and placed them in the adjacent green bin but the guy was obviously in a foul mood and threw a tantrum.That was so unnecessary.He obviously does not like the job he is doing and seemed to enjoy venting his spleen on pensioners and other hapless folk.Hope I NEVER see him again.

    I went inside very upset and called Harrow Council to report what had happened but then was made to wait twenty minutes twice without getting through.Is this what we are paying for?

    Please don’t employ people who obviously feel the job sucks!

    1. Someonewhocares

      The persistent “contamination” here of course is actually the attitude of many Council Workers who have failed to grasp the simple basic issue that WE are actually their Employers?

      Perhaps the man with the clipboard was ‘having a bad day’ but that was not your fault; You should have asked his name (or just noted the time/day/etc) and then complained to the appropriate ‘Corporate/Divisional’ DIRECTOR as below (here Baxter):

      http://www.harrow.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/9355/senior_management_structure

      PS: I suspect that the ‘contamination’ within those individuals starts across the top line….
      How is it we virtually never hear from them, do £100K+ salaries just ‘isolate’ them all?

      1. Wealdstone Warrior

        Tom McCourt is higher up the food chain than Simon Baxter. Same Tom McCourt from 70’s skinhead band the 4skins and also known as the Hackney bin snooper. Ever since he took over the bin situation and fly tipping has been worse than ever.

    2. red mirror

      sonoo come come in your own previous words let us all be nice to each other nothing to get hung about all is wonderful oh i see now you have had a little taste of reality you feel justified in being negative and judgemental and complaining well as i said life is a holistic experience we cannot cherry pick all that we encounter try not to be judgemental integrate maybe the guy had been to fifty difficult customers before yourself please try and see it from the other side remember never judge a man unless you have walked a mile in his shoes god bless smile.

  6. Bill Stephenson

    Dear Barry and Susan

    Neither of you have changed much since I was a Cllr and I have been watching you carefully attending Cabinet and Council meetings and talking to my Labour colleagues. Unlike some of your Conservative colleagues who want to work constructively with the Administration making both positive and evidence based criticisms and suggestions as an Opposition should, you oppose just for opposition’s sake and my goodness it shows. Neither of you have addressed my point about having briefings with the relevant officers who have a statutory duty to provide you with information and and remain civil service like strictly politically neutral. You chose albeit only close to election time to ask a ridiculous number of facile questions which an officer briefing could provide you with all the information you require. Pointless political showcasing just shows everyone how little you are genuinely concerned about the unsustainable cuts being imposed by the Government on local Councils. These concerns are being expressed by senior politicians both Tory and Labour about social care, education, air pollution, welfare benefits, the NHS … . You name it. Your uncaring and party political posturing does neither of you any credit, I am afraid.

    1. red mirror

      well said mr stephenson here here sir now lets hear a point by point refutation of your observations by cllrs hall macleod .

    2. susan hall

      To address your specific point about briefings Bill, we do have them. Unfortunately one of the Exec Directors has cancelled 4 meetings with me since January. You also miss the point that I want things in writing. We were never told by officers that one Labour Councillor had been sent to New Zealand via Australia for a half day seminar, and that it was paid for,(not by the Labour Councillor) it emerged through one of our many questions. I wonder what else will emerge if we ever receive answers to our questions that you don’t seem to think we should ask-what happened to transparency? We have asked lots of extra questions as things are falling apart in Harrow Council and this has been ramped up for the past 9 months-when there were no elections in sight! When your Labour lot stop wasting money then perhaps we will look at so called cuts but meanwhile we will continue to ask questions and we will expect answers, holding the Labour administration (your Colleagues) to account is our job

      1. Someonewhocares

        Sorry to cut in here but these REAL cuts were/are a matter of (very public/national) record and were imposed by CENTRAL Government/DCLG etc (as you most certainly know)

        – And to imply you will only accept this (fact) ‘when the Council stop wasting money’ is the ultimate cop-out! You were once given the chance to present an Alternative Budget but failed to do so, why ? (“Opposition for the sake of Opposition” is right: What about some Constructive Criticism for a change?).

        PS: Please stop going on about Brown Bins; Yes, you were right and it is also doubtful that any viable Business Plan exists but there are much bigger issues to address now!

        1. Wealdstone Warrior

          Anyone who works in the public sector dealing with public money, knows dam well that a business plan needs to exist before decisions are made. Why should people have to pay more tax for brown bins on top of council tax, no wonder people are fly tipping.

      2. red mirror

        susan do you really have the gall to spout off about transparency ?wow knowing your mo the very last thing i can imagine you championing is transparency i am restrained from saying what i know and would love to reveal but this isnt the only forum and i am tenacious if nothing else god bless you it is never too late to find redemption.

  7. Barry Macleod-Cullinane

    Bill, except if you’d been paying attention, we have highlighted how senior officers have told us that they were instructed NOT to brief us by the administration despite, as you recognise, their statutory duty to do so.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Interesting B M-C, but could you explain why – if that is true – why these same Officers did not state it was their *Statutory Duty* to respond to such questions and thence provide answers? (And ‘Name Names’ – if you can – it’s important to residents.) Similarly if Officers are doing this they would surely be liable to legal action – so what was Hugh Peart’s take on all this when you challenged him on it?

      1. Someonewhocares

        Ah, now we are getting near the truth, as per Susan’s comments (at 6.13 above)….

        It seems you CAN get briefings, but you don’t like it because you do not get answers IN WRITING!

        – With respect, that’s something different than you have (strongly) implied; Naughty!

        1. red mirror

          the silence from susan is deafening .

        2. Bill Stephenson

          Not naughty. Simply typical of the distortions thyat come from that quarter.

  8. Bill Stephenson

    Firstly, Susan your unwarranted slurs on Cllr Anne Whitehead’s visit to Australia are hitting the lowest of the low. Cllr Whitehead in conjunction with Bernie Flaherty, the Council Officer in overall charge of Social Care, have been working in conjunction with IBM to pioneer a new App to help elderly people access service providers to be paid from their Personal Budgets or indeed out of their own pockets. This App will be sold world wide by IBM with Harrow Council obtaining a share of the profits amounting to a very large sum of money which will help offset the ever grinding cuts in funding to local councils and to Harrow in particular. As Cllr Whitehaed has been key in this development IBM asked her to help introduce and sell this App in Australia with all expenses paid by IBM but no honorarium. Cllr Whitehead gave a keynote speech at a conference organised on this matter and attended all the other sessions of the conference bringing back information knowledge to further the Council’s work. She also spent her time morning, noon and night talking and networking with prospective users and clients. Cllr Whitehead has not been paid a penny for this groundbreaking work other than a small Portfolio Holder’s Assistant’s payment. She has not only helped develop a product which will make it much easier for the elderly to access the services they need but has helped generate a significant sum of money for the Council. I call that real dedication and service. I hope Cllr Hall however grudgingly will acknowledge this.

    As a historical note it was Tory Administration which first introduced and promoted personal budgets in Harrow. Labour in Opposition supported and made constructive suggestions at the time – sensible Opposition – and then ion power continued this so that Harrow is now the Leading Local Authority in the country for Personal Budgets. I am sure Cllr Hall knew all this but just wanted to continue to denigrate everything in sight. I can say that we were not like that in opposition and I know from many members of her own Conservative Group that they feel very uncomfortable with this continual confrontational style. But I fear nothing will change.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Can I draw your attention to another thread on here Bill S.cocerning Cllr Whitehead’s trip to the other side of the world? Unfortunately the story may have been more complicated than you have indicated and incidentally she did not actually give a ‘Keynote’ speech, she “supported” IBM with a lunchtime chat. As indeed did they “support” her in her detour to Oz!

      – But here’e the *real^ question now (of course); It seems that IBM and LBH have a Joint Venture involving a (prototype) App, and yet residents are apparently not aware of this? Why not? Did we miss the relevant PR statement last year maybe?

      1. Someonewhocares

        Found a Press Release, no (direct) mention of any profit sharing (or when) though:

        http://www.harrow.gov.uk/news/article/397/ibm_and_harrow_council_to_bring_watson_care_manager_to_individuals_in_the_uk

        What i do (still) see is a new (and possibly) high-risk ‘Cognitive Computing’ (AI) Project;
        Again so when can we expect results/profits?

        1. Someonewhocares

          And for anyone wondering what this is all about see:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPXCF5e1_HI

          I would not normally say this about YouTube but read the comments too!

          It amazes me that a Labour Council would put this much control out into the Private Sector.
          “IBM think this is the way forward”, so that’s OK then ! Let’s all hope they are right.

          Yes, Lockwood, others *are* watching – and will learn (possibly from LBH’s mistake/s!)

          1. Someonewhocares

            There is a lot on the interweb about this ‘prototype’ system’: So much so now that I really can’t see why it would be necessary to travel to NZ just to chat about it:

            http://www.wired.co.uk/article/ibm-doctors-digital-assistant

            PS: When will AW be joining IBM then?

          2. red mirror

            someone this introduction of watson ai ibm frankenstein tech should scare the living crap out of every body it is far from benevolent and yes i smell tyranny and conspiracy here the history of ibm is not a rosy one as i have mentioned in the past .Big brother is coming via tech and cultural marxism feminised men apologists and the deliberate eradication of racial identity i only hope that marine la pen wins in france and perhaps a tide of reason and sanity will cross the channel we could certainly do with a healthy dose of liberty equality fraternity good job highlighting the subject someone.

      2. Wealdstone Warrior

        For once I agree with you on this Someonewhocares. I read AW attended a workshop for around an hour or so, not a key note speech, then she went off on a jolly to visit her family all paid for by IBM. She did need to go, she could have easily done this via Skype. Look at that French president candidate who spoke to several audiences in different areas at the same time via a hologram recently.

        I do worry about this whole Watson app thingy, aimed at elderly people. Do the elderly people this app is aimed at have access to the internet in their own homes? It concerns me how much data this program is collecting and what it has access to.

        How much money is LBH getting from the revenue of this prototype?

  9. April Showers

    The BS just keeps on coming from BS. We don’t believe anything you or your colleagues say any more BS. Why doesn’t the freebie-loving Cllr explain exactly what happened on this trip, probably too busy planning the next jolly.

    Tories are not perfect but Labour is the pits. Susan and co, prepare for office.

    1. Someonewhocares

      April S:Well at least Bill S. has *tried* to explain AW’s activities. You are absolutely right about her failure to explain -anything- though.

      Bill S: It was interesting to note that the FOI Request about AW’s trip revealed that it cost LBH ‘nothing’, but that she ‘did not submit an expense claim to IBM’ either. Ah, so did IBM pay her trip costs *directly* then? (If so this is ‘not good’ either as it could most definitely constitute a ‘Conflict of Interest’ issue).

      -If LBH really is indulging in “pioneering/breakthrough” joint development activities with IBM (although frankly there is very little to show for it) then why not be open about it? Are we all to expect a ‘Big Positive Announcement’ soon?

      -Similarly, and regardless of (possible) over-sensitivity to all the questions from The Opposition (Susan/Barry) can you see how this is perceived by residents now?

      The lack of transparency here means it could -understandably- just be seen as “ill-conceived”, “LBH ‘gambling’ with residents’ money” and so on…

      Bear in mind that IBM are not really known for ‘sharing profits’ as you described. Neither is LBH known for IT excellence either so you need to understand our scepticism here.

      So, and several months on: What has happened to “LBH’s” Watson project so far?

      Ok AW, time for some more PR! Unless you really do think it is fine to indulge in high-value semi-private projects on behalf of LBH and yet not keep us all regularly (and directly) informed (as it is your duty as Councillor to do! To instead rely on Bill S’s openness as you have done here is not acceptable.

      1. susan hall

        This is the sort of thing we are complaining about. We, as a significant sized opposition, were not told about this until the week it was agreed yet it had been in discussion for months. It was indicated to us by senior officers that the Labour administration had not wanted us to know. Bill Stephenson is no longer in the loop and only hears part of things from his group. I am trying to obtain details of the trip the Labour Councillor had but am still waiting for answers. We need to know because the cost was sizeable and we are waiting for confirmation on exactly who went, how much it cost and exactly how long the trip was bearing in mind she was only required, I think, for half a day.

        1. Someonewhocares

          It is easy to see the source or your frustration Susan: Obviously there is a distinct possibility that your (and Barry’s) ‘ferreting’ may ultimately uncover some similarly ‘unsavoury financial facts’ of course – so can I suggest you just keep it up?!

          Unfortunately I fully expect that AW has (by now) asked Bill S. not to reply further on here although we should respect that he did his best to reply. As you may have noted on the previous (related) thread there was a general view that AW was (more or less) ‘on a jolly’ anyway as there was no Field Report evident from her of course. No doubt – if she is reading this – she is making remarks like “I won’t dignify these (valid) questions with a response”?

          1. Someonewhocares

            PS: Is *this* AW?:-

            https://www.facebook.com/IBMNewZealand/posts/1202181033173962

            And for anyone wondering ‘what this is all about’:

            http://www.iharrow.com/council/ibms-sweetener-for-harrow-councillor-anne-whitehead/

            And (on reflection) I note that *I* (and Bill S.) have posted up much more information about LBH/Watson in the Public Domain now than AW has! Do you think IBM should pay us an Honorarium?

          2. Bill Stephenson

            Far from substituting for human care the App is actually adding and complementing it by allowing elderly and vulnerable more choice by using it with their family and carers. Nothing is privatised. It is an App which local councils can buy or not as they wish and it is run as a service by the Council. By the way not all elderly people are incomputerate but I do agree quite a few are.

          3. Bill Stephenson

            Unfortunately I fully expect that AW has (by now) asked Bill S. not to reply further on here although we should respect that he did his best to reply. As you may have noted on the previous (related) thread there was a general view that AW was (more or less) ‘on a jolly’ anyway as there was no Field Report evident from her of course. No doubt – if she is reading this – she is making remarks like “I won’t dignify these (valid) questions with a response”?

            Cllr Whitehead has not asked any such thing ofme. If you want to believe her trip was a ‘jolly’ that is up to you but it is totally untrue. IBM paid for the trip and the Council paid nothing at all. Cllr Whitehead paid all daily expenses out of her own pocket. This devaluation and denigration of what Cllrs do by phoney /fake innuendo does a great disservice to everyone of whatever political persuasion who is involved in Local Government. Of my own volition I will stop now as I have said all I think that needs to be said and I am simply repeating myself. As one of your correspondents pointed out we should be campaigning cross-party against the cuts and for more resources for Local Government which is by and way the most efficient part of the Public Sector – consider all the billions of pounds wasted by National Government, for example, in defence and IT procurement.

          4. Someonewhocares

            Well Bill as we have established (and also mentioned a few times now) AW was required only briefly and yet went on a 13-day *Jaunt* (and that is not ‘working night and day’); I would be really very interested to learn what ‘added value’ AW has provided in order to improve/customise/extend this App. too as it already looks like a finished application to us. It is just a “smart database” after all.

            And any/all “innuendo” is inevitable and is a direct result of lack of information from AW & Co. Similarly if you don’t provide full/sufficient details (as any Cllr, should) there is a good chance that residents will -instead- guess the facts. It is a simple effect of human nature, surely you can relate to and understand that?

            If AW *has* read all this she/PR should get to work ASAP on some kind of proper explanation (but most probably considers this ‘beneath her’ or she would already have done this). If she doesn’t ‘bother’ then she simply does not deserve to be a Cllr. Perhaps IBM can now employ her as an App. Developer or Sales/Marketing Executive instead?

            Consider this: We tend to see you (or at least the Administration) as effectively The Board of a Corporation and we residents are the Shareholders, simply asking -as is reasonable- what you are doing…. and instead of proper answers are simply meeting prevarication.

            Incidentally if Susan & Co. took such an unqualified ill-defined (and frankly rather secretive) risk with Council monies rest assured we would be “all over that” too!

        2. Bill Stephenson

          Cllr Hall is all knowing. I am in fact ‘in the loop’ on this matter and I do think she should pay credit to Cllr Whitehead for her initiative in helping to develop and promote this exciting new App to help the elderly to spend their Personal Budgets wisely and which will bring in significant financial returns to the Council.

          1. Wealdstone Warrior

            BS what has Cllr Whitehead, resident of Pinner done for the residents of Wealdstone lately? After all she is one of the elected Cllrs for Wealdstone. Instead of swanning off to New Zealand she should be dealing with the problems in Wealdstone. Lets hope the voters see sense and vote her out next year. This whole IBM thing is murky.

            As for anyone asking why Susan needs to get things in writing, she is right to do so. Ever had a verbal conversation in the workplace, only for that same person to deny the conversation took place.

  10. Someonewhocares

    BS: Your information is helpful Bill but then why can’t we just read about all this on the Council Web site? That’s an IT ‘Application’ that would be beneficial to ALL residents, and RIGHT NOW too!

    -Or perhaps AW does believe her *Commercial* activities really are ‘none of our business’ and that is why she is so non-committal? Or that if she enters LBH into some premature ‘guinea pig’ relationship with IBM is then effectively unanswerable for her actions? (That is how it seems anyway now, particularly once we all realised she went off to Oz/NZ -for a ’13 day Conference’ – in order, it seems, to help IBM with their Marketing activities).

    How proud the residents of Wealdstone must be of AW now – particularly all those who would probably also be appalled once they also know the facts (as they are entitled to); I mean -really- Oz/NZ / What’s next ? Trips off to Cambridge Mass (Watson HQ) presumably whilst Wealdstone Ward just goes (further) to Hell?

    Being very serious though do you and the Administration actually understand the implications of what you have done with this project (and frankly it seems it is a ‘vanity’ project)? In fact all you are really doing is removing HUMAN care and replacing it with an iPhone App. delivered via IBM and APPLE. This does NOT seem very caring from a Labour Administration, even using the (REAL) cuts as an excuse to do this! Did you all really learn so little from the whole NHS privatisation mess? Or, as we now also suspect did you even consider the greater implications of indulging in this so-called ‘pioneering’ App. route? It should most certainly have been presented and debated further with ALL interested parties (and yes, in a democracy that *does* include residents).

    PS: ‘Watson’ is simply a Cognitive Computing (aka Machine Learning) system; It ‘learns’ the habits of Users and adapts accordingly, not unlike the long-established Chess-Playing computers; Generally labelled as an aspect of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ so it ‘sounds clever’ but (ultimately) at what REAL cost? (And not just financially but Control and Personal Privacy)

    Don’t get me wrong, technology can be extremely useful; But once we think it can *replace everything* we’re truly lost….

    1. Someonewhocares

      No (detailed) response to that BS so consider this too:

      We (The People) were not impressed by the mess made of the (-dare I say it ?-) whole ‘Brown Bin’ fiasco: Something that should have been costed/considered properly as it was (ostensibly) totally under LBH controls. How much confidence do you think we now have then with the LBH/IBM tie-up if only IBM have the commercial smarts to drive it? See the problem?

  11. April Showers

    Finally, no more BS from BS. SWC – good work, but I fear it may be in vain as one defining feature of Labour is that they believe they are always right and everyone else is wrong. Susie, please make sure you kick this hopeless bunch of clowns out of office next year.

    1. Someonewhocares

      Thanks April S. but I really *did” hope we would get some more meaningful answers on all this…..

      Maybe a Summary would help; We asked questions, expected AW would (albeit indignantly) go into ‘Damage Limitation’ mode and *directly* provide additional information – and yet she *still* did not (as yet) do this…. And if it does not appear soon is a sure sign of misplaced arrogance as lack of response most probably is actual proof you *can’t* actually justify the unjustifiable?

      In the meantime (and with still quite an absence of facts/details) parody and ridicule is all we can work with, so then maybe *this* then best represents IBM’s ‘Watson’ Vision Of LBH in the future?:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBo5Xa61FAo

      -And maybe that really is the best way to get answers from the Council (at least it might be if the little robot here does not go into full Civic Center mode and make us wait 20 minutes before giving up or alternatively simply just ignore the questions)?

      -And it is also interesting that in that ‘Engagement Advisor’ simulation within the human there looks a bit like Cllr. Barry Kendler, so maybe he now also works for IBM too?

      Final notes/chance for any of the Administration (still) reading this…

      There is no ‘innuendo’ here (either) but there *is* now an increased perception strong that IBM have simply duped LBH; Hopefully this is completely wrong

      -Talk with IBM and maybe they can make some suggestions about the wholly ineffective way you have responded to our concerns and how best to ‘heal’ this; The link for this blog will be sent to them anyway so that they can see how we (aka The Paying Public) really feel about this ‘Joint Venture’ nonsence too. Perhaps we should also send it on to all these other ‘target’ Councils before they make the same mistake/s?

      Instead of blaming Susan and Co. (ie “Oh look, she’s whipping up residents into a frenzy again !”) just consider the alternative; *TRANSPARENCY*; You Know It Makes Sense!

      (Special note for Bill S; Thanks again for trying to clarify, but it’s a great pity the ‘New Guard’ really *do not* appear to have the same values/standards/etc that the Old Guard once did)

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