Take some action over grass-cutting

MANY readers may have become bored with stories about the lamentable failure of Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) to efficiently deliver the Wiltshire Council grass-cutting contract.

However, instances of this failure still abound.

This Saturday, a woman rang me demanding to know why the grass in front of County Hall was being cut yet again – yes, on a Saturday – when other areas still had not been cut at all this year.

Forceful questioning has made Cabinet member, John Thomson, publicly apologise for the overall failure of grass cutting this year.

He said BBLP are “drinking in the last chance saloon”.

The new BBLP manager has also apologised to me personally.

However, apologies are not enough - residents want action.

When I pressed this point, Wiltshire Council officers asked me to stop putting on the pressure for at least three weeks to give BBLP time to get back on track.

My response was to query why they were derailed in the first place.

After I made these points, a number of Conservative councillors came up to me saying how bad the grass was in their patch.

When I asked why they didn’t complain, they admitted they were under party orders “not to rock the boat”.

This, I am afraid, is often the reality at County Hall.

Backbench Conservative councillors regularly line up like docile sheep to support Jane Scott’s administration.

If residents remain dissatisfied with BBLP’s attempts at grass cutting, please still contact me and I will maintain the pressure.

Personally I have serious doubts that BBLP are fit for purpose on this aspect of their £24m mega contract.

Jeff Osborn, independent Wiltshire councillor

Comments (6)

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10:56am Fri 23 May 14

gingin says...

It's not just the lack of cuts it's the fact the grass is left to blow around, a complete and utter mess everywhere!

Just for once Wiltshire Council should give a contract on merit and capability to do the job not take the cheapest option!
It's not just the lack of cuts it's the fact the grass is left to blow around, a complete and utter mess everywhere! Just for once Wiltshire Council should give a contract on merit and capability to do the job not take the cheapest option! gingin
  • Score: 11

4:17pm Mon 26 May 14

IanMcL says...

That's what Tories do. It is a pity that they privatise to the lowest offer and then try and defend the poor service of an under funded/poorly managed outfit and keep their own from representing their residents views.

The excuse last year was 'new company and staff - lots of training and inductions to carry out'. That was last year and the promise of jam and short grass tomorrow/next year never comes. This is next year!

To give the remaining WC officers their due, they are fire fighting as well as can be expected without the tools in place by BBLP.
That's what Tories do. It is a pity that they privatise to the lowest offer and then try and defend the poor service of an under funded/poorly managed outfit and keep their own from representing their residents views. The excuse last year was 'new company and staff - lots of training and inductions to carry out'. That was last year and the promise of jam and short grass tomorrow/next year never comes. This is next year! To give the remaining WC officers their due, they are fire fighting as well as can be expected without the tools in place by BBLP. IanMcL
  • Score: 9

6:21am Tue 27 May 14

karlmarx says...

Of course it helps to have a motivated, enthusiastic and determined team.

Monday, May 12, 2014

"Protest At Wiltshire Council On Tuesday 13th May Over Balfour Beatty Refusal To Recognize GMB For 300 Workers On Council Contract

Councillors will be asked to support motion by Councillor Jeff Osborn as Balfour Beatty has anti- union form being one of the biggest blacklisters says GMB.

GMB are staging a protest on Tuesday 13th May outside Wiltshire Council calling on Balfour Beatty to respect their employee’s rights to be represented by a trade union.

Balfour Beatty Living Places are refusing to recognise GMB on the £25m Wiltshire Council contract maintain roads, street cleaning and lighting and grass cutting across the county."

All the employees are doing is standing up for their rights under the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Article 23 section 4

Article 23.
•(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
•(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
•(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
•(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.


Or has the UK regressed back to the dark ages?
Of course it helps to have a motivated, enthusiastic and determined team. Monday, May 12, 2014 "Protest At Wiltshire Council On Tuesday 13th May Over Balfour Beatty Refusal To Recognize GMB For 300 Workers On Council Contract Councillors will be asked to support motion by Councillor Jeff Osborn as Balfour Beatty has anti- union form being one of the biggest blacklisters says GMB. GMB are staging a protest on Tuesday 13th May outside Wiltshire Council calling on Balfour Beatty to respect their employee’s rights to be represented by a trade union. Balfour Beatty Living Places are refusing to recognise GMB on the £25m Wiltshire Council contract maintain roads, street cleaning and lighting and grass cutting across the county." All the employees are doing is standing up for their rights under the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Article 23 section 4 Article 23. •(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. •(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. •(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. •(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests. Or has the UK regressed back to the dark ages? karlmarx
  • Score: 6

5:32pm Tue 27 May 14

IanMcL says...

Dark Ages
Dark Ages IanMcL
  • Score: 2

6:49pm Tue 27 May 14

gingin says...

Cuts and savings are Jane Scot's favourite words. However it doesn't appear to matter if the company awarded the contract are woefully short on ability as long as WC have made the right noise and on paper saved money.

Sometimes money has to be spent to gain the correct result as there can only be so many cuts left to do before we have no standards remaining.

We were promised front line services would be protected. The message should be make sure they are protected by awarding contracts to companies who are able to deliver don't think you have made savings and pat yourself on the back when the result is a crap job!
Cuts and savings are Jane Scot's favourite words. However it doesn't appear to matter if the company awarded the contract are woefully short on ability as long as WC have made the right noise and on paper saved money. Sometimes money has to be spent to gain the correct result as there can only be so many cuts left to do before we have no standards remaining. We were promised front line services would be protected. The message should be make sure they are protected by awarding contracts to companies who are able to deliver don't think you have made savings and pat yourself on the back when the result is a crap job! gingin
  • Score: 4

9:34pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Sarum 007 says...

Having lived in Salisbury for 18 months now , I have never seen such a shambolic, untidy, uncut grass verges gardens and surrounding area in all my life . Having moved from Bournemouth which I have lived for the last 45 years and has won several awards for the best kept gardens I 'm very disappointed with this Council. From what I have seen of the people that live here, they are very proud of their city and so they should be , it is a lovely place to live , but if you want to attract visitors to it you better clean it up as YOU ARE LETTING US DOWN yet again
Having lived in Salisbury for 18 months now , I have never seen such a shambolic, untidy, uncut grass verges gardens and surrounding area in all my life . Having moved from Bournemouth which I have lived for the last 45 years and has won several awards for the best kept gardens I 'm very disappointed with this Council. From what I have seen of the people that live here, they are very proud of their city and so they should be , it is a lovely place to live , but if you want to attract visitors to it you better clean it up as YOU ARE LETTING US DOWN yet again Sarum 007
  • Score: 1

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