Has BT gained too much influence in local government?
The ditching of Suffolk’s New Strategic Direction last week by the new county council leader, Mark Bee, raises the question of whether BT has gained too much influence in local government.
One BT director, Max Wide, has played a central role in developing the Suffolk plan and another controversial and derided scheme to change the face of a local authority, Barnet’s easyCouncil scheme.
The programme provides “a platform for BTG’s sales activities with the largest contract opportunities across the UK”.
The Vital Visionaries are invited to two week-long visits to top US universities where they attend sessions on such topics as “Leadership in the public sector”, “Competing on the edge: strategy and cultural chaos”, and “Engaging the citizen”.
The first visit is to Boston for MIT and Harvard and starts with a cruise and dinner. The second is to San Francisco where the events are at Stanford and Berkley. Again the programme looks tough but there is light relief with a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train.
My comment: Wine train or gravy train? I am sure I read somewhere that Andrea Hill went to America at BTs invitation and expense, however, that contradicts what BT say, “Given the Public Sector rules on acceptance of hospitality and the reputation and benefits of the programme, clients pay their own flights and accommodation costs.”. So who is right and has Suffolk County Council scrutiny committee investigated a possible breach of rules regarding the acceptance of hospitality? Especially since BT state "the programme provides “a platform for BTG’s sales activities with the largest contract opportunities across the UK”. [My emphasis]
Read the full story from the source Andrew Grant-Adamson
Read more about Barnet Council's involvement on Broken Barnet
Read all articles about Suffolk County Council or all articles about Barnet Council on this blog
UPDATE 1st June 2011: I decided to submit a Freedom of Information request to Suffolk County Council regarding scrutiny of their CEO's American Trip.