This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
62 Comment


THE HERALD FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16 2016


Follow us on Twitter @ceredigherald


RAGING against the


dying of the light seems to be all the rage these days (har har!), but when it boils down to it, I find that I am not so much enraged but persistently irritated by growing older. It does not seem so long


ago that I was wandering across beaches enjoying the feeling of the hot dry sand between my toes and feeling the sun on my once hirsute noggin. Nowadays, it seems as though each grain of sand manages to abrade my poor soles, while the sun not so much rolls about heaven all day but is a fixed arc light, focused on turning my scalp several interesting shades of crimson. Years ago – when I was


young – I often heard the saying that youth is wasted on the young. It was often directed at me by the sort of serial vinegar drinkers and lemon suckers who made it their business to know everyone else’s. I thought that it was a pretty ropey old thing to say then. You might expect that, as the years have passed, my own opinion is now pretty much aligned with those old sourpusses of the past. However, if it wasn’t


for the transitory pleasures of youthful exuberance being dimly remembered as a series of vignettes and


sensations, what would there be to moan about in old age? That’s what makes life worthwhile as one gets older: you can’t take away the right to gripe! Imagine what


life


would be like as an older person if there was nothing to complain about. It is the well thought out and meticulously constructed whinge that is our way of interacting with others and with our environment. Moaning keeps us in the world and relevant to it. Constant complaining


about how things were better in the past condenses down to our own wish to relive it; not least as it is further away from the future than where we are now. The other day I visited


the doctor’s surgery for a routine check-up. To pass the time, I picked up a magazine and was mystified by an interview with a woman, no more than in her mid-sixties, who was banging on about how wholesome music was in the past than it is now. When she was 15, if she


ever was, the music of the moment would have been The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Who, and – not too far away – Jimi Hendrix. Stop imagining the past;


try remembering the future; enjoy the ever-moving now.


Draenog’s risk and reward


£1.988m, readers. That’s a lot of cat food. You can build a lot of relationships


for that sort of money. Whether you actually create any value - let alone ‘added value’ - for that sort of cash is a matter of mystery. Mysterious how, Draenog hears


you gasp.


‘Risk and Reward’ it was called. It turns out that within a gnat’s


turd of £2m of public money funded by you, me, and others, is what Ceredigion County Council splashed out on engaging the curiously capitalised PricewaterhouseCoopers on telling it how it could do stuff. P o s s i b l y


synergistically with other local authorities, possibly in a more cost- efficient way, possibly anything. And Draenog can make that


sweeping generalisation really easily, readers. This is the answer to what


Ceredigion County Council is prepared to disclose about what it spent on PWC’s assistance in its ‘risk and reward’ exercise. ‘Ceredigion County Council has made payments totalling £1,988,212’. We can rest assured that the money


was carefully monitored because: “Officers from the Authority have negotiated some payments where the fee was not agreed… and there have been elements of the project that were not agreed such as the quick win schedule.” But what did PWC actually do for that enormous amount of Kit- e-kat? T h e


Council is not saying:


“We believe that disclosure


of some of the content of the contract document would prejudice the council if it undertakes a similar procurement in the future as the competition may not be fair or for best value because the prices for this exercise will be known. For example, disclosure of


a winning tenderer’s bid to a competitor could lead to the competitor copying elements of the bid in order to win work without actually


having the internal mechanisms (capacity, staffing skills, etc.) to deliver the product or service at the level and price outlined. This could lead to increased instances of projects running over budget or procurement disputes, which would be contrary to the public interest as they would have to be funded from the public purse. “Equally, there is a risk that


disclosure would prejudice the commercial interests of PwC, particularly in relation to their ability to compete fairly in instances where there are for public sector contracts. By disclosing this information, there is an argument that future tenders won’t be competed for fairly as PwC will be at a disadvantage to their competitors who will know PwC’s prices.” Funny that, bearing in mind PWC


has done a fair amount of work for Welsh local authorities on precisely the sort of project that Ceredigion engaged it for and they have not had problems with disclosure there. Makes you wonder what all the secrecy is about. Because what Draenog can tell you, readers, is that the work done by PWC for Ceredigion was so secret and what it was asked to do was so sensitive that the council has redacted every single item upon which PWC advised it. So, we know how much it cost, but


we don’t know what they did. Or even what they were asked to


do. As can be seen on the images here. However, Draenog knows


something about the Freedom of Information Act that someone has overlooked. While the council claims the


information is commercially sensitive, it exceeds the time limit for it to claim


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56