Monday, February 22, 2010

Business Link Hampshire – Prediction Confirmed, Business Assistance and Advice Limited and Difficult to Obtain

Just before going out I ‘phoned Sarah at Business Link Hampshire about my appointment, with Jenny Oakley, at 10.45 a.m. on Tuesday 23rd February at the Emsworth Pastoral Centre, as I had not received an E-mail giving the location of the Pastoral centre, as promised, or confirming the appointment, though I had already realised, discovered, that the Pastoral Centre was at a church in the Centre of Emsworth. Someone by the name of Mark answered and said that Sarah had just picked up the ‘phone to speak to someone else.

I used the opportunity to double check on surnames, partly in order to have a closer look at my E-mails to see if I had missed anything. Mark advised me that Sarah’s surname was Anderson and it transpired that his was Bartlett. I asked if he was any relation, meaning to David Bartlett, Business director of Business Link Hampshire, but Mark said he was not any relation, though commented that “everybody asks that”, which was not really surprising..

I had known David Bartlett since the late 1990s, when he was at many meetings I attended, in Hampshire, while setting up my Technology Diversification Centre project as well as many meetings to do with the project, to which he was invited, also a member of the Board of Havant Borough Partnership to which my project was given, only for Havant Borough partnership to wreck it and the cover-up to ensue; the people of Havant are still unaware of having had their money (up to £1m at today’s prices, quite possibly more) used to pay back the money defrauded from Europe via the Government Office, though that was not just my project that was used to do that, as confirmed by the Well-Wisher, the former senior Havant Borough Council Officer, after retirement, though I had been aware of for other reasons, including “non-charge invoices”, to claims for matched funding, being requested at meetings, by the people to whom my project was given.

In the early 2000s I was “blanked” by Business Link Hampshire; it was as a Business Banker who used the term, though at the same meeting conceded that my non engineering interest were definitely viable as a business, a view which was later confirmed by others but never received any support from Business Link Hampshire. In 2004 I approached Business Link Sussex for help and they agreed my non-engineering interest were worth a very great deal, more than my engineering career. While Business Link Sussex were being very helpful, David Bartlett contacted me to suggest that I come back to Hampshire. I made the mistake of doing so; it saved me a great deal of travelling but my time and resources were simply wasted; I was only allowed to meet with David Bartlett, none of the more knowledgeable, appropriate, people with whom I requested to have discussions, ostensibly because his time was free and other peoples’ time would be expensive, and I progressed absolutely nowhere. So it remained for many years.

Just before I was due to leave for my appointment, the ‘phone rang; it was Sarah Anderson, of Business Link Hampshire, calling me back after my conversation with Mark Bartlett.

Sarah told me that my appointment with Jenney Oakley at Emsworth Pastoral Centre on 23rd February had been cancelled. They had, obviously, caught up with the fact that I had met Jenny Oakley before, in 2008 and, it seems, that I had problems with Business Link Hampshire before. According to my contemporaneous notes, which I usually try to make during such telephone conversations, it was said, had been said, that I had made a formal complaint against Jenny Oakley, which incensed me, somewhat, as it was totally untrue, though someone with Business Link Hampshire seems to have been putting several untruths about in relation to myself and Business Link Hampshire, in relation to other matters, so why not a supposed, manufactured, complaint as well.

Apparently, Jenny Oakley had said our previous meeting did not go well. That is entirely true, it amounted to a wasted one and a half hours. I had been invited to a one-to-one meeting and had accepted, primarily out of curiosity.

While I was at a networking meeting, arranged by Southern Entrepreneurs, some time before the meeting with Jenny Oakley, I mentioned the coming meeting to an experienced Hampshire businesswoman, who I had previously met. Her reaction was simply to look downwards and shake her head. That had nothing to do with Jenny Oakley, simply the appalling reputation that Business Link Hampshire had at the time, as well as for many years previously and, as yet, it does not seem to have improved. I had expected the meeting to be a waste of time, as someone within Business Link Hampshire has been working against me for years, though is far to cowardly to come out into the open. I fully expected the meeting to be a complete waste of time, as it was, though also recognised that Jenny Oakley was in a totally invidious position and that, left to her own devices, the outcome would have been different, quite possibly very different. I have more than enough experience of the machinations within industry and business not to be aware of such circumstances.

The 2008 meeting “not going well” was no reason, or excuse, for Jenny Oakley not to get back to me, in some form at least, though, as I have written, I fully recognise the difficulty of her position; hence my reaction to the suggestion that I had made a formal complaint against Jenny Oakley. As the underlying situation was none of her doing that would have been totally unfair. Similarly, the “block” and machinations being at a higher level than her would also have made it unfair. Besides, I made a formal complaint against Business Link Hampshire back in the early 2000s, probably during the years it was known as Business Link Wessex, as I recall. (I may have time to check and come back to edit this later.)

The complaint, against Business Link Hampshire/Wessex, was to Glen Atherfold, then of the Small Business Service. That was when I learned that a formal investigation into a Business Link amounts to, essentially, approaching the Business Link concerned on the basis, “Have you done anything wrong?”, “No?”, “Good, that’s all right then,” investigation over, case closed. Like other Public Bodies and Publically funded bodies, including Local Government, Business Links are a law unto themselves, though, probably, not, unlike at least some Local Government, above the law.

In the event, I told Sarah that I would like to see the complaint that I was supposed to have made against Jenny Oakley. I mentioned the letter I had received from Jonathan Morris, the Chief Executive of Business Link Hampshire, principally about moving information to SEEDA, the South east England Development Agency, under which the local business Links now come, and, in passing, mentioning my request never to be contacted by Business Link Hampshire again, something I had never done and something clearly generated within Business Link Hampshire itself.

As far as the latest foray is concerned, I came across the Business Link people, Susan Obbard and Madeleine Morton, at the Chamber of Commerce Meeting, as described in my previous Blog entry (Business Link Hampshire – A Prediction) and on the January 2010 page of my Journal Web Site. That is also why I was so careful to spend time talking to them, ask questions and make notes of exactly what I was entitled to receive in terms of business advice and support from Business Link Hampshire. The intention was to go along with it as far as the person near the top controlling these matters would allow, once they, or someone close to them, found out and to chronicle developments and my experiences on the Internet. What I had intended to do was to write the detail of the encounters in, more or less, inverse proportion to the how positive my encounters with Business Link Hampshire turned out to be and the amount of help received. If it developed well, what I wrote would be in generalities, if it went poorly, there would be more detail. In part that would be because, if it went well, I would be more occupied in following up Business Link Hampshire’s leads, as well as seeing no great sense in publicising details for those involved with the cover up and trying to prevent me getting into the public domain to come across.

At some stage Sarah Anderson suggested that I might like to talk to Debra Wyatt, who, when I asked about her position within Business Link Hampshire, was advised that she occupied the position of Director of Operations. It is strange that I am never directed to the person pulling the negative strings, the coward hiding in the background.

Sarah said it had been decided that a telephone consultation would be better; never mind what the customer wants, though this is a publicly funded organisation after all, the raison d’être is the customer in theory, though not in practice.

I decided I would go along with the suggestion and see what happened, though, having already discussed the Business Link Hampshire block on me, discrimination against me at Borough Councillor and County Councillor level, as well as with Business Link South East (outside Hampshire) and others, I would be letting them know how I was getting on, as well as blogging events.

The conversation with Sarah Anderson made me a little late for an appointment, though I arrived to find out that it had been cancelled anyway, due to illness, though no-one had called me to say so. As a result, I returned home, earlier than expected and, soon afterwards, went through my E-mails trying to find the E-mail Sarah said she sent me on 4th February. I could find nothing under Business Link Hampshire, either in the main folder, the Business Link Hampshire folder, the old Business Link Wessex folder, or the Junk E-mail folder, under either “Business Link”, “Sarah”, or “Anderson”.

As with many other organisations, I have no doubt that the majority of people at Business Link Hampshire are decent, helpful, capable people; the problem, as ever, comes when there is a senior person, or two, or three, or, very occasionally, more, with their own agenda.

That does not detract from the fact that Business Link Hampshire have contributed mightily to preventing me bringing tens of millions of Pounds worth of engineering business to Hampshire as well as tens to hundreds of millions of Pounds worth of tourism business to Hampshire, Sussex, Essex, etc. I am quite prepared to discuss that in even more public venus than this Blog; the person hiding within Business Link Hampshire would not be so prepared, though that person is not alone.

On Tuesday 23rd February, I am due to receive a ‘phone call from Nick Keogh, of Business Link Hampshire. We shall just have to see holding my breath. That has nothing to do with Nick Keogh, though has everything to do with the person manipulating matters behind the scenes.

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