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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The future

The economic impact of the current financial crisis on the Council must be very clear to all and sundry.

Bus fares up by 10% is only the thin end of the coming wedge.

The view of Audit Scotland is that public services face the 'worst case scenario' of an 11% cut in budgets.

The Councillors may not like it, but the vast majority of the public do not trust the Council to be fair and effective in their dealings with the problems that are currently being faced, and are going to face the Council.

As an aside, the various 'voluntary' redundancies - many with enhancements (and when was that policy changed?) - that go through an almost unreported sub-committee, or feature in Committees where the goodbyes are bigger, show a determination to cut costs irrespective of strategic direction. (I am not linking to some of these examples, as the individuals are clearly identifiable in many cases, in breach of Council policy. When that breach suits.)

There is a need, a desperate need, for the Council philosophy to change and for there to be a complete change in attitude of Officer and Members as the new rules apply to the public sector.

There are many, many, good people in the Council.  They just need to get past the overpaid twats who are blocking their achievements.  There are many who work very hard in lowly positions, who will happily be sacrificed to save negligible sums.

Scandalously, there is still much that the Council does that could be done much more efficiently and more more effectively by other structures; but where these changes are being blocked for personal or irrational reasons.

The community needs new leadership.

I promised to write a 'manifesto' for some of those who are pressing for change.  Lack of time has meant I can do nothing more than put out bullet points at the moment:
  • Openness in everything the Council does
  • Clear and transparent probity at every level
  • Responsibility for failure to be accepted and imposed at every level
  • Clear direction
  • True public consultation; not a ring-fenced menu of 'options'
  • Effective decision taking and implementation
  • Removal of the apparent bias against local businesses
  • Complete and enhanced openness by Councillors over their interests
Yes, some of that might be considered to be unfair by those currently in the White House, but the public have that perception of what happens there.

For now I want more suggestions about what the public want from the next Council and I will try to build that into a manifesto.  And, if YOU are interested in standing on a platform of 'change', then please contact me in complete confidence and I will try and build a portfolio of independent candidates who might want to work independently together after May 2012.

Stop complaining about the Council and put your head above the parapet.


MadEddieH said...

I'd have to agree with that mini-manifesto personally.

I'd maybe add that they need to outsource some things properly i.e. stop trying to be a bus service / electricians etc
Also reckon they need to have a shakeup of the whole IT side of things - bit more open source software should be used and 21st century communication (by which I mean things like putting the full minutes up of every meeting rather than some PR trip blog on the website)

Anonymous said...

I think your manifesto is a good start. Some suggestions
1. There are too many councillors who belong to a party but stand as independents.

2. Too many contracts have been broken without any thought given to financial penalties and the effects of local people losing their jobs.

3. Too many councillors have their own agenda's, financial / political.

4. Under the financial constraints we are facing UK wide we are seeing
too much political conflict. The White House needs to work better with Edinburgh. Not waisting money on court cases.

5. Mistakes are innevitable but we don't appear to apply lessons learned.

Anonymous said...

Well proposed.

And might I also point out the Council's latest financial report? (The online agenda for September.) Heading for a 2011/2012 6 figure overspend already (despite some undoubted massaging of the figures.)

How critical therefore is a new approach going to be.

Anonymous said...

get rid of Angus Campbell and there goes half the problems straight away,simples!!

ancatdubh said...

There is nothing in the "manifesto" which any reasonable person would disagree with.
We have to face the reality that there is no quick fix for the problems within our (their) council. We need to cope with the situation,ask questions,be a pain in the arse,demand better,praise those who deserve praise,damn those who deserve to be damned, promote on merit only,remove the incompetent.
we should not be scared of the council they should be scared of us.Nothing will change over night, change will take time and concerted effort. Sooner we start the better.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately no matter what manifesto the council elected in 2012 follows they are still going to have to deal with the (major) fallout and consequences of the decisions that have already been taken, and the lack of any clear strategy of the current incumbents. They will then have to take all the hard decisions that the current incumbants are NOT taking.
Given the above I suspect we will see a number of new councillors after the 2012 election if only filling seats of those not standing for re-election (rats and sinking ships spring to mind)
The main problem with your manifesto (including the additional suggestions posted by others) will be that it will put Members and Officials into completely opposite camps.
One wonders just who does run this asylum?

Anonymous said...

It's a good manifesto. Problem is, the way the Comhairle have stored up fiscal problems for future years - and these are now massive fiscal problems - anyone who stands next year is either:

a) Mad
... or ...
b) Corrupt

Transparency will have to come about, and may be enforced by some of the new intake just so they can show how little room for manoevre they've been left with. Remember that the cuts will be far worse than a few percentage; the Comhairle has various legal commitments to things it has to pay out on, no matter what. And there will be no bailout at all from the Scottish Government. Not a chance, as if the Hebrides gets any, other councils will be queuing up.

If you rely on the Comhairle for any kind of critical service e.g. care for the elderly, nursing, then you best have a personal back-up plan.

Anonymous said...


From what I hear from recent escapees from the Council, there are fewer people around but just as much work is expected from them.

Now you can laugh and suggest that much of it is 'make-work', but it's very real to the people concerned who are working ludicrous hours to get it done.

How about campaigning for doing only the work that needs to be done, and away with all of the useless paperwork that every department indulges in - mostly to cover their backs?

Very few of the people at the top these days actually seem to have a life outside of the Council - and they seem to spend most of their time trying to make everyone else's life the same.

Anonymous said...

Angus - I'm sorry but I'm not in a position to comment without knowing your position on umbrellas!