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

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fuel discount

It would be utterly churlish not to welcome the five pence per litre discount on fuel that has been announced  today.


Welcome as it may be, it is very difficult to understand how it is going to be delivered in an effective manner, and five pence per litre will not go a huge way towards resolving the enormous price differential between the islands and the mainland.

What particularly annoys me is the modesty of aspiration of the various political parties seeking to provide a minor plaster instead of trying to solve the gaping wound that is the vicious circle of rural depopulation.

Like many of the residents of the islands, I remain to be convinced that we will actually see a narrowing of the price differential by anywhere near the five pence, and I think the devil in the detail will be the publication of the manual for the scheme which I - and many others -  will no doubt be reading in great detail.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Audit Scotland and the CPP

"The Community Planning Partnership lacks leadership and direction."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Audit Scotland and the Councillors

Just what the Councillors don't want to see in the months leading up to the elections....

"The Councillors need to be more involved in the decision making process"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Audit Scotland

When undertaking a review of Council services, Audit Scotland use a series of general terms to establish the level at which the service is being delivered. They are something like this:
  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Adequate
  • Fair 
  • Poor
"Poor" is equated to "appalling" in normal speak - although you might have another word -  and "fair" can be equated to "terrible".

So if a department was reported thus, "The outlook for the department is fair", you can understand just how bad it must be.  Immediate action to identify and address the underlying problems would be essential.  Wouldn't it?

Alternatively, you can batten down the hatches and complain about the accuracy and fairness of the assessment.  But then, your bosses would surely take some action.

But what happens when the target of this severe rebuke is the Chief Executives department at the Comhairle?

Why; it is the simple policy of deny and avoid, and demonstrate a complete lack of self-awareness, in the form of the self-justifying letter sent to Councillors.

The report has been circulated to Councillors in advance, and won't be published until a week Tuesday (29th), when it will be buried by the news of the next day's strike.  Coincidentally.

Daily updates of some of the juicier quotes from the Audit Report to follow.....

Lews Castle College

I am sure that the departure of David Green as Principal will be a major change at Lews Castle College, as his leadership has been exemplary and has dramatically enhanced the standing of the College at every level and across the community.

However, any change is unsettling, and it doesn't really help when the wrong noises seem to be coming from the Scottish Government.

I am being told that the role of Principal at Lews Castle College is being considered for downgrading as a cost saving exercise, with Ministerial pressure being brought to bear.  Directly and indirectly.

The budget settlement which is imminent is expected to have a severe cut in the funds available to the UHI and with Mike Russell and his poodle trying to force the merger of Colleges and Universities, there are questions about whether the UHI structure needs to be quite as devolved as it is.

This is a serious issue, not least over the "thin end of the wedge" argument, but also about the perception of what the Government are trying to achieve.

Modesty prevents me....

Sod modesty.

We have been shortlisted for "Independent firm of the year - Scotland", which we are extremely proud and very pleasantly surprised about.

The awards are announced on 30 November, but with most of the public sector, including the schools, being on strike that day, there is no way we can be sure that we can get there and back in a sensible number of days.

As we'll be at least runners-up, we'd have liked the photos for publicity purposes, but perhaps we'll just hold our own ceremony that day.

Back to life....

After numerous complaints from various readers about my absence, I have decided to apologise for my absence by extending your subscriptions to this blog by another year, at no extra cost.

As a family we fled the island to escape from the mod; and what a wise decision that was.

With the ludicrous call from An Comunn that all public servants talk
Gaelic as their first language when speaking to the public, through to the Scottish Government showing their deep commitment by announcing an SVQ in Gaelic Basket Weaving, we were glad to be far, far away.

We barely got back home, when my very clever wife had to head across the Atlantic for a week of meetings in the US which culminated in her reappointment to the Board.  Congratulations and jet lag all around.

As a result I was flying solo, with the kids and the office. And we all survived, albeit deeply traumatised.

Since then we have been at least knee-deep in new business, exciting tenders and more stuff than I can start to detail, so time really has been a major issue.

Thanks to the most recent kick up the derriere, I've made an effort.  So let's get back to dishing out the appropriate plaudits and brickbats, and I'll try and reply to all the outstanding emails too!

(J: 169 out of 180 comments awaiting moderation were spam)