Comment posted Misleading journalism from Dunoon Observer by newsroom.
A straw poll would be interesting.
And in this case, we’re talking about a council where proposals were put forward to close rural schools without any evidence that anyone, however senior, had read the 2010 School’s Act 2010 enough to understand it. And that was primary legislation not minister’s speeches or the Scottish Architecture journal.
It’s not impossible that no one at ABC knew that the Schools for the Future fund also supported refurbishments. While there may accusations of laxity and incompetence in this, Government information on this is clearly opaque and that is not helpful.
newsroom also commented
- So, as a previous editor, we can take it that you would also have published this particular piece as it stands and would have been content to support its interpretation and use of the basic text to which it refers.
- It would be interesting to have examples of instances where ‘consultations’ in any quarter operated in the spirit of openness to evidence.
- Point of accuracy – in his quoted letter to Councillor Bruce Marshall, Mr Walsh did not discuss ‘stopping’ the planned joint primary campus for Dunoon but simply, post election, asking for the plan to be suspended pending clarification on funding options not previously known to him.
- Speaking purely for ourselves – the frontline presence of this fund says new build.
It would not occur to us to ask if a fund that purported to support one thing might actually fund something else. We would expect the targets a fund supports to be upfront or easily discoverable.
We accept that we have a particularly straightforward attitude to most things but we are experienced readers and analysts of information.
It is reasonable to assume that this information is comprehensive.
We are working, as we try to do, to be fair in this and there is no doubt that the available information is not fully lucid. No one should have to play guessing games with government information and this information does not hint at anything that would even prompt a guess.
- On 25 October 2011 the online journal Scottish Architecture carried an article entitled: ‘Scottish Schools for the Future programme expanded’.
It’s opening paragraphs said: ‘An announcement made on Sunday (23 October) by First Minister Alex Salmond outlined plans to build or refurbish 30 schools as part of the next phase of the school buildings programme – 12 more than originally planned.
This will see the total number of projects built under the £1.25 billion ‘Scottish Schools for the Future’ programme, which aims to provide high quality facilities for pupils and their teachers, rise to more than 60.’
However, to be fair to Mr Walsh, anyone who went straight to the horse’s mouth – as practical people would do – to the Scottish Futures Trust webpage for Schools for the Future, would find it hard to distil any sense that this is other than a new build initiative.
Is it reasonable to expect senior officers and council leaders to hear all minister’s speeches to parliament and to be au fait with specialist magazines? Maybe it is.
However, we ourselves would go straight to what we would assume was the authoritative source – and we have been unable to find anything else on the Scottish Government website. One link that seemed germane – ‘Building Better Schools: Investing in Scotland’s Future’ – would not open, recording simply Error 404.
If we ourselves were to go on the basis of the Scottish Futures Trust online material, we would not even ask if the fund covered refurbishments.
So the lack of awareness Mr Walsh claims may have been enabled by poorly managed public communications.
Recent comments by newsroom
- Huge consultancy costs to date on CHORD scheme
The £32k+ for Oban is not about consultancy but refers to what has already been spent to date on the Oban project itself.
We have also published earlier that AECOM were given a subsequent consultancy contract of around £600k from CHORD – but at that time, a few years ago, understood that contract to relate to other CHORD projects as well as Oban’s.
This means that, of the around £1.9 million spend so far on consultants fees for CHORD, AECOM have had, in total, a very large portion of it.
It means that, for Oban, which is your interest – the amount spent on consultancy fees in the years that this initiative has been running, far outweighs the money spent on the Oban CHORD initiative itself.
- SRSN Chair raises issue of Argyll evidence with Holyrood Education Committee
Your Education Director has, however, delivered himself of a ‘clarification’ to the Holyrood Education Committee. Article published here earlier today:
- Sneddon runs white flag to half mast on council deception of parliamentary Education Committee
Mr Sneddon is no one’s whipping boy.
He has been a prime mover since he arrived; and has acted on his own initiative in some matters that have brought the council as a whole into national disrepute – as when he sent out a dreadfully stalinist Press Release in the name of the Council on the revived Martha Payne excursion on school dinners just as the fledgling SNP administration was trying to find its feet.
He has also been given charge of progressing the sale of Castle Toward – a matter hung about with controversy – which is supported by a substantial evidence base.
It is a worrying signal of values at the council – and of its grasp of the realities – that a man like Mr Sneddon, with so whimsical a relationship with facts, has been chosen to keep the disposal of the property under way.
- Huge consultancy costs to date on CHORD scheme
That particular cost breakdown list [from the total given above it] is for the various spends on actual project works.
A question here relates to the Campbeltown all-weather sports pitch.
THis was not part of the Campbeltown CHORD project but money was vired from the townl;s CHORD budget to pay for the AWP.
The question now is whether the council is trying to make the Campbeltown CHORD project look better than it is by including the vired AWP spend as if it were a completed CHORD initiative.
The positive side of this is that the AWP was badly needed in Campbeltown and has done a lot of good there in many ways.
CHORD money is also being vired to the Town Hall project – a signature and joyful Campbeltown building.
Neither, though, were any part of the Campbeltown CHORD ‘vision’.
- Grangemouth admission of intention to import shale gas confirms For Argyll situation analysis
You are mistaken.
Petrochemical feedstock form tne Orth Sea is fie – the problem is that, like the other UK refineries, Grangenouoth is not geared up to handle the cheaper heavy crudes which are the future of the refining industry and of North Sea production.
This is a serious limitation on their lifespan.
Our eight-part series is a seriously researched exercise.
You would have found this information in its pieces on refining and on Grangemouth.
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