I think that should go without saying Dave. …

Comment posted McCuish announces ‘coalition for progress’ by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll.

I think that should go without saying Dave. Any action taken to assess performance to date and potential looking forward should be a proper and thorough process which views the roles, duties, actions and influences (and how these were responded to) that are relevant to any such review.

Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll also commented

  • If the new coalition is to be successful then something needs to be done about what are clearly very strained relationships between elected members and the corporate management team. Whether or not people agree that this Council has been failing under the current Chief Executive’s control is up for debate (I think most people on here know where I stand on the debate) however what can’t be denied is that member/officer relations are not what they should be.

    Depending on the nature of the CE’s contract the new administration will, fundamentally, have two options available to them. If she is on a fixed term contract which requires renewal at a set date then they would be able to replace her at that point if they felt she was not capable of performing her role competently. They may, of course, conclude that she is capable and agree on a contract extension.

    If she is on a permanent contract with no break point then the administration needs to assess whether her performance has been satisfactory and deal with this accordingly. In this scenario she would be treated the same way as any other employee and performance issues would be addressed via a proper performance management process (which could, and I stress could, result in dismissal if, after following a proper process, the performance doesn’t improve).

    Dealing with performance issues at director level is slightly different as the administration have no direct control over the appointment and removal of directors. They have (or should have) performance issues managed in the same way as any other employee however the problem here is that they report directly to the CE and if there are question marks over her competence then you could argue that she is not capable of managing the performance issues of those who report directly to her.

    What the new Administration need to consider is whether or not their opposition to issues such as the schools closures was because they were opposed to the policy, opposed to the lack of competence shown by Council officers during the consultation process and in the consultation papers, or a combination of the two. If they were opposed to the lack of competence to a material extent (and any other areas of competence amongst the senior staff) then they can’t be seen to duck their responsibility to challenge the CE and CMT and ensure they are accountable for their failings. Just because it happened under the previous administration’s watch does not mean the issue should be overlooked.

    Roddy McCuish says ‘The people of Argyll have given us a clear mandate for change in the way the work of this council is conducted.’ It is encouraging to hear those words and there is much talk of ‘change’ in the air’
    Recognition of the desire for change makes it crystal clear that change is required and part of that process has to be to identify what has gone wrong, or stood still for too long, and take corrective action. If that means removal of the CMT or close performance management of them then I urge the Administration to be strong and take the necessary steps.

Recent comments by Integrity? Not in the ConDemAll

  • SNP Chairs and Members of Westminster Committees
    I don’t have a problem with someone of Mhairi Black’s age being elected. I don’t think it can do politics any harm whatsoever to have some elected members who can better represent the aspirations of a more youthful section of society. I would have concerns if there was an excessive number of younger of politicians say in their twenties but it is highly unlikely that will ever be the case.

    Would she have been elected if the SNP were not on such an upswing nationally? Probably not but you could say that about a lot of the other SNP MPs elected (and also of a lot of Labour ones in the past when Labour were the dominant party in Scotland).

    She was heavily criticised during the campaign for some of the remarks he made about drinking (was it alcopops?) but that never really bothered me. She was still a student and if there two things that tend to happen at university it is drinking and hangovers! I also think too much was made of her remarks about Celtic – it wasn’t sectarianism if I recall correctly – it was just a few choice words on twitter – what percentage of people in the world use that sort of language from time to time, especially in their youth!

    The head-butt remark was stupid and I doubt she will make that mistake again. It was borne out of frustration and naivety and she didn’t help herself by going on about No voters being selfish and gullible. However there are plenty of more experienced politicians who have mad similar remarks about No voters – not to mention posters on here who seem to think being a No voter makes you less Scottish, a very childish position to take.

    However I wouldn’t want to put young people off an interest in becoming a politician by their mistakes when they are in their late teens or early twenties being used as a club to beat them with.

    I do think her position on the Work & Pensions Select Committee is odd and maybe ill advised. I think, there are other committees where an inexperienced politician and person (and I mean that purely in terms of her age, not as a statement on her potential ability) might be better placed initially.

  • Motion sends Scottish Parliament’s condolences on death of Sir Nicholas Winton, the British Schindler
    It is quite amazing that he never made his actions public – they were only discovered by chance by his wife about 25 years ago. A remarkable man. Very fitting and just that he got to live a very long and full life.
  • SNP Chairs and Members of Westminster Committees
    There is a chuckle to be allowed at the fact that Jim Murphy was regularly criticised by SNP supporters for being a career politician who had no experience of working and now we have an SNP MP with no experience of working sitting on the ‘Work & Pensions Committee!

    No criticism of Mhairi Black intended and I hope she does a great job. Just highlighting yet another case of total hypocrisy amongst ardent political party supporters.

  • SNP alerts infantry to prepare to hunt out Carmichael
    I tend to agree with JB on this. Alastair Carmichael did wrong, of that there is no doubt. I personally think he should stand down (but there are a few other politicians in all parties who should have done the same in the past and haven’t). However I just don’t see how pushing for this court case is merited given the other much more important priorities in Scotland right now.

    The crowd fund is sitting at round about £60k just now (which was the target) – if this goes to full trial then that isn’t going to touch the sides of the total bill – it would surprise me greatly if the total bill (for both sides added together) ended up being south of £300k. Where that money is going to come from I am don’t know. The Lib Dems are refusing to comment on whether they are picking up Alastair Carmichael’s bill, who is going to be picking up the ‘people’s final bill if it does go to a full and length trial?

    Yes we want fair and honest politics and yes we are not getting it. We didn’t get it from Carmichael but we also don’t get it from Tories, Labour or the SNP (and you can add other parties to the list at will). There are liars and cheats in every party, some on ‘lesser’ issues, some on greater issues. Those pushing for this wearing their SNP badges, including the main petition leaders, are blinded by party loyalty and the stench of hypocrisy is quite foul. All parties need to clean their act up but the ‘outrage’ at this particular incident whilst whistling innocently with a ‘nothing to see here’ attitude to their own ‘houses’ is a bit pathetic.

  • Council cuts teacher numbers – without consultation – at Sandbank Gaelic Medium Unit
    Whether it is in ‘crisis’ is debatable and is possibly overly dramatic language however Angela Constance herself has admitted that standards in literacy and numeracy are falling and Nicola Sturgeon whilst denying the Scottish education system is failing has admitted it isn’t doing well enough.

    I think we can all acknowledge that politicians (of all parties) exaggerate their successes and downplay their failings so you can consider what Constance and Sturgeon are ‘admitting’ within that context.

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23 Responses to I think that should go without saying Dave. …

  1. Councillor Donald Kelly may be delighted , but I doubt if his voters are . He should be thrown out the Conservative and Unionist Party if this betrayal is true .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • i don,t know who islay forever is ,but i suspect he or she is what is termed on this island a white settler. obviously they are a tory to the root but haven,t a .councillor for the island except a lib dem which as many comments on this website have shown, that he has his own interests at heart and not the islanders or their children. donald kelly is an honest man and puts the interests of all the folk of argyll and bute above any party political associations whatsoever. this election was a local election and local issues are what most folk on the island of islay are concerned about.the argyll first group are in touch with the people of argyll which is more than can be said of david cameron and his cronies in his coalition,who are not in touch with the people in britain at all.

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  2. I thought the SNP was – according to its own rules – barred from doing deals with Conservatives. Is this still true?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. The sun has consistantly shone on most of Argyll throughout the run up to the election. With the brave commitment of the new council ruling group our futures can only be but basking in a new dawn of sunny possibilities.
    Let’s away with negative posts, such as those aforementioned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Well said. Its party politics that has allowed Dick Walsh to wrap our councillors round his little finger. The electorate voted for the candidates who would stand up to tricky dickie and kick him out of his current role whether he is re elected or not

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Hey, I asked a genuine question – I don’t know the current status of that policy. I thought that someone here might know what the current policy is!!!

    It has certainly been applied for a long time. Eg, it stopped Alex Salmond from entering into any formal coalition with Annabel Goldie and the Conservative group in the Scottish Parliament. And I have heard lots of SNP people quote it at me, that they ‘would never do deals with Tories’.

    Now if they keep or change that rule, that is up to them. I am simply asking for clarification of current SNP policy.

    For what it’s worth, my view is that this is not a sustainable position nowadays in local government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • You’re quite right, Mairi, that tribal exclusions are out of touch with the way most people today feel about the world.

      It is the calibre of the individual that counts – either way, not the pedigree they carry.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Nice to see Elaine getting down from the fence.
    Where does poor Duncan go now,Roddy beware a stranger bearing gifts, it gets better and better.
    Please tell us the coalition will start ripping apart Loudon, Sneddon, Walker and the rest of the malfunctioning Education department.A vote of no confidence in Loudon is a priority,the rest of her buddies can wait in line.
    Let the decent,honest staff who work for the council come forward and spill the beans,starting with the” Jo Smith adventures”.Good title for a book,sounds a bit steamy so we better keep pictures of Dick Walsh in his underwear out of it.
    Just a wee bit of crack till the hard decisions have to be made then we will really see what our new council is made of.Best of luck but the time for change is now no excuses now you are in charge.Lets rock and roll.

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  7. Times they are a changing.
    The SNP embargo on working in formal coalition with Tories was at Parliamentary level because of their unionist commitment. It is not relevant at council level. A Tory publicly in favour of independence has just been elected in Midlothian (Peter De Vink – see below)
    The “Unionist” in the Tory description in Scotland is not fundamental. It was a reaction to the “Irish Problem” in the early years of last century but I suspect London influence is the reason for it being stuck on Scotland’s Tories as if it was a party constitutional clause. Two of the prominent founder members of the SNP – the Duke of Montrose and Sir Compton Mackenzie – were Tories

    But the piece below represents a not inconsiderable procession of thought among Tories. Tories are not political in the sense others may be . They are pragmatists. When power shifts they shift with it. Interesting times.
    Despite last Thursday’s odd results (achieved by the media and not by a hopeless Labour Party)I believe Labour in Scotland is in as much, if not more, trouble in Scotland than the Tories

    http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/opinion/comment/brian-monteith-prime-example-of-why-the-tories-must-change-1-2279075

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The election is over. We now need the best councillors elected to serve in the coalition not the slickest operators

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. If the new coalition is to be successful then something needs to be done about what are clearly very strained relationships between elected members and the corporate management team. Whether or not people agree that this Council has been failing under the current Chief Executive’s control is up for debate (I think most people on here know where I stand on the debate) however what can’t be denied is that member/officer relations are not what they should be.

    Depending on the nature of the CE’s contract the new administration will, fundamentally, have two options available to them. If she is on a fixed term contract which requires renewal at a set date then they would be able to replace her at that point if they felt she was not capable of performing her role competently. They may, of course, conclude that she is capable and agree on a contract extension.

    If she is on a permanent contract with no break point then the administration needs to assess whether her performance has been satisfactory and deal with this accordingly. In this scenario she would be treated the same way as any other employee and performance issues would be addressed via a proper performance management process (which could, and I stress could, result in dismissal if, after following a proper process, the performance doesn’t improve).

    Dealing with performance issues at director level is slightly different as the administration have no direct control over the appointment and removal of directors. They have (or should have) performance issues managed in the same way as any other employee however the problem here is that they report directly to the CE and if there are question marks over her competence then you could argue that she is not capable of managing the performance issues of those who report directly to her.

    What the new Administration need to consider is whether or not their opposition to issues such as the schools closures was because they were opposed to the policy, opposed to the lack of competence shown by Council officers during the consultation process and in the consultation papers, or a combination of the two. If they were opposed to the lack of competence to a material extent (and any other areas of competence amongst the senior staff) then they can’t be seen to duck their responsibility to challenge the CE and CMT and ensure they are accountable for their failings. Just because it happened under the previous administration’s watch does not mean the issue should be overlooked.

    Roddy McCuish says ‘The people of Argyll have given us a clear mandate for change in the way the work of this council is conducted.’ It is encouraging to hear those words and there is much talk of ‘change’ in the air’
    Recognition of the desire for change makes it crystal clear that change is required and part of that process has to be to identify what has gone wrong, or stood still for too long, and take corrective action. If that means removal of the CMT or close performance management of them then I urge the Administration to be strong and take the necessary steps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Coincidentally we are working on an article on this very matter which will shortly be published – and we agree that it could not be more important.

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  9. Employment legislation affects senior management a bit different from the PBI. Crucial in management and leadership is trust. If the employers of the CEO (ie the councillors) feel that they have lost trust in their CEO then the contract can be terminated without the need to go through the usual series of appraisals, warnings etc. Usually there is a financial settlement involved in terminating a contract early (and that is usually one year’s pay). If the CEO is on a fixed term contract (and that would be good practise) then all the councillors need to do is agree that the contract will not be renewed – the notice period of this will be in the existing contract (and is again usually one year).

    My understanding is that all other employees can only have their contracts terminated by the CEO.

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  10. I would think it sensible to allow the CEO to explain the conditions she was operating under before we all jump to conclusions. This is not an attempt to excuse completely unacceptable behaviour on a number of issues but a suggestion that the CEO may be able to explain what pressures were brought to bear on her as she did her work. Could be illuminating and very useful – particularly if appropriate measures are to be taken to insure that Dick Walsh does not rise from politically dead as he was allowed to do over ten years ago after Jean McFadden of Strathclyde University and the Ombudsman both suggested he was not a fit person to hold public office

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    • Dave, I would normally agree with common sense like that, however, having seen Ms Loudon and her executive pets in action at Kilmory at a number of meetings, I would have to say that will need to be one hell of an excuse to justify their actions.

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    • I think that should go without saying Dave. Any action taken to assess performance to date and potential looking forward should be a proper and thorough process which views the roles, duties, actions and influences (and how these were responded to) that are relevant to any such review.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Nice to see Labour starting to get a grip and putting up decent proposals.A lot to like in their manifesto,my old socialist heart has had a great week not just locally but nationally.Labour will need to gear up in Argyll, I would certainly be very interested to play a part if they are true to their words.As for Roddy he’s the man but he will need quality behind him not the ship jumpers.
    Power to the People.

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  12. Interesting to read Brian Monteith’s article about Peter de Vink in today’s Scotsman -the link is above in item 8 – along with the searching analysis of the Glasgow voting patterns in Gerry Hassan’s blog. Both of those thoughtful contributioms to the current debate indicate that Scottish politics is once again on the move and that the regular pundits in the BBC and the print media are, for the most part, floundering in the wake.

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