Council investigation in to Communications Manager’s activities

Papers on this investigation have just been handed out at the full meeting of Argyll and Bute Council and are now in the public domain.

Because the matter may well go to appeal, we feel that publication on the matter would be unhelpful until it is finally over, although we will obviously be interested to read the papers.

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27 Responses to Council investigation in to Communications Manager’s activities

  1. shame on you. public papers. never thought we would see the day when for argyll supports secrecy and council whitewash. if appeal is successful loudon must resign. shame on new councl leader too.

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    • Of course we do not support secrecy.

      But at the time of the Malcolm Webster murder trial – which had a strong Argyll link through his most recent leaching on an Oban woman in the medical profession – we had useful conversations with the Procurator Fiscal’s office.

      These made us realise how easy it is to provide substance for an appeal against judgments.

      Having read the papers, we remain broadly of this view.

      However, no one need feel any great sense of deprivation.

      Others will undoubtedly report on them. In our view, what there is in them of any interest – in what is a high degree of waffle to justify the substantial cost of 50 something fee days – is not on any insight they provide on the matter under investigation but is on the investigation itself.

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      • Don’t support secrecy? How about identifying who leaked the so called Spygate presentation to you. We all know you at least had it at the same time as the Herald. Unless of course you just accidentally found it on a niche website six months after the event passed with no controversy. Instead you support hypocrisy, you seem to be happy to publish guesswork, opinion, unproven allegations as fact and blatently ignore information that runs counter to your view of the world. Yet you refuse to publish a council document issued to the press. The cynics might think that your council insider has you firmly in their pocket.

        Also in my view and a very good lawyer friend of mine you’re a bit late to start worrying about the legal implications. From what you’ve already published here I’d say Ms Smith has a cast iron case against you for libel.

        Oh my god, i am turning into Simon. HELP!!!! I think i need to lie down. I’ll be back Monday as i have a date with a mountain or three. I’ll try not to fall off.

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      • It is a pity you did not have your insight into people being innocent until proven guilty before forArgyll made statements to the BBC which quoted you as saying;
        “For Argyll, said it was a ‘sacking issue’.”
        The BBC went onto say that forArgyll said Ms Smith was beyond public trust and sacking was imperative.

        Is it correct, as alleged in other posts, that you have been through the archives on this blog removing statements Newsroom made on this issue?

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  2. “It has nothing to do with elected members”
    I would of thought there is a connection with elected members, the way which I see things are each time a new tribe gets elected they blame the last tribe for all the troubles. Could it be then be said that the troubles are always caused by the elected members, so the elected members are always at fault granted it may be a different person. Any views.

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    • Sorry I meant that the disciplinary process to date has nothing to do with elected members. Their role is in any appeal.

      The overall culture within the Council is clearly set by both elected members and the extended corporate management team.

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  3. integrity, administration whipped. council have not put paper on internet so we are all in the dark. is there a conspiracy between for argyll and council on this?

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    • I was surprised to read the papers had been made public – I would expect that the final report would be a public document but not the papers supporting the investigation. Especially as someone has been dismissed as a consequence and there may well be an appeal.

      I wonder if the statement that the papers are public is actually an error which would explain why they are not on the website.

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  4. Newsroom…”.although we will obviously be interested to read the papers.”
    From my experience in checking your sources and iterpretations,( see post on other string) when you’ve refused to answer my simple requests and have blatantly been twisting the reported word to suit your own agenda, the above quote should read..” although we will obviously be interested to read the papers and twist and modify their content as part of our ongoing witch hunt”… I don’t know anything about Ms Smith but your unwillingness to provide info. encouraged me to dig deeper and have found that you have some reason for persecuting her, I also think that in doing so, some of your reports would not bear too much legal scrutiny if an appeal refers to them,brace yourself!

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  5. Mrs A update.
    The internet monitoring of ARSN by the Council organised by Sneddon and done by Smith had Loudon’s approval but warned not to use council equipment it is widely believed. All went well and this gave Sneddon an advantage in trying to undermine ARSN. Smith let the cat out of the bag so became the patsy.
    The cover-up is a £30,000 external investigation which looked for words like “spy”, “spying” and “covert surveillance” on Smith’s computer and interviewed a few staff (surprisingly nobody confessed) but no senior management. The Council was cleared with no case to answer. This information has now been removed from public view.
    An agreement was reached between Loudon, McCuish, Semple and the opposition leaders to spring this on the Council on Thursday and nod it through without challenge. All questions were blocked by the Provost.
    The Council has set aside money to pay for a successful appeal against dismissal and two cases of constructive dismissal.
    MacCuish is worried about a rebellion and has called a secret emergency meeting next week. No secret as he doesn’t understand that management is working to get the old lot back in power to keep their jobs. Loudon and Sneddon are here to stay.
    This is the last post as Mrs A getting a bit worried about her job in the Kremlin.

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    • Very interesting Arnie. Please stay on board here. We need all the info we can glean to give some understanding on the many issues. Regards to Mrs A.

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  6. Surely if council staff have the information they should come forward.The new administration now have a councillor dedicated to helping staff have their say without the threat of losing their job.Councillor Philand must surely be involved in this mess if MrsA is to be believed.
    Very interesting questions for Roddy at Oban community council,s meeting on Monday night.Try and get along for the crack, we might even find out why councillor Louise Glen-Lee is not standing for re-election after just four months in the job.
    Cheers Neil.

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  7. Last Post really.
    Investigation was also a cover to find who had leaked the story about Smith’s presentation but it being on web. Bullying, intimidation, accusations then the “fit-up” leaving the two staff no option but to resign. Loudon and Smith do have big bums.
    Coalition in chaos – MacCuish not up to job, Semple ruthlessly ambitious, what about Philand?. Robb is the obvious choice on ability but not popular and he comes from Helensburgh and would fire Sneddon and Loudon.
    That’s all folks!!

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    • Would hope you will reconsider Arnie, and give us an occasional update on behind the scenes at the castle and the politics of it all.
      The councillors you mention above used to come on here regularly and give us their take on things so we, the public could form opinions.
      If things are getting too hot arnie then i do understand.

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  8. arnie must re-consider to prevent continuing injustice and coruption. councillors get your vote then do what they want to save their own skins and pockets.

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  9. Gosh Arnie, if you keep posting stuff with the add-on of “it is widely believed” you could probably get a job with For Argyll. Make up any rubbish you like stick on your add-on and call it something like serious journalism/forensic investigation/serious ananlysis and whoosh Bob’s your Auntie…

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    • Far better to be like you eh Simon. You know the sort of upstanding honest guy who spends 18 months trying to highlight how ARSN is getting it wrong but when the Commission comes along and makes it categorically clear that actually ARSN was getting it right you are big enough and humble enough to say ‘Well you know what folks, these ARSN guys had a point all along and I was too blinkered to see it – well done to them and more fool me.’

      Except you never could bring yourself to do it could you. It seems you only like the ‘truth’ when it suits your case.

      However the general point is a fair one in that any information which comes through the rumour mill is not tangible enough to support any firm accusation however the body of hearsay evidence regarding staff feeling threatened by this CMT is quite alarming. It has been heard by different people across A&B, at different times, and about different issues. Just last week I was talking to a senior member of the Council (I won’t mention even grade as that will narrow it down too much) and when the discussion turned to the possibility of Loudon leaving this officer was beaming and said (and I quote directly) ‘Maybe then people will be able to go to work and not be petrified of making the tiniest mistake.’ They also made specific reference to a member of the opposition as being particularly obnoxious to deal with unless that councillor was getting their way at all times.

      To save Simon the time asking I won’t name this person or any other and I fully accept that without someone being prepared to put their name to any such remark (and thus threaten their own position) this sort of discussion lacks the evidence required for any investigation or action to be taken.
      However anyone who isn’t concerned that too many Council staff go into work every day and come out feeling the need to make comments like these about the environment they work in lack a proper appreciation of well a Council can be run and also lack a bit of compassion about how people should not be made to feel in their work place.

      Dougie Philand’s role is an important one in tackling issues like these but it is an awfully difficult decision for a council officer to put their head above the parapet and be the first to cry foul – especially when it is being done in the heart of a culture they find intimidating and odious.

      A general staff satisfaction survey might highlight an organisation wide concern which could kick start a long process of resolution however even then staff need to be confident that their responses are truly confidential.

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  10. If councillor Philand is dealing with a vast amount of compliants on different issues from staff surely the numbers would enable him to call for immediate action.
    Also surely the unions should be assisting staff to tackle the problem.
    Silence will not solve the problem and if it is being orchestrated from the very top then our councillors have to protect the staff.
    As has been mentioned already the new Administration promised us a change for the better I have not seen or heard anything to back that up yet.
    Cheers Neil.

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    • I think the point is Neil that Dougie probably isn’t and until he receives actual complaints it is difficult to take specific action.

      So far everyoe who has raised these issues informally with me has not taken any formal steps about it as for a start Britain doesn’t tend to be a country where you raise gripes like this but also for fear of retribution.

      This is why I say that maybe the growing body of unsubstantiated evidence should maybe make enough evidence to support the roll out of anonymous staff survey (which Councils carry our pretty regularly anyway) to allow Dougie to verify whether there is a genuine issue or whether it is just a thing of rumours.

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  11. My goodness Integrity – now I’m agreeing with you.

    Bullying can never be condoned. But, rumour-mongering is almost as bad.I like your idea of “a roll out of anonymous staff survey” however, if it comes back as ‘no real fear of bullying amongst staff’ the zealots on here will describe it as a ‘whitewash’ and just continue their malicious vindicitve rumour-mongering anyway.

    That said – the Council needs to be seen to be taking action so roll on with an anonymous staff survey.

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  12. Well done Simon – positive, at last.

    AND yes I did tick ‘like’, something I feared would never happen with you.

    Keep it up now. The results could surprise even your ascerbic wit.

    You can go lie down now and rest a bit.

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