Council advertises Communications Manager job – so what happened with Jo Smith?

Argyll and Bute Council has now advertised the post of Communications Manager, held by suspended former manager, Jo Smith.

Ms Smith had been suspended following her own revelation at a conference of her public sector peers, that she had instigated Internet ‘spy accounts’ for surveillance of critics of the council.

The matter was investigated by a hired public sector adviser and Ms Smith was subsequently removed from her post.

The last information available on the episode was that Ms Smith had appealed that decision.

While she was still technically in post, although suspended, the Council could not legally advertise the post.

But on 15th March Argyll and Bute Council advertised for a Communications Manager [the details are here].

This can only mean that Ms Smith is no longer on the books in the post.

But did she lose her appeal against the Council decision or did they make her a deal to bring the matter to a conclusion?

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16 Responses to Council advertises Communications Manager job – so what happened with Jo Smith?

  1. In the new open government promised by the SNP administration when they took over the council we will be told what has happened to Jo Smith.If not we are back where we started from.
    Don,t hold your breath.
    Cheers Neil.

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  2. Hughie, what Newsie reported in July was

    “Aileen McNicol from the Dunoon Observer has been appointed to the communications office.

    She is a good journalist, with Highlands and Islands awards to her credit. She is also a steady-footed, grounded person with respected values, unlikely to be led into the sort of bunker mentality and dubious practices that led to the implosion of the council service”.

    Whether she is communications manager or not is (sic) not reported…

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    • Aileen McNicol was, as we said, appointed to the Communications Office – this was as a replacement for one of the two senior staff who chose to resign following their suspension for the minor misdemeanour of exchanging humourous remarks about some senior council officers.

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  3. Says it all. A Council that doesn’t have a functioning Head of Corporate Communications and Bloggers ForArgyll, who are game to admit that they are playing communication catch-up too. The questions that really need answering are; Did Ms Smith allegedly breach the Data Protection Act during her employment with the Council and if so what are the Electorate’s redress? ForArgyll perhaps its worth recapping the whole story to-date?

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    • No point in asking Newsie to recap anything as she clearly has no clue and on this matter there is the truth and the is the rubbish that Newsie comes up with.

      According to the OT she was dismissed in August after being cleared of all the ‘false’ allegations of using spy accounts to spy on critics of the council. She was dismissed for bring the council into disrepute for using the word ‘spy’ in a presentation. I summarise there, but that is the gist of it.

      Because Newsie is too lazy or too stupid i dug this out of the councils archives. look for yourself

      So in other words, there were no spy accounts, never, no evidence of them, no victims, no spying, full stop. For some reason Newsie refuses to accept this fact, probably because it makes her look rather foolish.

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      • Michael – Thanks for the link. It shows that the Council administration has a substantial slush fund to cover these events. The Final Report indicates that the ITC Department internal data enquiry and report if used early in the proceedings, perhaps, could have stopped or curtailed the necessity for a full blown all singing and dancing external enquiry, saving thousands of pounds.

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  4. So there was no evidence found that Jo Smith had been doing anything .The council pays £25,000 to confirm this and she is still dismissed.How does that work?
    I am obviously missing something here can anybody help.
    Cheers Neil.

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  5. So we must take it that the councillor,s who were appointed to listen to her appeal would of had this information at hand before they made a decision.So she was obviously dismissed for other reasons because the councils own evidence backed her story.Does anyone have any information it does seem very strange.The other two ladies got the bullet for slagging of big Sally for trying to squeeze into a dress far to small for her,what a poor wee sensitive soul she must be and Jo Smith for doing nothing if the official report is what we have to go on.Now we all have had experience of how the council,s directors and managers have failed dismally to take many projects forward over the years,with untold amounts of money farmed out to consultants yet they seem untouchable .
    Another £2,500,000 has just been awarded to consultants to try and do something with the Chord projects in Argyll yet we are cutting budgerts across the board very strange.In Oban after 6 years the Chord money has not been used for consultants or hiring extra staff to run the show as The director Robert Pollock confirmed.So we all have been paying for consultants and planners from our own budgets.So what was robbed of vital funds to help bail out Chord.
    Will try to get some answers myself as I think two of the directors are coming to our community meeting on Monday hopefully we will get a bit of crack.
    Cheers Neil.


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  6. So the two PR women were sacked when they were asked “Does my bum look too big in this dress”, and failed to answer correctly. How much did this little farce cost us?

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