Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The wonders of consultation ...

I think (?) I've solved the dark mystery of the CLD Review Consultation Paper that I was bemoaning easy sight of yesterday ...

You can find it by going to:

  • Edinburgh Grid for Learning at
  • Click on "C&F Organisational Review update" under recent updates
  • Click on the first link, entitled "Consultation Paper"

Simple to find :-(

So ... as far as I can best establish, this Consultation Paper has been nowhere near any Committee of the Council, is not therefore on Committee Papers on Line (CPOL), and I'm left wondering if many of the 29 Administration Politicians even know about its contents - none of us in the darkest recesses of Opposition knew about its existence, that's for sure :-((

Frankly, it's easier to find on my favourite local blog ... second only to this one, of course :-)) ... which just about says all there is to say about the efficient and professional dissemination of this reasonably important information.

What a shambles.

... and it gets a lot worse - if you follow the first two links above to the "Children and Families Organisational Review Update Issue 2", you'll see that:

  • it wasn't published until the 21st January; a full SIX DAYS after the Education Committee met on the 15th January
  • "comments will be listened to and a summary of the feedback will accompany the report setting out the proposals to the meeting of Council on 21 February where final decisions will be made" - my emphasis; yes, no time for any political scrutiny!
  • the deadline for comments is 11th February; giving less than 3-weeks for feedback from anyone who can actually find the document
  • remember that papers for the 21st February Council meeting go out a week before, that's the 14th February ... so feedback on the CLD Review Consultation Paper is going to be "listened to", assessed and written up in no more than 3-days ... because, of course, no one has drafted the final paper yet before the closing date for comments ...

BUT - read on, the best bits are to come under a later section entitled "Organisational Review – Other Areas" where it boldly states:

  • "The options for Departmental Management arrangements, Neighbourhood Services Management arrangements, Working Together Management and Services, Youth Services and Discretionary Services are still under consideration and will go to the Council on 21 February prior to consultation with staff."
  • "A final decision on these proposals is likely to be taken at a Council Meeting in March." - again, my emphasis ...
So, how on earth can we (as politicians) decide on a new structure for the Children and Families Department (the largest Department of Scotland's second largest Council) on the same day we set the 2008/09 next-year budget BEFORE the proposals have even been consulted on?

... and okay, lets be generous here and accept for a second that the "final decision" will not be taken until the March Council Meeting - how on earth can we therefore set the budget for a Department that is about to change shape a few weeks later??

This timetable means that NO (sensible or credible) assumptions can be made about 'efficiency savings' from the main Organisational Review at the Budget meeting in February because the process WILL NOT be finished.

... oh, and can I just remind you of this:

  • I now also think the decision to cancel the Special Meeting of the 12th February is completely contrary to the extant Council Decision of the Education Committee Meeting on 30th October 2007 - have a look at Paragraph 8 of this minute ...
  • for ease of reference, the above decision reads - "To approve the departmental review as detailed in the report subject to the outcomes report being submitted to the Education, Children and Families Committee ahead of the Council budget meeting." (my emphasis)

"Shambles" is being polite.


Anonymous said...

Andrew, the link to edinburghsucks which you have provided diminishes your credibility. Most of the content of that website is defamatory and harrassing in the extreme. If the publisher had the guts to publish this stuff either in paper form with his name and address on it, or on a UK based hosting company, you know as well as I do that he would have been successfully sued by numerous people whom he has chosen to attack in a most cowardly and intimidatng way.
You are aware of all of this, yet you choose to countenance this chap and his methods. One does wonder why.

Andrew said...


Okay - fair comment ... and point taken.