Thursday, February 05, 2015

February Council Meeting - Lothian Bus decision ...

Lot of interest in today's Council Business ... which is always to be welcomed ;-)

And although the formal minute isn't yet out, the webcast is now up on the archive site and can be accessed via this link:

Of course, all the initial Reports are here:

... and, in an attempt to quickly clarify the final decison on item 9.3, concerning Lothian Buses, here is how I understand the final decision to stand:

  • Welcomes the public ownership of the award-winning Lothian Buses (“the company”)which operates over 70 services and has a fleet of over 700 vehicles.

  • Council notes that the Transport Spokespersons from each political party have been kept briefed individually and at committee.  As a consequence of concerns arising from the long-running management difficulties and questions of governance at the company and their impact on staff morale and confidence in the company, the Convener, Vice Convener and opposition party spokespersons have now agreed to meet as a group on a regular basis to address these concerns.
  • Council recognises that some elected members and members of the public are inevitably not in possession of the full facts.  Therefore in the interests of transparency and, recognising the Council’s shareholding responsibility, call for an independent report to be independently led, detailing events and Council involvement in relation to Lothian Buses’ management difficulties, to include reference to all meetings and decisions taken, accepting that some information may be sensitive or confidential.
  • The current Chairperson of Lothian Buses is currently reviewing the senior management position in Lothian Buses and we expect his review to be completed by April 2015.  The Council’s intention would be that the outcome of this review be reported to the Council

  • In the interests of transparency and recognising the Council’s shareholder responsibility, calls for an independent external report to GRBV in three cycles detailing events and Council involvement.
Important to stress that, after a bit of debate and some adjustments, there was no Party Political division on this; and it was agreed on an all-Council basis.
And here's the brief statement I released to the press after the meeting:
Council Leader Andrew Burns said:
"As we've consistently said, the Council has acted entirely in accordance with proper governance procedures throughout. It is in everyone's interests that the facts around recent events at Lothian Buses are laid out clearly and conclusively and I welcome unanimous council support for an independent report commissioned by the Council."
I will, of course, keep the blog updated on this issue, especially as we move closer to the relevant Meeting of the, Opposition-Chaired, GRBV Committee (Governance, Risk and Best Value Committee - see page 18 here) in three cycles time.
Meantime, I can be contacted via all the usual channels of course!


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