Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The future Viceroys of Anglesey?

As it appears that WAG Local Government Minister, Carl Sargeant, has privately asked the Members of the Anglesey Recovery Board to become Commissioners in the case that the new Alliance fails, its time to take a look at the CVs of our possible future Viceroys.

Peppered amongst the various Public Sector grandees who have somehow managed to cling on to the gravy train post-retirement, there are couple of very interesting characters here: notable Dr Zoë Radnor and Mel Usher. Both appear to have an impressive track record in bringing radical thinking to Local Government - exactly what Anglesey County Council needs. Prof. Closs Stephens, the Chair of the Recovery Board, also appears to be very capable - but one would question why someone who has spent her career specialising in Culture, Media and TV would be the obvious choice to advise on reforming a failing council...

Anyway, take a look for yourself:

Prof. Elan Closs Stephens CBE, chair of the Recovery Board

Professor of Communications and Creative Industries at Aberystwyth University’s Department of Theatre Film and Television. She also acts as Director of Enterprise and Knowledge Transfer to enable research projects with industry partners. She has a background in providing strategic leadership and support to cultural and media organisations.

In 1998, Elan became the Chair of the S4C Authority, a Department for Culture Media and Sport appointment that was renewed for a second term from 2002-2006. In 2006, she chaired the Stephens Report on the financing and structure of the arts in Wales for the Welsh Assembly Government.  She was a Governor of the British Film Institute until 2007 and Chair of its Audit and Governance during the recent major refurbishment of the Southbank National Film Theatre.  She has also chaired Chwarae Teg, a body that promotes the economic development of women.

Currently, she chairs the Wales Advisory Committee of the British Council where she was a main Board Trustee until 2008. She is a Board member of the Film Agency for Wales and a Trustee/Board member of Arts & Business UK.

Elan was born in Talysarn, in the Nantlle Valley, Gwynedd, educated at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle . She was an Open Scholar at Somerville College, Oxford and the first woman to chair the Dafydd ap Gwilym Society. She married Dr Roy Stephens who died in 1989. She has two grown-up children. She received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2001 for services to broadcasting and the Welsh Language. She is a fluent Welsh speaker.

Sue Essex

Labour politician and AM for Cardiff North from 1999 until she retired in 2007. During her time in the Welsh Assembly Government she was Minister for Finance, Local Government and Public Services from 2003-2007. Was Leader of Cardiff City Council at one point. She is 64 years old.

Bill Horne

Retired in June 2009 as Assistant Chief Constable, Gwent Police, after thirty years’ service as a police officer in the Gwent and Dyfed Powys forces.

Richard Parry Hughes

Farmer from the Llŷn peninsula and lifelong member of Plaid Cymru. Was a councillor at Gwynedd County Council from 1992 until 2008, during which time he served seven years as a deputy leader and was leader from 2003. He was also the spokesperson for the environment and planning to the Welsh Local Government Association for four years prior to 2008. He is now a member of the North Wales Police Authority. A fluent Welsh speaker.

Dr Zoë Radnor

Associate Professor at Warwick Business School. Radnor's research and publications are in the areas of performance measurement and management, improvement and innovation for both private and public sector. Zoe is currently a Management Practice Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) Fellow considering sustainability of Lean in public services. Previously, she has been Project Manager of a research project for the Scottish Executive which evaluated how 'lean' techniques were and could be used in the public sector. She has also led an evaluation of the implementation of Lean and associated techniques in Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as well as in three HealthCare organisations within one region. She is also leading a research project 'SLIM' which aims to develop a Strategic Lean Implementation Methodology for Hospitals.  Radnor presents, advises and sits on a number of boards and committees for organisations such as the Audit Commission, Welsh Assembly Government, Government Skills, HMRC, Local Authorities and HM Court Services.

Mel Usher

Usher has a rich background in local government, having worked in planning, urban regeneration and community development at Tower Hamlets, Islington, West Lancashire, Wigan, Blackburn and South Somerset - where we was Chief Executive for a time.

In the late 1990s Usher came up with the concept of an improvement agency for local government, which was taken up by the Local Government Association and in government circles, and was appointed the Local Government Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA)’s first chief executive. During his three eventful years in charge of the agency, he helped to change the face of local government, championing peer review/learning, e-government, member and officer development and targeted assistance for failing authorities.

Over the last five years Usher has extended his skills, now trained in mediation and transactional analysis he has specialised in working at the highest levels in local government. Amongst many others he has helped to appoint chief executives or whole management teams in authorities as far apart as Sunderland and Somerset, North Norfolk and Carlisle and Swindon and Lincolnshire.

He has worked with top teams in London boroughs, metropolitan districts, unitaries and districts. He specialises in chief executive appraisals, mentoring members and senior staff, assisting politicians in determining new priorities and sorting out unique knotty problems for individual authorities.

Graham Williams

Former Chief Inspector of Social Services for Wales and Director of the NHS in Mid and West Wales. Graham retired as the Assembly Government’s Director of Social Services in July 2009. A fluent Welsh speaker.


Fillan said...

The ladies would of course be Vicereine's of Ynys Môn ?

Anonymous said...

Yes all very academically impressive I`m sure....but I`m underwhelmed really....since I see no evidence of any with experience of managing a failed Council.
It is easy, and remunerative, to sit from time to time on public body panels and forums, and say your piece and rubberstamp reports by Officers., is another to LEAD at the front.
Do they have the nous, the knowledge, the time, or the stomach for the long haul at Llangefni.
I doubt it !

Prometheuswrites said...

Can you tell where you sourced the information regarding Mr Sargeant's approach to the recovery board members?

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Prometheus, they were appointed by Carl Sargeant's predecessor, Dr Brian Gibbon. More information here:

Anonymous said...

The Question outstanding is -
What were their original terms of reference ?
The supplemental question is -
Have they had any recent revision to their terms of reference, if so, what exactly ?
Or are they making it up as they go ?

Prometheuswrites said...

Druid: thanks for the informative link.
However what I was asking about was your assertion that Carl Sargeant "has privately asked the Members of the Anglesey Recovery Board to become Commissioners in the case that the new Alliance fails"

Prometheuswrites said...

Further to my 'old bone' posting last night I also found this report in the Daily Post.

This may however provide a counter-balance to other report (young people leaving North Wales), provided we have the foresight to create the business environment to capitalise on all the talent and enterprenurial drive that many of these 'stuck at home' graduates will have.

Every cloud has a silver lining, & most problems offer opportunities to create solutions to other problems.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Prometheus - Ah, I see. That information came from a source.

Prometheuswrites said...

Druid: Understood.
Nuf Sed.

The Great Councillini said...

Sue Essex is a pretty open and honest politician if you ask me. Nice to see her on the board, in fact.

Does it really matter what avenue of life these people have been involved with? If they were more local authority biased, we'd have to worry about them being part of the local government 'clique'. Maybe it's enough to have a genuine interest in good governance and a high degree of integrity that can be passed on to the future incumbents of the Council, should it continue to exist?

Give them a chance first, I say; most people seem to want to try a take-over out and see where it takes us. One thing's for sure, it can't get any worse.

Haloumi said...

From a website about 'Lean':

"At its most simple level, Lean is all about cutting out those factors that are a waste of time, money or resources."

Hmm, a new name for systems analysis, then? I wonder how many things fall under 'waste of time, money or resources' (presumably it should be 'and' resources)?

How about councillors who fight amongst themselves - they're a waste of all three. And expensive sticky-plaster interim manging directors? We don't know if that's a waste or not yet. How about Corporate Directors that have been identified as unable to work together and to a common cause? That's a big waste, given their salaries.

So, Lean for all! We'll have the services without the upper management layers that seem to do nothing but develop their own ivory towers and waste time reading noddy web sites.

Anonymous said...

Tells us all about Zoe Radnor's thoughts...

The Great Councillini said...

'Lean' Cynicism:

Fancy new word for an old idea -> Rubbish Powerpoint presentation -> More and more people think it's something worth listening to ->
The pocketing of hefty presentation fees ->
NRC (no real change).

Cynical, or realistic?

Prometheuswrites said...

Re: Zoe Radnor's powerpoint presentation;
It's not the slideshow that counts, it whats said during the presentation.
'Lean' is another name for process mapping and re-engineering - following in the steps of 'old school' Critical Path Analysis,which has been around since the '50s, (and it works, when properly applied)

The only criticism I can make is that the graphs did not have their axes labeled, (a common problem with visual presention media)

Anonymous said...

Knotty problems isn't that when the wood is full of knots and is fit only for the skip?

Maybe if this Council of Betrayal wants to strike out against the main bloggers, so be it, we won't capitualte to their demands, we are NOT afraid, we want them to attack us, so we can be justified in taking the stike back to them!

Is anyone listening? that's the problem you see, no one listens, no one cares, no wonder our way of life faces extinction!
Let's see what these lot can do, let's see if they cherry pick the problems or take on board all of the issues, and help the victims!
We are watching you.

Anonymous said...

Prometheus 14.11 Having just spent a weekend receiving lectures from an individual fully knowledgeable of the topics, there was no use of Powerpoint, overhead, slide projector or even "hidden recorders" , yet the quality of the information flow was absorbed by the 100 or so who attended. So what we ant is no showboaters, no publicity seekers, no hotheads, no idiots, just sound minded characters who love their own country, love their own island, love their fellow men & women (like it or not) definitely Druid characters but also I don't care if the rest are gnomes, pixies, or whatever as long as it is a passion for their community and not their positions or wallets.

The Great Councillini said...

Maybe there is merit in the 'Lean' system. It's just a bit despairing to see a presentation so full of bamboozling complexity that it ends-up as incomprehensible - if indeed there is anything to comprehend. Does 'Lean' (makes me think of american grill devices) include graphs that show worker contentment? As usual, the human factor is ignored, but that's what you get with capitalism - and 'Lean' is a capitalist ideology.

If you know your topic, you can say it simply. But if they said it simply, we might understand it for what it is. And that might not be so pleasant.

Fillan said...

Let me remind you of the tape that Cllr Durkin is refusing to allow a independent observer to hear.

What has he to hide, a simple question, and the tape - well that was first mentioned by Cllr Durkin

Not letting go......

Anonymous said...

I think Fillan is Lynn Ball really' she certainly has her attitued

Fillan said...

To 17:36

No and No

look up Fillan on google

However and thank you

Let me remind you of the tape that Cllr Durkin is refusing to allow a independent observer to hear.

What has he to hide, a simple question, and the tape - well that was first mentioned by Cllr Durkin

Not letting go......

Puck said...

I had thought that it was F for Fillan like in that film F for Fengence.

But I've just checked on Wikipedia and find Fillan is the Papacy's cheerleader for the mentally ill.

Well you learn something new everyday.

Anonymous said...

Druid I have followed your blog for sometime but I never thought It would degenerate to such a level as now.

Most of the bloggers' need to get out and get a life. including the cheerleader for the mentally ill.

Fillan said...

To Puck and all others - Thank you for your kind comments

Fillan by the way as in:

Saint Fillan, Filan, Phillan, Fáelán (Old Irish) or Faolan (modern Gaelic) is the name of (probably) two Scottish saints, of Irish origin. The career of a historic individual lies behind at least one of these 'saints' (fl. 8th century), but much of the tradition surrounding 'Fillan' seems to be of a purely legendary character.

But I'm no saint I can tell you, but I do forgive you for all your sins and all that....type of thing...

And the tape of course the tape.....