"Since last summer the Council has made some real progress, particularly in reforming its political structures, tackling instances of poor member behaviour and improving public engagement."
This statement is interesting in many ways. In mentioning progress on tackling "instances of poor member behaviour" it shows that the Board, despite previous claims to be neutral on the issue, tacitly approves of the expulsion of various councillors from the then Original Independents. The comment referring to progress in "reforming its political structures" is puzzling. Political structures must refer to the various political groupings within the council, and possibly to the fact that they have now produced 'statements of aims and values' as they were required to do by the Board. However, as I noted yesterday, there is little point in them doing this unless they then make them publicly available -- something all of them apart from Llais i Fôn have avoided doing despite numerous requests from this blog.
"We have seen some tangible benefits of this in practice, and of members contributing fully and effectively to the business of the council and the challenges that the island faces"
The significance of this statement of course is that it implies previously councillors (total salary & expenses: £760,935) were not engaging with the challenges the island faces...
"However, we believe that recovery remains fragile and that we cannot say it is completely sustainable for the future."
So clearly not all good news then. And theres more, much more:
"[The Recovery Board] were less convinced that members fully appreciated the general and strategic purpose of their role as Councillor. It is this corporate and strategic role that will have to be developed as Anglesey faces the challenge of one of the worst recessions in living memory."
This is also a strange statement insomuch that it implies that many councillors either don't realise or don't appreciate that is they as elected representatives of their ward constituents who are supposed to be setting the strategic direction of the council -- not the officers. As it has been known for some time that there has been tension between councillors and officers at IoACC, this might suggest the reason why. It might also reveal the reason why councillors and non-party groupings have not thought it necessary to produce manifestos until now...
"We have seen the Wales Audit Office draft Corporate Assessment report ... it identifies that the detrimental personality issues that were identified by the Auditor General for Wales last year still persist, if to a lesser extent. It sees only limited progress in strategic policy-making and in the management of human and financial resources, and continuing weaknesses in public accountability"
So after one year of the Recovery Board and numerous direct warnings from Carl Sargeant that the Council is in the 'last chance saloon', some councillors still thinks its a good idea to play personality politics. Regarding "limited progress in strategic policy-making" see my previous comment. I guess we will learn just how much the various groupings at the council have learned when we see how they engage with the Rhosneigr by-election.
"Overall, we agree with the WAO the progress towards recovery has been patchy and would probably not have been achieved without pressure from the Minister through his Board and the MD over the past year. This must be a strong concern given the severe challenges that Anglesey faces in the months and years ahead."
'Strong concern' is putting it mildly.
"I hope you will have recognised by now that the Board is on your side as you move towards recovery. We do not want to say that we have helped recover the Council. The Board wants to say that the Council has recovered itself."
I would say that the whole of Anglesey wants to see that too.
Read the whole letter below:
Recovery Board Letter to All Councillors 27 Sept 2010
UPDATE: I am grateful to The Great Councillini for labouriously typing out the whole letter again to generate the following 'wordle' of the contents:
|click to enlarge|
As Anon 12:56 rightly says, you have to look very hard to find the words "public" and "people"...