Sunday, 3 April 2011

Anglesey Recovery Board advised WAG against sending in Commissioners

It has transpired that the Anglesey Recovery Board advised WAG Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant AGAINST sending in the Commissioners, their final report reveals.

The Recovery Board last convened on January 31st, 2011, and made their own recommendations to Carl Sargeant on how to deal with the new instability at the Council following the failed attempt to force out Leader Clive McGregor at the beginning of January. Until this week WAG had refused to release this final report.

Here are some of the key passages:

"...the Council has made progress under intervention.  But overall ... a sustainable recovery is not reasonably foreseeable by August, at least.  There may be a better chance of this by May 2012; but in view of the speed at which power and loyalties shift within the council and the significant impact that can have, we cannot predict that with confidence."

On what they feel should be the appropriate response:

"We are equally clear that this situation demands some more stringent form of intervention.  This should not be a matter of punishing councillors but rather of ensuring that continued instability does not obstruct or detract from tackling the serious strategic, financial and delivery challenges facing the island.  In other words, any further action needs to address to the particular problems we have identified.  It also needs to encourage, rather than abandon, some of the positive progress and willingness that we have seen." 
"...we believe that, on balance, councillors should not be absolved of all decision-making responsibility.   That would be unfair on those who have shown genuine commitment to the recovery so far. " 
"...retaining some form of decision-making within the council would require councillors to develop and demonstrate a more mature approach to their responsibilities, which would in turn inform a future decision on ending the intervention."

However this is what the Recovery Board had to say about 'further direction', i.e. sending in commissioners:

"we detect a real risk that some councillors could exploit a further direction for their own political ends and thus enhance their chances of re-election in 2012 on a platform of resisting external control.  That sort of continued antagonism cannot be in the interests of the island and its citizens.   Further action needs to require councillors to change their ways; anything which encouraged them to portray themselves as victims or martyrs could be counter-productive."

This advice, of course, was ignored by Carl Sargeant who anyway decided to send in Commissioners.

So what form of 'more stringent' intervention did the Recovery Board recommend? Read on:

  • Reconstituting and renaming the Recovery Board as an Intervention Board, which would adopt a more directly challenging approach to the Council and its executive.

  • The Board should hold the council officers and executive to account on a number of clearly defined issues regularly and in public. Each of these issues to have specific measurable targets and time limits.
  • The Board should reserve the right  to call in some decisions and ask the executive to think again.  This should be limited to major concerns where we think there is undue delay or where an inappropriate decision is about to be made.
  • The Board should be supported by staff, external to the authority, who will identify issues for discussion and provide evidence to be used in reviewing and challenging decisions. There may be some financial provision in the Council’s own budget for training and  corporate renewal.
  • The Board should report publicly and regularly on its work, rather than just making its reports to the Minister available.  This might involve a web page or a column in the local press.
  • The Board and the Council (with the involvement of the Electoral Commission and the main political parties as appropriate) should develop a clear strategy and set of actions to support democratic renewal.
  • An end date should be agreed with David Bowles and the search for a new interim chief executive should begin now.  The power to appoint a chief executive should remain with the Minister, and consideration should be given to withdrawing the power also to appoint other statutory officers.  This would enhance the seriousness of the intervention.

  • Better and more dedicated support should be provided in council and committee meetings to ensure adherence to procedure and guarantee that all members are fairly heard.
  • A review of the concept of Energy Island should take place to determine the Council’s fitness to handle such a major project now and in the future.
  • If this approach does not succeed over a six month period the natural next stage would be the formal withdrawal of executive functions from the Council.

Considering that the members of the Recovery Board had been meeting with all parties over a period of 18 months it is undeniable that they were best placed to advise the Minister on the most appropriate action following January's instability. However Carl Sargeant decided to completely disregarded their recommendations. Why?

Read the whole report below:
31 Jan Recovery Board Report

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why Indeed.
Druid, You may well ask why.

This must make the Recover Board surplus to requirements? In fact, as Carl Sargeant has disregarded their recommendation. what was the point of them in the first place?

A total sham from start to finish.

Anonymous said...

Surly Carl Sargeant and his little band of "doggy boilers" didn't think the People of Anglesey and their Elected Members wouldn't catch on to their underhand activities.

Surly he must know by doing what he has done shows a loss of confidence in his Recovery Board? And that sending in the Commissioners without their support is doomed to failure. Of-coarse he does. That exactly what he's wanted all the time, to make amalgamation with Gwyedd all the much easier

Anonymous said...

Here we go again.
"NHS chief ( Margaret Foster) handled complaint - about her surgeon spouse"
OCT 14 2010.

A Senior health executive dealt with a major complaint over a chain of events involving her surgeon husband without disclosing their relationship, an inquest has heard.

Cwm Taf Health Board Chief Executive Margaret Foster replied to three letters from grieving daughter ......without explaining she was married to senior surgeon Michael Foster.

Mrs......... began searching for answers when her mother ........ died following a routine hemorrhoid operation in July 2006.

Mr Foster was the senior surgeon in charge on the day of the operation, whilst he observed and directed a second emergency procedure.

But Aberdare Coroner's Court heard that despite letters back and forth, Mrs.......only found out her correspondence was being returned by his wife from a family friend who used to work at the hospital".

Oh Carly Boy. you can't half pick Em? "Doggy Boiler" and now this. Whats next Carl, whats next?

Anonymous said...

00:04 - LMAO

It's like putting Beverly Allitt in charge of a creche.

Anonymous said...

How can we expect any sort of sustained recover with a pair of clowns like "Doggy Boiler" and "Conflict of Interest" involved?

If it wasn't true you could never make it up.

Photon said...

With a month to go to election time, I'm now more interested in what the Druid would have done, or proposes could yet be done to improve IOACC, rather than telling us what others have or haven't done.

Anonymous said...

"Human tissue found at site of former hospital"

The Discovery of human tissue, used syringes and blood samples at a site of a derelict hospital in south Wales prompted an inquiry by health officials into what the local NHA trust admits was a botched clean-up operation".

Builders discovered the human remains - which included bones - and records of patient's blood tests, while clearing the site of the former East Glamorgan Hospital in Pontypridd to build a housing estate.

The HSE issued a prohibition notice requiring the developers to cease work until the trust had cleared the site of all medical items and human remains.

Margaret Foster, chief executive of the NHS trust, said the fresh clear-up had taken about three days, and a report was being prepared.

Ms Foster conceded: "We should have cleared the site better".

Could this be the same Margaret Foster who was paid in 2008-09 as chief executive of Cwm Taf NHS Trust £157,000 plus a further £22,000 in pension contributions? and is now one of Carl Sargeant's new Commissioners at the Council on £500 per day + expenses?

Anonymous said...

"Human tissue found at site of former hospital"

The Discovery of human tissue, used syringes and blood samples at a site of a derelict hospital in south Wales prompted an inquiry by health officials into what the local NHA trust admits was a botched clean-up operation".

Builders discovered the human remains - which included bones - and records of patient's blood tests, while clearing the site of the former East Glamorgan Hospital in Pontypridd to build a housing estate.

The HSE issued a prohibition notice requiring the developers to cease work until the trust had cleared the site of all medical items and human remains.

Margaret Foster, chief executive of the NHS trust, said the fresh clear-up had taken about three days, and a report was being prepared.

Ms Foster conceded: "We should have cleared the site better".

Could this be the same Margaret Foster who was paid in 2008-09 as chief executive of Cwm Taf NHS Trust £157,000 plus a further £22,000 in pension contributions? and is now one of Carl Sargeant's new Commissioners at the Council on £500 per day + expenses?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Mick Giannasi retired as the Chief Constable of Gwent Police force having only been in the job since September 2008?

Boring Bob said...

it was right to send in the Commissioners, as the Recovery Board was simply tolerating a continuation of the status quo, despite all the flowery language to suggest otherwise.

All the while the people of Anlgesey were continuing to be badly served. So the Minister acted correctly, in fact if there is any criticism of him, it is that he didn't do this sooner.

Get real, people!

kp said...

Quite agree with you Bob, WAG (& Carl Sargeant) has tried to act in the best interests of the people of Anglesey. Or so I hope.

Leadership is about taking a stand, a stand that can be justified once all the information has been taken into account.

I applaud the decision.

And I wonder why our prospective AM does not?

Anonymous said...

And I wonder why our prospective AM does not?

'Cos it's a Labour minister making the decision - it's an easy Conservative target.

Paul Williams said...

"I applaud the decision.

And I wonder why our prospective AM does not?"

I do support the decision to send in Commissioners. I even went to the lengths of sending them an open letter with hopefully some helpful advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of the previous intervention:

http://druidsrevenge.blogspot.com/2011/03/open-letter-to-angleseys-commissioners.html

The recovery board report however above shows that there was also a good case for not sending in commissioners ("some councillors could exploit a further direction for their own political ends and thus enhance their chances of re-election in 2012 on a platform of resisting external control") and it is perfectly legitimate to ask the question of why this advice was ignored.

Thats said, I, like most Ynys Môn residents, was heartened that Sargeant did take some decisive action. However I am extremely disappointed with the actual people selected to be commissioners: a fellow Labour politician from Carl Sargeant’s home of Flintshire, a retired assembly member, a retired chief constable, a retired NHS Trust chief executive, and a retired council chief. With the exception of the latter, one wonders exactly what skills the rest have that are relevant to a Local Authority in trouble?

A lot now rides on this intervention being a success but it increasingly appears to be less an exercise in turning around Anglesey Council and more about providing jobs for a favoured few.

Anonymous said...

SPOT ON Paul.

Couldn't put it better myself. It's quite remarkable how many people chose to make comments before they've taken the time to see the full picture.

kp said...

The intervention has, to some extent, already been a success ... WAG has intervened!

We now need to focus on the two remaining challenges:

1. To balance the books of IoCC .... to secure improved services for considerably less expense, to reduce council tax charges commensurately.

2. To investigate any wrongdoings within IoCC, and, if any to punish the perpetrators.

Let's give the new guys a chance to prove their worth.

Boring Bob said...

agree with kp above (1347) re balancing the books and investigating wrongdoings; quite a tall order by 2012, I would say.

In fact the likely outcome is either amalgamation with Gwynedd or a referendum for an elected mayor, which is successful, followed by a Mayoral election.

In terms of cost, transparency and accountability, this would be preferable to an eight/nine person executive (where as we have seen a few continually, and to the detriment of the Council,jockey to be King Chicken).

Paul Williams said...

"1. To balance the books of IoCC .... to secure improved services for considerably less expense, to reduce council tax charges commensurately."

KP, when I suggested that Commissioners with accountancy skills were necessary on Friday you didn't entirely agree!

kp said...

Paul, what I tried to say on Friday was that management consultants and accountants are not experts at 'doing'. They can account for what has been done, historic, and state what might happen in the future if such and such is done.

They don't take responsibility for 'doing' anything themselves.

IoACC (got it right this time!) needs to 'do'. And for that it needs do'ers.

Thatcher and Blair were do'ers (Major & Brown were not). We need people like this at the head of IoACC.

Anonymous said...

KP,are you a doer? If so, stand as a Candidate in the next County Council elections, your more than welcome and there's plenty of uncontested seats to go at.

Anonymous said...

The Recovery Board's report is generic in it's content.

We have known for years that some of the Councillors are political slags who will jump into bed with any party.

A prime example was the birth of the Radical Independents which is the love child of a Political Gang-bang.

Callthecops999

Groundhog Day said...

KP - you're nuts! As someone said on another blog you keep ranting on about services and council tax on the island. Despite having a bag of nails in terms of cllrs we have received very good services on the whole at reasonable rates of council tax. Have a look at how much you'd pay just cross the bridge in Gwynedd and if you think you can get it cheaper there or elsewhere for that matter then feel free to move and stop your whingeing, if you want services then you have to pay for them and you will pay less here than most other places - no I do not include Westminster in the equation.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of Political slags.

The Liberal/Conservative pact are political transvestites who bend both ways.

Maggie Snatcher was a bitch and it's complete crap about her being an Iron Lady. It was the British Armed Forces and not her who liberated the Falklands and stemmed the bloodshed in Northern Ireland.

What really pisses me off is that her spoilt brat of a son was fined a mere $500,000 and received a suspended sentence for 'coup de'etat' in Equatorial New Guinea. The sole purpose of this was to control the countries mineral deposits. Murderer.

Anonymous said...

The mis-management of this Council was for years encouraged and nurtured by a breed of selfish ignorant politically incompetent Councillors, who were there for their own gain only.

The Commissioners were installed to investigate the mess and cut the heads off the evil hydra that we allowed to fester here on Anglesey. The Assembly have realised that the mess that was allowed, sorry, encouraged to fester and grow, grew out of control, and warning bells started to ring on Cardiff, that if nothing was done, then action would be forced to be done, by the people.

The recovery board got it wrong, they should have called in the Commissioners when the Recovery Board started, that way, we would have seen a better change, now, we must all wait and have faith, in the light of freedom and democracy being allowed to shine on this dark, evil despotic Council.

Richard Sletzer said...

The Anglesey Recovery Board may be drawing its generous funding from Welsh taxpayers – but is it really delivering anything remotely useful to them in return? No. …..As usual it is just pussy-footing around the issues.

The Board has gone through all the necessary motions to produce its 10th report in order to justify its members' staggeringly high fees but again the board dances around the issues, issues warnings which amount to nothing more than vague generalities, and ,as usual goes out of its way to- avoid naming and shaming anybody

The Board in fact states loftily “We have no interest in personalities” - as if the chaos in IoACC wasn't entirely down personalities. If they're not interested in personalities they damn well should be – and they should also be informing taxpayers who is causing the problems.

The report states the Board had received “personal assurances from leading Councillors” that “they would not destabilise the administration” - but despite these assurances the Board says the Councillors renaged on these assurances. The Board however neglects to tell us – or anyone else – who these councillors were . Why?.

The Board says there is a there is a “silent majority of councillors who support changing the council’s political culture” but they have “remained largely silent”. Who are they? Let's have the names.

The Board says “we detect a real risk that some councillors could exploit a further direction for their own political ends and thus enhance their chances of re-election in 2012 on a platform of resisting external control.”

…..But again we don't get the names. And as so many councillors stand as independents the voting public will – as things stand remain in ignorance of the crass behaviour of these cretins.

So let's send the report back to the board . Let's tell them to fill in the blanks and give us the names and the details. This nonsense has gone on long enough. The public has the right to receive the whole truth – not the safe, anodyne, useless expurgated version.

The Red Flag said...

The thing is all these Boards and Bodies and Commissioners and Ministers fail because they simply will not do what the inhabitants of this island want - anything but.

The Commissioners are doomed to fail for a few reasons one of which is again that they will make their recommendations not ours.

But then again the Commissioners are supposed to fail to justify the amalgamation.

Anonymous said...

We have no interest in personalities,says the recovery board, but, these are the same personalities that have driven this Council into the sewer, maybe they believe that the residents of this Island deserves to live at that level.

If they want the people to question the credibility of the Commissioners, then they are going the right way about it.

Anonymous said...

I like the comment " fitness to handle a major project like the Energy Island" she should had been more honest and stated quite openly that the council was

" unfit to handle a major project like the Energy Island"

And that is what we have, an Island on it's knees, with the blame fair and square on the Council.

The Red Flag said...

On oter matters, India has just ad a 5.7 quake. Guess what was nearby - 2 nuclear reactors.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/newdelhi/Atomic-power-stations-in-quake-hit-North-India-safe-NPCIL/Article1-681281.aspx

The Red Flag said...

My apologies - meant to put it on the Nuclear quote of the day thread but it somehow ended up here. I hall shove it there now.

Rumourmonger said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Uncle Max said...

The Red Flag:

"But then again the Commissioners are supposed to fail to justify the amalgamation."

I wouldn't presume. It is equally possible for there to be new elections for a 35 member council or for an elected mayor, after a referendum.

Either would be preferable to amalgamation with Gwynedd.

If a new exec council, then with new faces, while if an elected mayor then with none of the present councillors even considered, let alone running, for the post.

Change is coming, and it is with the end of the old guard in Llangefni, whichever model is chosen.

Anonymous said...

Change to a lot of us, includes openness and investigations into misuse of power, have the Commissioners the balls to do this or will they fail due to the instability we have here on the Island.

Will they( the commissioners) do the decent thing and look at complaints that the people have, or will they just look into the complaints the Councillors have against each other?
He's got more planning than me! He's on more committees than me!

We know what we want, we want the Commissioners to help the people, we have had enough of the Councillors helping themselves!

Anonymous said...

I have a funny feeling that in May, there will be a serious surprise on Anglesey, Ieuan Wyn Jones will be voted out, and thanks to the intervention of the Assembly and the Commissioners, Labour will win the Assembly election.

Anonymous said...

7.46 ...and pigs might fly.
the Labour leader trying to get rid of clive in January caused these problems!!

Photon said...

I think that the comments - and I don't criticise most of them - show that we are now in a bit of a dark period; we don't really know what's going on, or how things are going.

The silence from Llangefni is deafening, and regular informants have disappeared. One would suspect some form of silencing is going on.

They say a lot about renewing democracy here, but I've heard a couple of people have tried to show an interest, and have been left with no reply, despite a new 'democracy' e-mail apparently being dedicated for the purpose.

My money, and it's worth no more than anyone else's, is that the Commissioners are here to provide a bit fo breathing space whilst the May election comes and goes, and then real decisions about the future of Anglesey as a council can be made.

Prometheuswrites said...

Photon said: "... the Commissioners are here to provide a bit of breathing space whilst the May election comes and goes, and then real decisions about the future of Anglesey as a council can be made".

I concur. A holding position till the political lay of the land is settled in the Assembly election.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's the lull before the storm, or maybe, they are getting ready to transfer us all over to Gwynedd. How will we react to that decision? Maybe, we need to consider the legality of that decision, when it gets dropped on us.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed a lack of responses to the posting as of recently, have they all been asked to keep quiet out of loyalty to the new arrivals? It's a shame that they didn't have such loyalty to the people who elected them and paid their allowances for years.

Still, that is me, I'm never happy unless there is some issue that needs investigating, we could be in for a pleasant surprise though, maybe the intervention has brought up serious concerns and complaints that will be investigated but there again, this is Anglesey, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Anonymous said...

If anyone can point me to a bigger failure than Bowles and Co please do.

Prior to Bowles, the Council was been managed by Mr Richard Parry-Jones, as and Interim Managing Director following Derrick Jones going. Now after Bowles, we have Mr Richard Parry- Jones again.

We've turned full Circle with nothing more done than a total disaster at great cost to the public purse, with a lot more to come?

Anonymous said...

The arrival of the Commissioners was supposed to herald a new dawn in Anglesey, my impression at the moment that there does NOT seem to be a great deal of urgency by them to communicate with the citizens.

It seems that their arrival has created a legal crisis in the Assembly, maybe, their arrival is in breach of the Assembly's own constitutional code.

The interference by an unwanted Assembly into the affairs of an unwanted Council creates an unwashed and unfair Council, with no leader and no overall confidence by the Citizens of Ynys Mon.

Anonymous said...

The Assemble will regret their merry-go-round interfering. For one, it will cost IWJ his seat and create a political vacuum within the council. Sending in the commissioners now will have no effect in the way the councils being run and they as with Bowles will fail. Why? Because its all been done in an ultra virus manner.

Anonymous said...

Does ultra virus mean the same as dan din, but the whole place has been run dan din for years.

Anonymous said...

14:08
Probably.