Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Gourock in Inverclyde

Did you hear the one about the Scottish Council that had a plan to make vast efficiency savings of £1.9 million pounds a year? No?

Oh, well listen; it’s a good one.

So, this council got hold of Price Waterhouse Coopers and they paid them £650,000. Well worth it, you might think, and you’d be probably be right, if it weren’t for one small glitch. The council’s expected £1.9 m savings actually turned out to be only £250,000.

So, you wonder, who could have come up with such a stupid scheme? And the answer is corporate director Paul Wallace, heads of service John Arthur and Gordon McLoughlin, and head of IT project management Arun Menon, all of whom have (and you might think, quite rightly) been suspended from work.

You might think it a little less right that they are suspended on full pay, a collective £6,000 a week. But you would surely be completely dumbfounded if I told you that the suspensions have lasted 17 weeks, yes 17 weeks, so far. And that is just the investigation. After that has concluded, the nature of any disciplinery action will have to be decided.

Those carrying out the investigations into what went wrong and who is to blame are apparently lost and bamboozled as they struggle to sort out the mess, and no one is very sure how much longer the group of suspendees will continue to be paid generously at the expense of the local council taxpayer and the population of Scotland.

John Mundell, who is the chief executive of Inverclyde with overall responsibility for the project, and whom you might have reasonably though would have also been suspended, but hasn’t been, has been accused of failing to convene meetings of the steering group. Of course at that level of management, you’d have expected one of the others to mention this to him... and if he refused, to call the meetings himself, or pass on concerns to an elected member who could take appropriate action.

But it does seem to me that expecting anything except the unexpected of Inverclyde, is probably not a good bet. In that light you probably won't be surprised to know that the scheme with all its shortcomings, is still being operated.

I wonder if there is any connection between this farce and the fact that in February the Leader of the council, and of the Labour group, Mr Stephen McCabe stepped down from that role to “spend more time with his family”.


  1. snp = lies, hypocrisy and lies. UNION TILL I DIE.

  2. (p.s I have had a drinking session with uncle lABOUR mp so ... i'm stupid enouhg to think zanuliebore George Fulks is 'decent' (LOL)

  3. Tris.

    Typical of Labour run/lead councils, they think money grows on trees. Blimey I wouldn't mind being suspended for 17 weeks on full pay though.

    I don't mean to run council staff down but lets be honest they don't exactly attract the best caliber at top level and any accountancy firm would just roll over them for every penny they could get.

    I feel sorry for the real staff at the other end of the spectrum and it will be they who will ultimately lose out when the cooncil has to recoup some money.

  4. Dean SNP = Sensible New Policies, Super Nice Party, Supberb 'n' Practical Searching New Powers, Scotland's National Party.

    And you shouldn't post when you're in your CUPS (Conservative and Unionst Party of Scotland).

    I don't know where your spelling came from (SNP=LHL?) but if your uncle is his Baronness the ffoulkes nobleman blokey, then I begin to understand.

    I hope you had a good night out!

  5. Allan:

    The spend money like water. Why it takes 17 weeks to carry out an investigation I have no idea. All you need is to give a short period (about a week, if I remember my industrial law) to have a hearing.

    I can imagine that the complexity of this situation might require someone to be working on it for a little longer, but I can't see 4 months being reasonable. A good start would be: Why did a scheme of which you were in charge, that was supposed to save nearly £2 million, end up saving 1/8 th of that, and come in at a loss? Discuss.

    In addition to this cost, it is likely that other people down the line will have had to be paid "acting up" money (I know, I always laugh at that) to do their boss's job while he's off on full pay doing sod all!

  6. I wonder how the Inverclyde by-election will go. With the SNP's advance in polling for the English Parliament will their fillip be enough to give them their 7th MP and overturn Labour's 14K majority?

    It would certainly put further wind up the Labour party if we could overcome all their local advantages, like a well liked local MP who dies tragically, their usual in-built west Scotland weigh the votes majority etc, to take the seat.

    I see that the Unionists are in mild disarray. With the Lib Dems (and others) saying that Michael Moore is not up to defending the union and should be replaced by someone who is not so tainted with the new “toxic” brand in Scotland. Some say that old lush Charles Kennedy. But who’s to say that he would not climb into a bottle the minute any pressure is applied, he is just totally unreliable.

    Labour have appointed a gruesome threesome headed up by Jim Murphy. With all these wars going on does Jim have the time to be coming up here and giving oor Alex that supposed pasting? Oh and the English Parliament’s shadow Scottish Secretary whatshername (I can never remember) and one other who I have never heard of either. But sadly not Gordon Brown....the dream team eh!

    The Tories have their self-appointed saviour of the Unionverse, none other than slavering wind-bag extraordinaire his grace the Baron Drumlean, who has not won an electoral contest since God was a lad. Is he not a bit like Mrs Thatcher but without the frock and handbag, and the brains and the “never having lost an election” thing.

    I’m sure Alex is looking forward to taking up cudgels with team Quisling. So “bring it on”!

  7. See what that drunken Tory did.


    blogID: 2092475090824666694
    postID: 9181652420885655400
    uri: /comment-iframe.g

    Tris Scotland Not Poverty, Scotland National Pride,.........

  8. Yes munguin, it would be a real bonus if we could win that seat.

    But Cairns was a good constituency MP, and added to that he died at a tragically young age. There will be a huge sympathy vote for him.

    I don't know why they are all wetting themselves about the independence question now. It's not on the agenda yet.

    Michael Forsyth is wrking himself up to a wee frenzie about it, which is not good for him at his age.

    He says we hid nationalsim on page 28 of the manifesto... missing teh fact that we are not called teh Scottish National Party for nothing.

    If we had wanted to hide it we might have changed our name to the Breakfast Cereal Party and taken the referendum right out of the manifesto. Duh.

    Oh well, they will huff and puff and then they will run out of steam and it will be forgotten while we get on with running a much happier country.

  9. Erm... what CH... That's us....

    We're not drunk, but most of all we are NOT Tories!!

  10. Couldn't post tris got message and thought that red rosette loving Tory Dean had buggered up the blog like they are screwing up the economy.

    This cheered me up, enjoy.

  11. You have returned from outer space!

  12. testing testing 1 , 2 , 3-------------------

  13. All the bloody comments have disappeared !!!

    But yeah... back now CH :).

  14. Ah, it's working Hugh.

  15. All the bloody comments have disappeared !!!

    Bet Dean can't remember his even if he remembers visiting and his affection for Ffoookes.

  16. LOL

    I'm sure he'd prefer not to be reminded of this!!