How Argyll & Bute Works: The Budget: Update 19 May

I am making no progress on the issue of the project board proposed by Cllr Walsh which meets in secret with nobody seeing papers or minutes. The latest reply on the legitimacy of this project board came yesterday. The emails are shown below.

What has happened in the last hour is that a seminar has been called for elected members on the budget for the next 2 years so perhaps some of the pressure has made an impact. However, we had a day allocated for a seminar for Monday 1 June. Seminars are always on Mondays but the announcement today was to move this to Friday 5 June. This kind of date change should not happen because I suspect a number of people apart from me have other things they are doing that day. It would be easy to despair.

From: mills, susan On Behalf Of Hendry, Douglas Sent: 18 May 2015 10:40 To: Breslin, Michael Cc: Dance, Vivien; Marshall, Bruce; Walsh, Dick; Loudon, Sally Subject: service choices project board [OFFICIAL]

Classification: OFFICIAL


Happy to try to pick this up again, in the following terms:-

1.       The Scheme of Administration and Delegations, Section 1, paragraph 1.1.2 provides that “the Council may appoint such other bodies of Members as they may from time to time consider are required…”.  That covers the Project Board. 

2.       Standing Order 19.2 provides that “Standing Orders marked CS will apply to meetings of any Committee, Sub Committee and Short Life Working Group….”.  This provision is specific in relation to the bodies to which it applies, and does not include Project Boards.

3.       I note your view about the Scheme of approved duties for Members.  My view is that paragraph 1 of the Scheme covers meetings of the Project Board – “attendance by a Member at (an) … event, called or authorised by the Council or any Committee …”. 

4.       I note the views you express in the final paragraph of your email and as I have previously done in regards to previous opinions you have set out in our correspondence, I recognise your right to hold these.  As an officer, however, my advice relates to the competency and legality of the decisions which have been taken, and which you question, and that advice remains unchanged.  The matters with which you take issue regarding how the Council, via the Policy and Resources Committee have decided should be employed to take forward Service Choices are I would respectfully suggest ones which you need to pursue via dialogue with your fellow Elected Members. 

Thanks Douglas.

I was aware of your points 1 and 2 but the fact is that a method has been chosen that denies members any input to this very important process. I repeat what I said: Cllr Walsh has chosen this method of doing business in order to deny most elected members and the public sight of what is going on. That is undemocratic, poor practice and bad governance Douglas.


  1. What is the definition of “Council” used in “Term 1” of his response? Is this the Leader himself, a specific ruling administrative group or all 36 councillors. I suspect its the second and, if so, presumably the ruling group must conduct its affairs in a manner which accords with good corporate governance. As such, if there is a secretive approach to this group’s meetings and activities it is surely in breach of the good corporate governance requirement. The foregoing is probably stating the obvious but have you had confirmation from Charles Reppke that what has been happening amounts to good corporate governance?

    1. Your question about what the “council” is is a good one. In this case it was the policy and resources committee of the council so it may be that this group was unable to agree to set this group up. There has been no attempt to defend my charge that this is very poor corporate governance but I plan to keep asking the question.

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