Here is yet another excellent email from Ardrishaig Parent Council. At an earlier stage they made the point that asking Stand agency to evaluate the data from the “consultation” was akin to asking them to mark their own homework. They are now asking how this was allowed to happen:
We need further clarity regarding Stands analyses of the raw data arising from the consultation exercise and preparation of an analysis report for consideration. There is detailed discussion in the invitation to tender and Stands marketing proposal regarding the remit for communication and engagement etc. however the detail and suitability of Stand in regards to the data analysis is marked by its absence.
In the invitation to tender, under specifics, it lists
• Marketing Strategy and Communications Plan
• Strategy for dealing with negative/unsupportive stakeholders
• Strategy for identifying and utilising advocates to persuade and influence on the concept
• Development of suite of messages to engage with distinct stakeholders and communities
• Provision of concise and well developed presentation for consultation with stakeholders – focus on:
• Outline of communication methods to be adopted
• Detailed timeline of engagement
• Provision of training for individuals involved in public/virtual meetings
• Ongoing dialogue with stakeholders via traditional/social media – to be monitored by contractor and guidance provided on responses
• Facilitation of residual learning throughout the contract
In your email on 26th April regarding the remit of stand you gave this list of specifics with a few additional points namely:
- Detailed consideration of key issues/challenges/risks for each audience and suggested approach for mitigation
- Provision of relevant case studies from contractor illustrating impact – particularly in respect of behavioural change and community engagement
- Details of contractor project team to deliver the brief
Please direct us to the bullet point in this list which refers to Stands responsibility to collate and analyse the raw data?
(Ardrishaig Primary School Parent Council Chair)
And yet more, this time from Garelochead Community Council:
The Gcc stands by its original submission on the proposed education changes.
We fully support objections to this proposal.
Because of the new information that has come to light, namely but not exclusive to, the FOI documents that would indicate this was about cost saving from its inception in 2019, we feel an update of our communities views is necessary.
The community feels (rightfully in our opinion) disgusted, misled, dismayed and angry. We had engagement sessions where council officers stated this was a cost-neutral proposal intended to improve education of our children. They stated they had ‘learned the lessons of 2010’ and were being open, transparent and accountable.
The trust and belief in Council officers has been hugely degraded because of the way this has been handled and will continue to erode further until the proposal is withdrawn and an independent inquiry is held to determine accountability.
We we would ask such an enquiry be held by independent councillors chosen for their ability and not for their political persuasions. This has been a public relations disaster for argyll and bute and we feel it’s negative repercussions will wreak enormous damage for a long time come until action is taken.
That time is now.
Councillors who lead this policy should consider the utter failure it has been and the absolute wrecking ball it has become on the relationship between argyll and bute council and its constituents.
Nothing short of some tangible accountability and action will help on what will be a long road back to a functioning relationship based on trust.
In my next blog, I intend to try and figure out which councillors knew what, and when, about this. I understand some groups are blaming the community services cocmmittee but I think this is wrong because it is clear not every member knew about this. We know Cllr McNeilly knew from the start, but who else did?
The communities need to focus on the guilty, ie those who concealed what was happening from them. That means councillors and officers need to be identified. This ties in with the demand for an enquiry from Garelochhead CC.