Council To Review Boat Service Tenders

st marys harbour tripper boats scillonianThe Council is to review the way it procures boating services.

The authority spends a significant sum each year on boats to the off-islands, mainly for children attending school and non-school activities as well as for staff and councillors.

Spokesman George Pearson says the Council is planning to meet in early May to discuss potential options for boat services.

He says the outcomes will then be brought back to Policy & Resources for councillors to consider.

The review is one of the first proposals to come out of the new, detailed ‘Forensic Checks’ of Council finances, introduced by members to ensure they’re obtaining value for money.

7 Responses to Council To Review Boat Service Tenders

  1. Pete Scott April 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Like the rest of the UK, The Scillies have a geography which dictate the transport arrangement for schooling. The decision has been taken for many years to board KS2 children at Mundersley, and also board KS4 students in Truro. Those particular decisions were based on what was considered best for the children involved. The decisions to commit funding to those arrangements was made democratically by responsible parties because it was felt that the benefits to the families and children outweighed the costs involved. The same types of decisions are made in rural areas across the land. On Arran in the Western Isle for example the single secondary school on the Island offers opportunities for further and higher education at KS4 and beyond- in that respect is contrasts with Scilly. However the just as on Scilly, the Educational Authority and the School Governors looked at the options which were best for their island and made choices which focused on producing the best social and educational outcome for the whole community.

    Of course it may be that there is a genuine case for reviewing transport and boarding arrangements. It may be that the current arrangements could be changed without jeopardising the highly successful arrangements currently in place. Frankly I doubt it. Neither would I want to put my name to an experiment which has the potential to do so much deep and lasting damage to not only the Five Islands School, but the social fabric of the islands.

    Current simplistic solutions offered on this board and which seek to change transport and boarding arrangements primarily to balance a general council deficit, but which ignore the social and educational consequences for what is after all a very successful school and community are shallow and ultimately vacuous. But there again – perhaps what else might be expected from an author who is a self declared ‘irrelevant and fictional character’.

  2. Charlie April 28, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! Not the Mundersley debate again please, I can already feel my blood starting to boil! The teachers don’t boat to school, they live off island and with a minimum of 2 boats required daily just from the island I live on the boat fees would go through the roof! And of course you would actually then have to pay staff to escort the children there and back – quite a few of them if you close the bases and have 4 year olds commuting.

  3. George Kershaw April 27, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I travel down with the Council staff that you speak of and I know that they pay every penny themselves towards transport from off islands. Get your facts right!
    I don’t know where you get the idea that the council pay for their journey to work?
    As for the councillors I agree I’m sure some issues could be delt with over a video link or telephone call, but they have to attend meetings as that is part of the constitution and has been for years.
    Why are you hiding behind a false name?
    I don’t understand why people do this, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, its a free country. Put your real name behind your comments for them to be valid!

    • Nobby Nobbs April 27, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Disagree George,
      The number of times I’ve been on a boat and a councillor has been on board and asked for the trip to be charged to the councils account has been numerous over the years, ditto council staff.

      Perhaps if the council adopted a transparent approach and published ‘detailed’ accounts of the councils boating costs, stating the person making the trip, the reason for the trip and the cost of the trip, then it would prove the argument one way or the other.
      I also imagine that level of transparency alone would reduce the councils boat bill.

      With the introduction of high speed broadband to the islands next year, there is no need for all this inter-island travel by council staff, the councils IT dept could set up video links for the relevant people, or perhaps provide a video link in each community hall, then all the community could use it, perhaps to sit on on council meetings etc.

      As to my real name, I’m a fictional character, so its irrelevant

      • George Kershaw April 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm

        As you say you are a fictional character so I hold your comment invalid and irrelevant, I can only speak from my own personal experience and I know the people that I share a boat with pay their own fares from their own pockets. Simple as that. I don’t comment unless I know things from my own experience that way I don’t have to hide behind a stupid name as I speak the truth as I have seen it.

  4. Capt Price April 27, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Value for money. Hmmm, let’s start with ditching the council’s use of jet boats for staff and councillors and think of some cheaper alternatives. For one, staff can make their own way to work out of their own pockets. Every other member of staff, albeit the director of finance himself, pays for their own way back and forth to work so why not the off islanders? It was their choice to take up a position with thr council and work predominantly on St. Mary’s so they can deal with the implications of this themselves.

    Secondly, councillors should think whether they really need to go back and forth to St. Mary’s for work related matters. A simple phone call would probably solve most things, and all other appointments could be done via video conferencing or skype.

    Thirdly, a huge money pit for off island travel and for the community as a whole is Mundesly. But let’s not drag that topic up again…

    • Nobby Nobbs April 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Will you be my friend 🙂

      If the council closed off island school bases and Mundersley, it would more than off set the cost of shipping the kids over each day and it would eliminate the need to give school staff a return trip to each off island everyday, a win win situation as far as I can see.

      Cut hard cut deep!