Confusion Over Who Sanctioned New Senior Officer Roles

town hall 4There’s confusion in the Council about who sanctioned two Senior Officer roles that are being advertised on their website.

Their advertisement is news to the Council Chairman, who says the recruitment drive could be pulled.

The notices recruiting a new Head of Infrastructure and Head of Strategic Development and Environmental Services went up on the ‘Job Vacancies’ section on Friday.

Both will attract a salary in the range of £50,000 to £60,000.

The Council sent Radio Scilly a statement saying the new roles were the latest stage in the Council’s restructuring process. But we’ve since learned that senior officers and councillors were unaware that they were being advertised at all.

Chair of Council Amanda Martin said she didn’t sign off the adverts and had expected the second phase of restructuring to be handled by the new Chief Executive, Theo Leijser, when he starts work in the New Year.

Press Officer George Pearson says the new recruits will report to Director of Place, Craig Dryden.

Amanda says she met with Craig to discuss the appearance of the adverts yesterday but speaking afterwards Amanda says she’s still none the wiser as to who sanctioned them.

She says she was very clear that no decision should be taken without consulting Theo and genuinely doesn’t know if that has happened.

Amanda says she’s “not satisfied” with the timing and is “taking steps to ensure the matter is sorted.”

The restructuring package was voted through by elected members earlier this year, and Amanda says that should already have been implemented.

But administrative and HR delays have meant the process has taken longer than expected.

Radio Scilly had received several comments from members of the community asking why these roles were being advertised when the Council is cutting back on expenditure.

But Amanda says it doesn’t necessarily mean paying more as some roles are being condensed.

She says it’s not a big issue to get the roles retracted as they’ve only been advertised on the Council’s website so far.

18 Responses to Confusion Over Who Sanctioned New Senior Officer Roles

  1. Neil December 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I’d be careful about rushing to surrender control over your island home. Other similar islands have done this and the mainland quickly decides that the islands cost too much and make quick efforts to drive people off, such as ending subsidies for travel, defunding schools so that anyone with kids moves off, and putting roads and runways on a back burner. If you want to stay inhabited and functioning, you need to do more as a single, united community. The folks on the mainland will never protect you are hoping that islanders will fight internally and kill themselves off. Don’t fall for this age old strategy. You must set aside differences, find consensus, and stop badmouthing any fellow islander who just happens to disagree with you. Too many comments on these blogs are just angry vitriol and those are the chinks in the armor that your mainland foes will exploit.

    • Peter December 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Neil: point taken. I’m not sure though that talk of mainland “foes” is necessarily right, but I get your drift. If Mr N Nobbs is right in saying that the only way Scilly Council’s extravagance can be funded is via central government or European subsidies then, as a UK tax-payer, I now have every right to rant on this website as MY hard-earned money (not just that of Scillonians) is being used to fund this tin-pot set-up. If Neil is right though, then maybe a mainland-based governing body would indeed see Scilly as a low priority. So, if we are going to prevent the further decline of Scilly by keeping a Scilly Council, then we had better make sure it is efficiently, economically and scrupulously run. And yet even just in the last few months, there have been outrageous events related to the council which just beggar belief: the alleged leaking of private information about the former headteacher, which must by definition have had as its source someone in the council (not aware that a head rolled for that one), the alleged long-term cover-up of information about toxic waste emanating from the Alp adjacent to the old school (not aware that a head rolled for that one), and the confusion over the advertising of apparently non-existent highly-paid jobs (not aware that a head rolled for that one). What else don’t we know about?

      • Mr N Nobbs January 2, 2014 at 10:55 pm

        So much more, but it always gets moderated for legal reasons!

  2. John Allsop December 26, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Hum- We don,t yet live in Scilly, 2014 is our expected date to return, does this council know what it,s doing, from all the comments it seems unlikly except receive nice pay packets.

  3. Peter December 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I’ve said it many times here before that from the evidence on this site, most Scilly councillors could not organise a beer-drinking event in a beer-making factory. I also keep saying that Scillonians would be doing themselves a favour by swallowing their pride and asking for the dissolution of Scilly Council so that the running of the islands could be taken over by Cornwall Council. Economies of scale are just one argument in favour. There are many more.

    Would someone please solve a mystery for me? I pay council tax of around £1300.00 per year (band C). This is for an area of about a million people, I’d guess. Let’s say what I pay is about average. If half the population pays council tax, that gives a budget of £650 million for my parish, district and county councils, plus for fire and police authorities. With a population in Scilly of about 2000 (with the most generous estimate being that a thousand are council tax payers) and all these senior officers being paid £60K at least (only ten such officers would give a total of £600,000, not including employers’ on-costs), let alone the cleaners, clerical staff, equipment, dustbin lorries, buildings, stationery etc etc, I genuinely do not see how the books can even get anywhere near balancing. If the council tax for band C is £1300.00, like mine, that would give a budget of £1.3 million, which is just not possible. Either Scillonians pay astronomical council taxes or I’m missing something here. Anyone help? What is the annual council tax for a band C property in Scilly?

    • Mr N Nobbs December 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Dear Peter,
      One can only agree with you
      The shortfall is made up from government or European subsidy’s.
      Dissolution of the ios Council should be a priority of central government, as they would save a fortune, however I believe the islands are divided over that horey old Chestnut along the lines of age and lineage.

      • Richard January 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm

        For the average local authority in England, between 20 and 30% of its income is from Council Tax. The vast majority comes from central government in the form of the revenue support grant and the ‘non-domestic rates’, which are distributed by the Deot for Communities and Local Govt. European money is counted separately and must be used for specific projects.

        • Peter January 2, 2014 at 9:19 pm

          Richard: thank you. That answers my question. It also means, as I stated in another post on this topic, that I, as an interested non-Scillonian but a UK tax-payer, have every right to express an opinion on the state of Scilly’s generally abysmal, incompetent and wasteful council.

  4. Mr N Nobbs December 26, 2013 at 9:34 am

    One would assume that the HR department would be responsible for issuing job advertisements. One must also assume that only certain people are able to update the council website, so that would be a good place to start looking for the culprit.
    Mistakes happen and this one has been rectified and Cllr Simms has responded in his usual open and honest manor, so no harm done, however one does have to question, the need for all these high paid roles that have been created. One feels the need to question the councils reasoning behind employing half a dozen senior managers all on £60k pa plus their manager (Craig on £70k pa) plus a ceo on £100k pa just to administer to the needs of 2200 people.
    The council are supposed to be balancing the books, not adding to expenditure.

    I seriously think the council should make the reduction of councillors their number one priority in the new year. 21 councillors for 2200 people is ridiculous.

    • Silee Auld Peersoon December 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Mr Nobbs

      Quite frankly I’m really upset by your comments and constant negative attitude.

      I think the council provides excellent value for money.

      I could list at least 10 things they do well to every 1 which goes badly wrong. – Well I would do if I could think of anything, so there.

      Let that be a lesson to you.

  5. mpr December 25, 2013 at 12:08 am

    Nothing ever changes at the Town Hall does it. Even though I have no connection with the Authority, I heard only two days ago from a Council employee that these two new positions were in the pipeline. In the meantime our elected officials plead ignorance, hide behind a veil of ‘we haven’t been informed’ convenience and deny any knowledge of impending restructuring. Who is kidding who here and when are the Councillors going to come clean on the decisions they have made collectively on supposedly saving money on staffing levels.

  6. Tom December 24, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    The next ‘headline story’ is Royal Navy SAR crew head out 170 miles into the Atlantic, in force 9 conditions, in the dark, to the end of their endurance, risking running out of fuel, in a civilian role, with families at home, on Xmas eve, etc etc etc……….
    My point being…..
    These men earn less than what these 2 council roles are offering, for a job that has nil responsibility, nil accountability, strolling to work at 9am, hour off at lunch, strolling home at 4.30 and weekends off.
    What a joke this council, its officers, and its elected members are.

  7. Jann December 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    It is far, far past time that people are made answerable to actions and decisions they make! how on earth can no one know who posted the ad’s??
    Another instance of No Authority in the Authority? Or maybe they thought it was just a board game they were playing instead of working?
    You are not just looking “Foolish” here but thanks to Radio Scilly the whole world.

  8. another islander December 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I completely endorse Amanda’s statement.

    Understandable Steve, as I have heard you openly say that you are an Amanda Martin supporter.

    • Steve Sims December 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Dear An,

      Thanks for your comment below.

      However with respect to the one above. I’m endorsing what Amanda said because I was in the room when Amanda, Craig and myself were trying to work out what had happened. But above and beyond that I am a supporter of Amanda, if not (largely) for her the authority would be where it was 14 months ago or 20 years ago.

      A mistake was made (whether in communication or in action or in terms of timing or all three) and Amanda has dealt with it. What else would you expect, it’s her job. The ads have now been retracted.

  9. another islander December 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    To quote Steve – apart from the authority looking foolish, which is hardly a first, is it?

    Honestly said Steve, which is no less than what I would have expected from you.

    I have every hope you will ensure that you and your colleagues will all singing from the same sheet in the New Year.

    Festive greetings to you all.

  10. Steve Sims December 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I completely endorse Amanda’s statement. Yesterday afternoon Amanda, myself and Craig were completely at a loss about what had happened and where it had come from . As far as I knew the rest of the restructuring process would be handled by the new CEO (Theo Leijser) who starts in early Jan. Which is the obvious way forward.

    I think it would be far to say that this is yet another instance of the authority not being joined up. No harm done though, apart from the authority looking foolish, which is hardly a first, is it?

  11. another islander. December 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

    There’s confusion in the Council.

    Forgive me if am not surprised.

    When events take place that the boss is unaware of, there is usually a good reason for it.