Council Says Getting Quality Staff Is Biggest Risk

town hall windows signThe biggest risk facing Scilly’s Council is their inability to recruit and retain high quality staff.

That’s what councillors will be told at next week’s Finance, Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

The dangers facing the authority have been highlighted in a new ‘risk register’ produced following criticism from independent auditors that the authority didn’t have in place a robust process to identify these.

The risks have been scored based on their potential impact and how likely they are to occur.

Not being able to get the right staff scored the maximum value.

To back that up, the report says the Council has struggled to find two full time accountants, carers for Park House and a manager for the ‘Smart Islands’ project.

That’s the Town Hall’s vision for an island-wide initiative using software and Wi-Fi to manage demand on the electrical supply and potentially save power and money.

The Council report claims that the work environment, including the quality of the buildings and offices, lower salaries than the mainland and problems finding housing mean it’s hard to keep staff here.

But officers say a planned investment in training roles and increasing the number of ring-fenced homes for critical Council staff will significantly help the situation.

Changes to legislation such as water and sewage, as well as the on going devolution process in Cornwall have also been identified as upcoming threats.

Councillors ‘over promising’ on the services that can be delivered if government funding is cut and a “collapse” in the Council’s computer systems, leading to loss of key data are also on the list.

The Authority also believes there’s a high likelihood that they could face litigation in the future, and that poor record keeping could make it difficult to defend their case.

They’re planning to improve their data handling and say that having a dedicated legal officer in place, as well as a new whistleblowing policy, will help to reduce the risk of that happening.



12 Responses to Council Says Getting Quality Staff Is Biggest Risk

  1. Ewart December 8, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    “Getting quality staff” The reason for not getting staff is quite simply,a dead end position. Any Officer wanting to progress their careers would realize that upon reading the comment
    in these pages, regarding the activities of the Council, they would never be called to an interview for another Local Government post.

  2. Charlie North December 7, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Lifelong Learning would be in the same position as the council in attracting someone to the islands with the skills to teach accountancy; poor wages, no housing and infernal internal wrangling.

  3. Peter Laverock December 5, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I think it is time to call a halt to references to Theo Leijser as ‘the Dutchman’ because race is irrelevant and it is reinforcing unpleasant divisive attitudes which do not belong to modern society. Let everyone who lives on the islands be judged by their character and what they achieve for the community as a whole.

    • S.Y. Cophant December 8, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      Quite so,
      most importantly we must all remember to practice what we preach.

  4. Fred Up December 4, 2015 at 7:44 am

    More litigation! More poor record keeping! How much this time Dear Linguist?

  5. Simon Muir November 26, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Anyone think that our very well paid member of staff might be preparing the ground for his failure to come up with the goods? Can you imagine how this will be received by his existing staff? “We are looking for better but in the meantime we are struggling along with you”
    Here’s a message for the Linguist and the Diminishing Dutchman, we were asked to believe that things would get better and that the promised land was just around the corner! Must be the longest bend in the universe.
    Give us all a break and call in the receivers.

    • Adam Morton, St.Martins December 4, 2015 at 8:26 am

      I think said Dutchman is actually laying the ground for new open market housing for Council officers in the upcoming local plan (to attract the right caliber of applicants)! No secret about this, I was told so by his deputy at our public meeting. You build a house for 300k and then have an asset worth 600k .Sweet!

  6. Brian Blessed November 25, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    No wonder why young locals never come back, the housing is sparse unless they live with their elderly parents, rent is high, the courses at Lifelong learning are basically ‘hobbies’. Even if they lived in Penzance they’ll always be a college offering accountancy, bookkeeping and other finance courses to gain skills and what not. It’s far too easy for a big fish from the mainland to waltz over and take the bigger roles when all the locals have done is basically fishing, farming, airport and bar work

  7. mary November 25, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Alis , Just tell them what sort of job you would like and I expect they will make one up for you ! I imagine our ‘climate control’ officer probably needs an assistant

    • Alis December 2, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      That would be fantastic if it were possible, but sadly I suspect not all that practical… but if Scilly is ever in need of another librarian, or anyone in the museum then you can bet I’ll get in touch pretty darn fast! In the meantime I’ll just keep my eyes peeled for anything else that could suit 🙂

  8. Marlon November 24, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I don’t ever recall seeing an advert for a Smart Islands project? Can someone point me in the direction of a link??

    Has the Council tried employing ‘Trainee Accountants’, with pay and training linked? It’s a perfect job for a couple of people on Scilly.

    If LifeLongLearning was set-up to deliver training and support in vital areas of islands life, such as accountants, rather than embroidery, then we’d all feel the benefit.

  9. Alis November 24, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I’d be more than happy to apply for a job with the Council. Been actively checking for potential jobs that would suit me for months now- just got to keep hoping that something suitable comes along eventually!