Wednesday, 29 April 2009

In-tray Gossip

If I had been neglecting my partner and son over the last several weeks, I would have been keeping an eye on my in-tray instead of neglecting the sometimes overloaded thing.

I've heard a rumour that senior civil servants working close to Ministers in Cardiff Bay were allegedly given box tickets to Welsh home matches during this year's 6 Nations championship. At least 2 of them attended the Wales v England match this year courtesy of their ministerial masters. As my source has said, "Not a bad perk of the job".

Alegedly the Union are up-in-arms over this and believe that any spare tickets at the disposal of the Welsh Assembly Government should be raffled out among all staff of the Assembly Government, and not kept by those regarded as being down the bay. I wonder what Wales' Number 1 rugby fan thinks of this staff freebie?

On another matter our old friend Christopher Glamorganshire has reappeared. The latest rumour is that the Welsh Assembly Government is allegedly chasing him for legal costs circa £28k for being too ill to turn up to an employment tribunal. Rumour has it that the case is ongoing and will conclude in the next month or two. Betsan always seems to have the scoop on this, so I'm hoping she'll keep us posted.

I'll be dipping in and out of blogging from time to time, and won't be a complete stranger to blogging or my in-tray.

Blow the whistle and they don't come running

The Western Mail's latest leaky story concerns CLAIMS made by an Assembly Government civil servant raise serious concerns about the running of the Department responsible for the Welsh economy, according to the Conservatives.

In a letter to the Western Mail, the whistle-blower lists a series of alleged shortcomings, claiming they illustrate how the Department for Economy and Transport is letting Wales down, and which include:

  • Recent Ministerial refusal to meaningfully engage with the UK Government on stimulating bank lending to Wales’s businesses in favour of WAG lending of public money direct to business;

  • hundreds of millions of pounds of European aid being diverted from the private sector into the continuation of longstanding, re-branded public sector schemes with poor track records;

  • the much-trumpeted Single Investment Fund and WAG’s SME (small and medium enterprises) relationship manager support is only reaching a minuscule number of Welsh businesses;

  • millions of pounds of funding intended for SMEs not being used and handed back;

  • an expensive IT project to develop a customer relationship management system not delivering;

  • major problems with the public transport concessionary fares scheme;

  • ministers’ decision to reject connecting with the highly praised Business Link and Direct Gov websites, helping millions of individuals and businesses elsewhere in the UK, on the grounds that they are “too English” and would make the millions of pounds invested in WAG’s site look embarrassing;

  • expensive staff events continuing at some of Wales’ best hotels regardless of the recession; and
  • the department’s staff having the least faith in senior management, according to staff survey results.

Shadow Minister for the Economy David Melding said:

Businesses and workers across Wales are looking for leadership and support as the recession tightens its grip. They need to have confidence that after five economic summits and countless policy announcements the Assembly Government is delivering on its promises.

These claims, however, suggest the Assembly Government is failing to match words with delivery. They also highlight poor morale among staff at the heart of the Assembly Government and underline the concerns we have raised about ministers’ failure to implement a proper package to help businesses survive the recession. They also raise questions about the performance of [Plaid Cymru leader] Ieuan Wyn Jones as the Minister responsible.

The Assembly Government needs to satisfy the public it is doing all it can to help businesses and workers overcome the growing economic difficulties – not just in terms of words, but also by providing tangible evidence of delivery on the ground.

An Assembly Government spokesman would not respond on a point-by-point basis to the allegations, but said:

This is merely a list of unsubstantiated and spurious claims [that we wouldn't like to talk about] from an anonymous individual [coward] claiming to work for the Department for Economy and Transport [contradiction in terms]. If a member of the Department has any legitimate concerns [and are not bothered about advancement] then they are encouraged to raise them through the proper channels. *

* Correct course of action: Express concern to senior manager - senior manager rejects your concern and explains that you don't have sufficient experience in such matters - senior manager reports to colleagues - discussion takes place behind closed doors while alarm bells are silenced, hoping that no one else will stir up a fuss - problem solved.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Up a network ladder and down a slippery Facebook snake

During my prolonged absence from blogging - from reading blogs, writing blogs, talking about blogs and sometimes even dreaming about blogs or bloggers - I continued to play about with my second attempt at Farcebook membership.

Sadly (boo, hiss!), my second attempt ended up in the same black hole as my first attempt, but without all the fuss.

Hey! Ho! There's still a Blog Network to join. Perhaps I should revert to my maiden name for my third and final attempt, and slip below the radar.

Hearing on pay equality in the Department for Transport

Preperations are made for a tribunal hearing on pay equality in the Department for Transport (DfT).

The case involves Executive Officers (EO) in the Driver and vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) who are seeking equal pay with driving examiners from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA).

For information, EOs are paid up to £5k less than examiners, even though they do work of equal value. The hearing is expected to be over a few weeks with an estimate end date of 22 May 2009.

The DfT's Defence:

... is one of arguing that the DVLA and DSA are seperate organisations whose pay is determined from different sources.

The other side:

This ignores the fact that both agencies are based within the DfT which is overseen by the Treasury which controls Civil Service pay. Unions have argues that if this defence is succesful, it will be used across the civil service to block equal pay claims.

BBC UK Politics

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UK News from Times Online

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