Thursday, April 16, 2009

Business Advice in Powys - or not.

End of March I posted this which outlined the absolute 'Horlicks' that the Assembly Government had made of providing advice to businesses in Mid Wales. To recap briefly - after many years of business advice provision by Powys County Council, (through Business Connect and Business Eye) the contract to supply the service was given to a company from outside the area called Business in Focus (BiF). But there was a problem in that BiF did not think there was any ongoing responsibility to the Council staff who had been doing the job for years. Mid March, I was being told with certainty that this was not the case - and I wrote privately to the Minister responsible, Ieuan Wyn Jones warning of the impending problem. Almost three weeks later I received a reply written by some 'Jobsworth' on Ieuan's behalf, completely misunderstanding the point at issue (probably deliberately). Anyway BiF pulled out at the last minute, leaving no service at all on April 1st. Just guess what the Assembly Government's pathetic response was. To persuade BiF to have a change of heart, and ask/pressurise the Council to indemnify BiF against any costs associated with accepting responsibility for the previously employed staff.

I don't want you, dear readers to think I'm becoming a sycophantic cheerleader for Powys County Council, but they did the only sensible thing - told the Assembly Government to 'get lost'. The minute of the Management Board of the Council's discussion earlier this week reads "The Board is not minded to accept secondment on the terms offered (by the Assembly Government). The default position is that the staff are entitled to redeployment/redundancy. This is to be conveyed to WAG and if there is a revised proposal......certain designated councillors were given delegated authority to deal with it. The Board also decided to explore the options of taking action to recover any costs that will have fallen on the Council as a result of this fiasco. As for the local economy. Well that can go the same way as the Wales GB Rally.


Anonymous said...

Enough is enough, someone has to take WAG to task over the whole pigs ear that has been the procurement of business support in Wales.
Business is left confused, consultants and adviser have lost work to civil servants with no business experience. Good business support agencies have had to lay off staff etc etc and the root of this is that WAG are employing people who have no idea about business needs or the best way to deliver that support.
The system we now have is worse than archaic and the worst mess I have seen in over 20 years of working with business.And this at a time when need to be really looking to the sector to create the wealth to move the economy on.
And who is doing anything about it,when was it last debated?
Time to bring back a committee with some teeth to deal with DET and its failures

Anonymous said...

Hear hear, Glyn. As for the Wales Rally GB, the Assembly has behaved despicably over it. The people concerned have totally refused to return phone calls or respond in writing to the Rally organisers. The events team of WAG in Cardiff are behaving like a bunch of ignorant morons. It seems they are spending ALL their money on the Ryder cup and are way over budget on that, hence other events suffering. The question arises, however, as to the contract they have in existence with the Rally people. They could well find themselves paying out, whilst the Rally goes elsewhere. Once again Wales suffers - especially Mid Wales - and gets the reputation of behaving like amateurs, whilst these second rate WAG bods give no accountability concerning their ill-founded decision on the Rally. This is a disgrace and it's about time questions were asked.........

Anonymous said...

Dreadful situation. And a noticable silence on both matters from all the elected Mid Wales representatives in Cardiff too.

Glyn Davies said...

VM - What worries me is that the Assembly Government seems more interested in avoiding any blame for its monumental cock-up than serving the interests of businesses. I was really put out by the almost total disregard of my communication to the Deputy First Minister, letting him know privately that there was a problem. I'll just go to the media next time.

Anon - The Powys Councillors should be exempt from criticism on this issue. Portfolio holder, Wynne Jones has spoken with much common sense on this issue.