Strange happenings in Craigavon…

An intriguing story breaking in Craigavon (try this more detailed story in the Portadown Times, H/T Nevin) and one to keep an eye on. The Belfast Telegraph has seen a leaked report from management consultants Deloitte on the Leisure Services department of the Borough Council. However, Slugger understands that the report is a draft progress report expected to be superceded by a final report and is long on recommendations on various ‘human resource issues’, but very short on the origins of a low level, but highly attritional, conflict around alleged irregularities over recruitment. The story also features a strangely worded death threat aimed at the Chief Executive, which Slugger understands, demanded staff changes be ‘rescinded’. As yet there is no explanation forthcoming over why further work on a presumably expensive report compiled by one of the leading HR experts in the UK has been stalled by the council, pending an informal (but presumably reasonably expensive) review conducted by a QC. Watch this space!From the Executive summary of the report:

Our findings are that the Director of Leisure Services was correct and if anything, he understated the situation. We also find that the issues are not solely because of the absence of a Head of HR, indeed the main problems concern management of people and change within a department and for which the management of the department have responsibility. Organisational restructuring has taken place without clear justification or the cost or savings being identified.

Procedures for obtaining approval for organisation change have not been followed properly. The relationships, morale and motivation are very poor. Stress levels are high, as is fear and mistrust. A culture of raising grievances rather than solving problems has developed. There are sufficient complaints and allegations of bullying and threats of dismissal to warrant further specific and targeted investigation.

The Council is at risk of failures in service delivery because of inadequacies in management and processes. Failure to take action will mean that the council is taking the risk of failing the citizens of Craigavon and its staff and particularly in its duty of care to staff.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty