NI Water: A serious management problem for Mr MacKenzie

Both the Irish News and the News Letter have stories on a damning staff survey at Northern Ireland Water, taken months after the Board was removed which demonstrates that a serious management problem has set in under the stewardship of Laurence MacKenzie.

For example, see this data on areas which identified as’ needing improvement’ (remember 60% is considered a poor score requiring ‘considerable focus’)

Some of the attitudes might be attributable to external factors. For instance some of the 22% per cent of the employees believe that Northern Ireland Water has a clear view of where the organisation is going may be attributable to political fudging over the future of NI Water. But it does not explain the over all negative picture, nor does it quite explain the extraordinarily high response rate of 61% (up from 44% last year). That’s better than most general elections in the UK.

It seems that a lot of people were highly motivated to tell management exactly what they thought of the current style. And the over figures speak pretty eloquently of a massive breach in confidence and trust.

This is reflected in many of the comments sent privately to Slugger over the last few months. Most were fearful that any public disclosure simply of their feelings about working there and in particular on their thoughts on Mr MacKenzie’s management style.

One exception bears repetition in the context of this survey and the shenanigans around the ousting of the old Board, and the beefing up of a few minor breaches in procurement process (which it now seems were operating a norm rather than the exception for DRD, from run quangos) was Rank And File of NIW’s personal assay of its harmful effects on staff moral:

I am embarassed to tell anyone that I work for NIW… yet I feel I have probably been engaged in some of the most strategic and valuable projects that I will ever be exposed to in my working life… and have delivered significantly with substantial results.

This is something I am (was) genuinely proud of… and has now been reduced to “junk status”. (As a comparison, my career pre-NIW spanned nearly 20 years in private sector international business, so would imagine that I have “earned my spurs”).

On a wider context, the staff surveys results are virtually not fit for human consumption… they are literally that bad, they have not been published…!!! And when you couple this with a looming pay freeze for 2 years which really equates to a 5% pay cut in real terms… overall morale is at an all time low.

So the NI Water fire continues to smoulder. On Monday we should have a story (which will not come as any surprise to some of our more vocal readers) on how one senior whistle blower was dealt with by the now suspended Permanent Secretary at DRD, Paul Priestly.

, , , ,

  • Pigeon Toes

    “He did not present any substantial evidence to back that up.”

    Perhaps a wee trawl through the emails at that point might have
    been a plan.

  • William Markfelt

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/campaigns/war-on-waste/belfast-telegraph-asks-readers-to-blow-the-whistle-on-waste-14974963.html

    The Belfast Telegraph has launched a ‘war on waste’ campaign about waste of taxpayers’ money.

    I’m sure the accompanying photo of cash going down a plughole is purely coincidental, not connected to water at all.

    The Bel Tel have helpfully provided a form where disenchanted water workers and employees of DRD can voice their concerns about Steria contracts, ‘independent’ reviews and such like.

  • DRD is looking for more NEDs!!

    “The Department reserves the right to shortlist candidates for interview on the basis that preference will be given to those candidates who, in the opinion of the Department, appear to have the most relevant experience likely to be of use to the Commissioners in the exercise of their functions.

    Equality of Opportunity

    The Department is committed to the principles of public appointments based on merit with independent assessment, openness and transparency of process. Political activity will not be a criterion for appointment nor will such activity debar a person’s consideration of appointment. All candidates must be able to subscribe to the objectives of the body in which they are declaring an interest.

    The Department is also committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes application forms from all suitably qualified applicants irrespective of religious belief, gender, disability, ethnic origin, political opinion, age, marital status, sexual orientation or whether or not they have dependants.”

    Funnily enough, the time-scale is about the same as the NIW NED ’emergency’ process. I wonder if the Minister will once again choose the timing of the announcement of the successful candidates – or if the Friends of Sinn Fein will enjoy the ‘conservations with a purpose’ option – or if anyone associated with Ó Muilleoir’s Derry-Boston 2009 junket [sponsored by several government agencies – speaker Conor Murphy – ‘Minister for North West Ireland’] will appear on the short list. Silly me, they couldn’t pull that stroke twice 😉

  • William Markfelt

    ‘candidates who, in the opinion of the Department, appear to have the most relevant experience’

    The department don’t have a good track record regarding their ‘opinion’ on a lot of things, and particularly in the selection of NEDs.

    ‘whether or not they have dependants.”

    Is this a new criteria?

    It looks like exactly the sort of phrase you’d use to mould the position(s) according to the already decided upon winner(s) of the role(s).

  • Drumlin Rock

    so Murphy KNEW back in January that the independence of the IRT was in question, yet he failed to take any action?

  • DR, here’s a Murphy reference: “Before the IRT had reported back to me, the then chairman of NIW met me on a one-to-one basis [in January] and alleged that there was an improper relationship between Peter Dixon of the IRT and Laurence MacKenzie. He did not present any substantial evidence to back that up.”

    I can see no evidence that the Minister or his officials checked out Mellor’s claims at the time. The Minister seems keen to refer to the independence of the report when the question by Mellor on behalf of the board is about the independence of the review team members.

  • William, perhaps Felicity Huston ought to look at the criteria PRIOR to their application. There’s not much point in giving the DRD a wee slap months after the process has been completed.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Perhaps it might be an idea just to go back and look at the timing of some of those emails again

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Minister39s-explanation-undermined-by-emails.6478452.jp

    “Even before this e-mail, the previous day, Mr Priestly had begun asking how board members of NI Water could be removed, despite the independent review on which their dismissals were supposedly based not even having been set up.

    In an e-mail Ms Patterson at 9.05pm, he asked: “Are there grounds set out in legislation or elsewhere on which we may dismiss board members?”

    Three days later, in another e-mail sent just after midnight entitled ‘NIW Review – Contingency Planning’, Mr Priestly wrote to another DRD official in a similar vein: “We need definitive advice (cleared with the legal advisers) on the minister’s powers to dismiss NIW board members and any process we would need to follow to ensure due cause is evidenced and the action and process meets the ‘reasonableness’ test.”

  • William Markfelt

    ‘perhaps Felicity Huston ought to look at the criteria PRIOR to their application’

    Given the brouhaha surrounding the ’emergency procedure’, it is vital that Ms. Huston fine tooth combs the DRD advertisements and gives them a clean bill of health and declares her satisfaction with it all prior to the closing date.

    It’s also vital that there are proper, minuted interviews rather than ‘conversations with a purpose’ this time around so that there is a proper audit trail, and no further accusations, rightly identified, of croneyism this time around.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “Three days later, in another e-mail sent just after midnight entitled ‘NIW Review – Contingency Planning’,

    Was this on the off chance that the Review mightn’t have enough “meat” to justify the sackings?
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/contingency
    “con·tin·gen·cy (kn-tnjn-s)
    n. pl. con·tin·gen·cies
    1.
    a. An event that may occur but that is not likely or intended; a possibility.
    b. A possibility that must be prepared for; a future emergency.
    2. The condition of being dependent on chance; uncertainty.
    3. Something incidental to something else.”

  • William Markfelt

    And more from that Newsletter link.

    ”In an e-mail headed “Personal” to a fellow senior DRD official, Lian Patterson, he sets out the four-point plan for the ‘independent review team’, suggesting that Mr Dixon and Deloitte consultant Jackie Henry be among its members.

    He finishes the e-mail by saying: “Might this be enough to persuade LMcK?”, to which Ms Patterson replies: “I think you have a good plan there. Let’s try it. We should clear with the minister this morning and if he agrees I can put this to Laurence today.”

    The only issue I have with it is that Lian Patterson might have been better to use the word ‘plot’ rather than ‘plan’.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘Was this on the off chance that the Review mightn’t have enough “meat” to justify the sackings?’

    I’ll check it, but I recall that there was some mention of the IRT reporting that ‘even though x fell outside the terms of reference, y happened and it’s worth pointing this out’.

    There was never any chance of them not having enough meat. They were going to sex it up until the dodgy dossier was fit for purpose.

  • Pigeon Toes

    ” We should clear with the minister this morning and if he agrees I can put this to Laurence today.”

    So how much was in fact put to the minister?
    Was he clearing the “plan” as such, or the review?

    So the question remains was he complicit, or led up the garden path?

  • “asking how board members of NI Water could be removed”

    Was Priestly reacting to an ultimatum ‘they go or I go’? Or was it just part of contingency planning? The Minister appeared anxious than MacKenzie remained in post.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘So how much was in fact put to the minister?
    Was he clearing the “plan” as such, or the review?’

    Both?

    The psychology would suggest that if you have ‘a good plan’ you approach your boss on those terms It’s not going to be a case of ‘I’ve a good plan, shall I run it without me outlining it’. It’s just not credible.

    We may surmise that Murphy knew, and gave both the plot and the review the thumbs up.

    So…Murphy’s been slightly misleading to the Assembly and to the CRD (in the ‘slightly pregnant’ sense).

    It also points to DRD’s central role, rather than the Minister’s, in cobbling the whole thing together. Priestly had hatched the IRT, researched the sacking procedures, and all for the purpose of getting McK to withdraw his resignation. All that work, effort, time and morally redundant activity in order to save a CEO who was certainly not worth saving, given some of the suspect decisions he was making thereafter. Perhaps a different CEO wouldn’t have lost us, the taxpayer, millions over the Steria contract, for one thing.

  • Jj

    “I think you have a good plan there, BOSS” is the missing word.

    Lian is/was Priestly’s Deputy Secretary. A subordinate – and, it would appear, a particularly unchallenging one.

  • William Markfelt

    The Newsletter piece concludes :-

    Interviewed for last night’s programme, Conor Murphy said several times that he was happy to “accept responsibility” for what had happened.
    The Sinn Fein minister said: “I accept responsibility for asking for the inquiry, for acting on the basis of information that was brought to me that there was wrongdoing within the company which is in the remit of my department and I instigated the inquiry and I accepted the findings of the inquiry and I took action on the basis for those findings.

    “I believe that was the correct course of action and I believe that when I went in front of the regional development committee along with the permanent secretary from this department, along with the chief executive of NI Water and we explained what we had done and why we had done and we met with unanimous approval from the regional development committee and I have met with almost unanimous approval from anyone I have spoke to in the body politic or outside the body politic that it was the correct course of action to take and I believe that that will be vindicated and it is my responsibility and I accept responsibility that members of the IRT (Independent Review Team) team were not responsible for the consequences of the inquiry, they were responsible for investigating what was wrong and what was going on and bringing their evidence to my attention…”

    I know these country boys like to talk without punctuation but, blimey, YOU trying getting that second paragraph out in one breath. 🙂

  • William Markfelt

    That’s how I read it Nevin.

    We’ve already had all that ‘board are against me’ stuff.

    So he goes to Priestly with his resignation letter.

    I imagine what followed wasn’t minuted either, but we can guess that McKenzie doesn’t do anything as coarse as an ultimatum. Probably a big doe-eyed, reflective number on ‘so much I could achieve…believe in the value of what I’m doing…challenges I wanted to meet….targets to meet…but the board…I dunno, Paul….maybe if I had a board who shared OUR (i.e. McKenzie’s and Priestly’s) vision…then…you know….I dunno’.

    Lightbulb moment for Priestly, and he mulls over the options.

    Later that evening, over a re-run of Blackadder on ‘Dave’, he twigs onto a very clever plan and, as soon as the credits roll at 9pm, starts typing. At 9.05pm….hey ho.

  • Pigeon Toes

    You think she was unlikely to say “‘Yer talkin’ through yer ‘oul cock. FFS catch yerself on and stop being a w***er.’?

    That’s a shame

  • William Markfelt

    Yes, but on reflection it might’ve been the sagest bit of advice she could have ever offered him.

  • Pigeon Toes

    The big question then is, when was the Minister made aware of
    Mack’s resignation?

    He must have been aware of the “plan” and it’s purpose, if he knew about the resignation attempts, and attempts to win him back.

    Therefore he must also have known the true purpose of the report, ie a vehicle to justify the sackings of the NEDS.

    “We need definitive advice (cleared with the legal advisers) on the minister’s powers to dismiss NIW board members and any process we would need to follow to ensure due cause is evidenced and the action and process meets the ‘reasonableness’ test.”

    Unless of course he has stated that his officials were not keeping him in the loop about *that*.

  • Jj

    “But Peter and Laurence are mates, Paul? And Jackie and I are having coffee on Friday morning. How could we ever convince anyone with a braincell, let alone Conor, that these people are independent?”

    Oh, never worry about all of that. You’re such a fuss-pot”!

  • William Markfelt

    “But Peter and Laurence are mates, Paul? And Jackie and I are having coffee on Friday morning. How could we ever convince anyone with a braincell, let alone Conor, that these people are independent?”

    Peter and Laurence aren’t mates. They’d only ever had coffee 3-4 times. Or so McK claimed on July 1st at the PAC roasting.

    I simply can’t believe McK would deliberately mislead (a regional) parliament. That might leave him open to charges of contempt of parliament and a hefty fine. We do have a Standards and Privileges Committee at Stormont, don’t we? Of course we do.

  • Pigeon Toes

    http://twitter.com/conormurphymp

    “Many in Stormont comparing cautious media treatment of NIHE inquiries with onslaught on NIW but I think the media know what they’re doing”

    The media now know what they are doing, but didn’t then?
    Or they knew then, and know now?

    What was that about Priestly and a U Turn?

  • William Markfelt

    “Many in Stormont comparing cautious media treatment of NIHE inquiries with onslaught on NIW but I think the media know what they’re doing”

    Yes, Conor, but that’s because Attwood has delivered a probe and a result within three weeks.

  • William Markfelt

    and PROMISED a result

  • Jj

    Man on Clapham Omnibus test time, William?

    The tone of their email exchanges (Larry and Peter) is reasonable enough grounds to support a claim that their relationship was more than would reasonably be suggested or inferred by the claim of having met for coffee 3 or 4 times. I have mates and friends that I have met up with less than that in a few months. They’re still mates and friends.

    Chris Mellor noted an improper relationship and I am sure he had a lot to back that up. No photos, no photocopied diary entires, of course. Much the same as where a suspect is “known” to have committed a crime but there’s no hard and fast evidence.

    On the balance of whats reasonable to believe, I believe the closeness of their relationship was sufficient to cast some doubt on the independence of a panel carrying out a robust scrutiny of responsibilities. Remember: public life, let alone scrutiny of behaviour in public life is required not just to be impartial, but beyond all doubt of partiality. This condition was patently not met.

  • Patterson: “We should clear with the minister this morning and if he agrees”

    When you compare this with the Patterson XX March NED selection process letter to the Minister it would appear that nothing of significance was done without the Minister’s say so.

    Remember also that on the UTV programme he claimed that he asked for further inquiries in January on receipt of the NIW report and this was followed by the commissioning of the IRT report by Priestly and the deep dive audits by MacKenzie.

  • “onslaught on NIW”

    Er, the ‘onslaught’ wasn’t just on NIW, it was also on the Minister, senior DRD officials, NIAO, the culture of in-house investigations, CCNI and CPANI. And it wasn’t the first time that DRD related procurement issues had been a matter of intense debate.

  • “So the NI Water fire continues to smoulder. On Monday we should have a story”

    Is Mick OK? He’s been unusually quiet.

  • William Markfelt

    Let’s hope he isn’t being tortured by any of the key players in the saga.

    Water bored.

  • William Markfelt

    “onslaught on NIW”

    That twit thing looks like great craic. Got this one while poking about.

    “”PaulMaskeyMLA Paul Maskey
    Met with Translink engineering workers with Conor Murphy and the 3 SF reps on the DRD committee today in parliament buildings””

    I wonder was PAC business discusses? Or Translink’s procurement practices?

    http://www.supplymanagement.com/news/2010/report-slams-public-procurement-in-northern-ireland/

    I suppose the chat was about the anticipated at Translink’s Falls Road engineering section. I wonder did the workers raise the issue of how their jobs might have been more secure if some other DRD charges hadn’t been quite so profligate.

  • William Markfelt

    Open letter to Conor Murphy on job losses at Translink

    Written by Pat Lawlor, Socialist Party
    Tuesday, 12 October 2010 16:27
    Dear Minister Murphy,
    As the Minister responsible for public transport, you will no doubt be aware 70 jobs are under threat in the bus engineering division at Translink. At a time of rising unemployment, it makes no sense whatsoever to cut jobs at Translink, especially since you have stated you are in favour of promoting public transport.

    You are on record as stating that public transport should be promoted as an alternative to private car use. Many people, including those who cannot afford to keep a car on the road, rely on public transport. Yet job cuts at the engineering division at Translink will lead to a worse service as a backlog of buses awaiting maintenance and health and safety inspections will inevitably reduce the number of buses in use. For example, it has been raised that 28 jobs could be cut from the engineering section at the Falls Road Translink depot – more than 10% of engineering workers at the depot. This will inevitably have a knock-on impact on the workload of the remaining workers and will result in a worse public bus service. It is the opposite of promoting public transport.

    As Minister for Regional Development, the provision of public transport is your responsibility. In order to defend public transport and jobs, I call on you to immediately intervene to overrule any steps to carry out redundancies and job losses in Translink on behalf of the workers, their families and the public interest. Workers at Translink have noticed that Ministerial intervention into government-owned companies, such as your intervention into NI Water, is not unprecedented.

    I would also call on you as Minister for Regional Development to reply to this letter to state whether you are opposed or not opposed to job losses and redundancies at Translink. This is a very serious matter for workers at Translink and the general public. I look forward to your reply.

    http://www.socialistpartyni.net/workplace/unite/469-open-letter-to-conor-murphy-on-job-losses-at-translink

  • William Markfelt

    ‘Workers at Translink have noticed that Ministerial intervention into government-owned companies, such as your intervention into NI Water, is not unprecedented.’

    But Pat…look how that turned out.

  • Dr Concitor

    I have heard from a usually reliable source that the new trains for this project were delivered with the GB gauge rather than the Irish gauge. That is the wheels on each axle were too close together. The correct axles had to be retrofitted at considerable cost. Who paid for that? If it was Translink this was either appalling specifying or contract management. The PAC don’t think Translink excel at either of these. Given the degree of overspend on this contract my money would be on Translink

  • Pigeon Toes

    http://applications.drdni.gov.uk/publications/document.asp?docid=19196

    “01/02/10
    IRT checkpoint meeting
    Tea, Coffee, Sandwiches, Fruit
    29.70
    Meeting of Independent Review Team”

    Was Mellor’s letter mentioned at this ?

  • Who else would have been at that meeting in addition to the three IRT members. Was it minuted?

  • William Markfelt

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11567474

    Norman Hayes of Red Sky wants an ‘open, fair and honest’ probe into his company’s dealings with the NIHE.

    Dream on, Norman. The government don’t do ‘open, fair or honest’.

    Ask NIW’s previous set of NEDs.

  • Dr Concitor

    William, I noticed something new from malairt in the responses to Mick’s latest post, Sue Holmes was never an NIW employee, she was a consultant supplied by Contracting Out the project manager for the PPP contracts and appointed by the SIB.
    These PPP contracts were hugely important for NICS as they faced massive EC fines if the infrastructure was not build and operational with in the contract period. Therefore CO was a top flight consultancy specialising in PPP work. Sue Holmes was on the board of NIWS/NIW until the PPP contracts were well under way, then PPP issues were represented at board level by the NIW commercial director Dave Gilmore, CO was still retained as a consultant.
    CO then become involved the the cancellation of the Steria contract on a 6% savings identified basis. I presume this is a normal fee for this type of work and would have been in line with the original terms and conditions in the contract agreed with the SIB.
    So why does Mack come in and tear the commercial directorate apart, that is make Dave Gilmore redundant and take Sue Holmes of the case, calling her work shallow. Why were the NEDs sacked for totally synthetic reasons?
    Is there something about the Steria contract they what to hide? May be there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, but I think we need to be told.

  • gottasay

    Apologies for interrupting this very valid piece of commentary but I wanted to draw your attention to a piece in today’s Irish News.
    Declan Gormley is just not going away.
    Two page piece where he is widening the attack on those who caused this fiasco.

    He makes some very valid points about the conduct we should expect from those in positions of authority and responsibility.It should make for very uncomfortable reading for Murphy,McKenzie,Dixon,Henry,Patterson and Fair.
    Not of course that I imagine for one minute these people understand the concept of appropriate behaviour.

    Gottasay Gormley looks more like a politician everytime he appears in the paper or on TV-I really hope he resists the temptation- I think he makes a better advocate for deceny and integrity on his own than he would in any party.

    A question asked a few weeks ago which I thought was very apt-:
    What do you think they regret most now hiring Declan Gormley or firing him?

  • Jj

    Thanks, gottasay. Any way we can read or link to the story please? I think IN still needs subscrip?

  • William Markfelt

    ‘Is there something about the Steria contract they what to hide?

    The £4.5m they paid out for precisely nothing, i.e. the figure McK discussed with others, in relation to the Sue Holmes ‘whistleblowing’ in contravention of that supposedly being ‘confidential’ (that it, both the content of Holmes’ letter and the sum for cancelling the contact)

  • Dr Concitor

    On the face of it Steria were entitled to compensation for the cancellation of their contract for customer billing. CO were tasked by NIW to arrange the termination of this contract, something they were more than capable of doing. So why were CO stopped? Surely the PAC should be able to ask this question and expect answers. The existing explanation that CO were not capable(shallow etc.) is simply not tenable.

  • Perhaps worth noting this from NIW ET minutes for June 23, 2009:

    “Risk Management
    a. Pat McParland noted that due to emerging issues with Steria, the final draft of the paper had been withheld. ..

    Steria Update
    a. Liam Mulholland reported that Steria was working towards exiting operations on 3 July 2009. He then briefed ET on the steps being taken to manage this situation and noted that by the end of the week, NIW intended tendering for services to assist with the components of this transition.

    b. ET discussed this matter and Allan Jones said that while Northgate had carried out a thorough training campaign, there could be problems if Steria withheld the intellectual property rights to the IT systems”

    Who made the decision to bring the termination date forward from December to July and why?

  • Dr Concitor

    Would I be right in thinking that openness and transparency by senior officials about the termination of the Steria contract would explain most of the NIW fiasco?

  • Pigeon Toes

    Oh those old Intellectual Property Rights problems.

    Again (sigh) “sure you have that”

  • Dr Concitor

    Two more questions. CO identified £23m potential savings in the NIW Steria contract. Does that mean they were over paid by NIW? Who would this embarrass most, NIW or NICS. Steria still work for NICS and an ex-Steria employee is an under- secretary at DFP

  • PAC – October 21 – “Consideration of Report on The Performance of Northern Ireland Water” – probably a closed session.

  • “Mr P McGlone asked the Minister for Regional Development whether he, or his special adviser, have received requests for a meeting from any of the dismissed non-executive directors of NI Water; and what responses have been given.

    (AQW 662/11)

    Minister for Regional Development: One of the former non-executive directors wrote to me on two occasions requesting meetings to discuss the circumstances surrounding his departure from the Board of NI Water. I declined both requests.”

    “Mr P McGlone asked the Minister for Regional Development, pursuant to AQW 255/11, in relation to the full conflict of interest checks carried out on members of the Independent Review Team, to detail (i) the date checks were completed for (a) Jackie Henry; (b) Peter Dixon; and (c) Glenn Thompson; (ii) who was responsible for carrying out these checks; (iii) who advised his Department on the outcome; and (iv) who made the decision that there were no conflicts of interest.

    (AQW 876/11)

    Minister for Regional Development: I would refer my Assembly colleague to the answer I gave to AQW 255/11 on 28 September 2010. No conflict of interest checks were carried out by DRD, but Deloitte, as part of the normal engagement process, completed a full conflict check on engagements with DRD and NI Water in the context of Jackie Henry, as an individual, joining the review team. The outcome of this was advised to and discussed with DRD and as a result the Department did not consider that there were any conflicts of interest.”

  • Jj

    But its clear there was an improper relationship at work here!

    Chris Mellor reported it to the Minister, who now admits no checks were carried out by his Department (this would have been Gary Fair’s responsibility, btw) but the dogs in the street know that Laurence and Peter were not strangers..

  • Jj, a conflict of interest check could have undermined the independence assertion 😉

  • Jj

    In my experience, there is usually a dominant personality in small specialist one-purpose teams. The intemperate outburst after the PAC meeting all those aeons ago gives me a clue as to who that was…no?

  • malairt

    @ Dr. Concitor – good questions

    Steria were entitled to ask for up to £3m as a termination fee,as confirmed by NIW i a radio interview in January 2009. NIW were equally entitled to argue that the £3m was not due.

    The reason for the court action was that NIW believed they had overpaid Steria. The work carried out by CO documented the payments and the reasons why they were not due.

    @Nevin
    Steria made a unilateral decision to walk away from the contract 5 monhts early.

  • Dr Concitor

    So the out come of all this was that NIW paid Steria an undisclosed sum estimated at £4.5m instead of potentially recovering up to £23m from Steria. Why?

  • Pigeon Toes

    What about Priestly?

    Seemingly he is a great believer in “natural justice”.

    So am I Mr Priestly ;-O

  • William Markfelt

    Could it happen here?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-11678383

    “Staff from a company involved in the UK’s worst mass water poisoning were told to keep quiet about what had happened, an inquest has been told.”

    Given the culture of lies, cover up and disinformation, it’s entirely possible that NIW could determine to tell their staff to ‘keep quiet’ over matters pertaining to their mismanagement of the company.

    Where would these instructions come from? The Minister? The CEO? The new NEDs?

    I think it’s entirely plausible that the culture of management in NIW could mean that they would seek to disinform the public on matters regarding the appointment of NEDs and the many and varied failures of the company.

  • William Markfelt

    Can I ask what’s happening with NIW? Has the story withered on the vine? Was is just a nine day wonder from which the guilty escaped scot-free?

  • Mick Fealty

    I intend to pick it up after the weekend. There have been some developments recently, and I have some material that is long overdue in getting out.

    This started off as a good and useful way to put in the silly season, now it’s decidely not the silly season, so I’ve not had the time to apply to it.

    Bear with me on this.

  • Dr Concitor

    Look forward to reading your acerbic views on this again William