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> The Rise Of Glasgow's Quango State, Aleos and extra payments to councillors
GG
post 5th Apr 2010, 08:00am
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A damning series of articles last week in The Herald has revealed a worrying degree of "cronyism" at the heart of Glasgow City Council, resulting in favoured councillors of all the main parties receiving 400,000 in extra payments for work that was previously done as part of their normal councillor duties.

The Herald revealed how political friends and allies – as well as some opposition councillors – of disgraced former council leader Steven Purcell now get thousands of pounds of Glasgow taxpayers' money by sitting on the boards of some of the city's recently-created Arms-Length External Organisations (Aleos), sometimes referred to as 'quangos'.

Aleos, such as City Building, Cordia, Culture and Sport Glasgow, and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, have been created by the ruling Labour administration to manage the running of a huge range of city functions from culture and leisure to car parks, libraries, community care, tourism and house repairs. Previously the management of these functions was overseen by council committees on which councillors sat as part of their jobs.

Critics of Aleos have repeatedly voiced concerns about the accountability of the quasi-private organisations which often appear to perform their duties beyond the control of the elected representatives of the people of Glasgow. A frequent concern of reporters attempting to unravel the running of Aleos has been the propensity of management of Aleos to resort to 'commercial confidentiality' clauses to deny release of information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Public service experts point out that although the new bodies have brought some advantages such as charitable status, the external organisations were created without public consultation, and many have failed to deliver the benefits claimed when set up.

While other councils in Scotland have set up their own Aleos, Glasgow is unique in providing councillors with significant extra payments – at a time of a public spending squeeze – to sit on Aleo boards a few times each year.

According to The Herald, the arms-length setup provided Mr Purcell with "a convenient vehicle for purchasing patronage". In one article entitled 'Revealed: cronyism at heart of Purcell’s council', The Herald claimed that:

QUOTE
Friends [of Mr Purcell] whose political careers have never set the heather alight could clear upwards of 17,000 on top of their basic salaries from positions on bodies whose very existence remain questionable.

"Backwoodsmen" who deliver votes in certain parts of Glasgow could take home an additional 13,000 for sitting on the boards of companies that meet just a few times a year and have never delivered what they were set up to do, while others with no responsibilities within the council could command 11,000 from sitting on an outside organisation. For most, what they collect from the council in salaries sits on top of earnings from other jobs.

Commenting on the growth of Aleos, Martin Doran of the GMB union said:
QUOTE
"The set-up of the Aleos has created a feeding frenzy for both Labour and SNP councillors to get their noses in the trough. When they get on the board they have absolutely no positive engagement with the GMB or employees.

Given the financial restraint we’re operating in, the silence from both political parties in Glasgow is deafening. When I myself walk along the councillors' corridor in the City Chambers there's a mass exodus."

A council spokesman said:
QUOTE
"The creation of these external organisations has vastly improved the services we provide while, crucially, costing us substantially less. It’s only right that board members should be paid for the extra work they’ve done in securing that result."

A discussion about the rise of Aleos and the growth of the "quango state" in Glasgow can be viewed in the UK via the BBC iPlayer:

Newsnight Scotland - Thu, 01 Apr 2010
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00rw...land_01_04_2010

The Herald produced a diagram detailing the payments to councillors:
http://www.heraldscotland.com/polopoly_fs/...#33;Purcell.pdf

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Jupiter
post 5th Apr 2010, 09:18am
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I may be naive in certain things, in fact I admit I am. When I vote for a particular party and they then assume the mantle of Government thats what I and most others expect will happen. It now appears to me that the Government is happy to hive off its responsibities to these organisations that we have come to know as Quangoes. To the ordinary punter it is as though they are given a remit, a budget and told to get on with it with very little accountability re how the budget is spent. This is evident by the amounts recently claimed by SPT officials on trips here there and everywhere. This latest fiasco begs the microscope to ensure that every post was properly advertised and every penny spent accounted for. There is definitely brown stuff on the way to the fan at George Square.
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*Guest*
post 5th Apr 2010, 09:38am
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Just another reason not to vote for Labour. Some roll models they are not!!!

Drug taking, holiday jaunts, lining their pockets with city folk money raised via Council Tax. Bin them all.
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farci
post 5th Apr 2010, 09:52am
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I voted 'not sure' in the poll because the real issue here is not Labour's policy of rewarding party members with extra payments but whether these ALEOs are under proper democratic control.

Audit Scotland raised this question two years ago when it recommended additional training for councillors who have the responsibility to represent 'ra pee-pul's' interests The management of these bodies comprises professionals whose instincts to build empires might be at odds with what the voters thought the Council was put there for.

Surely instead of condemning these payments outright we should recognise that properly trained councillors need to devote time for which they should be reimbursed appropriately.

I don't think the situation would be any better if the SNP ruled as this is a tale of hegemony by one political class in power for far too long.
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fronswa
post 5th Apr 2010, 09:58am
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There's a follow up here...

How corridors of power kept accountability at arm’s length
QUOTE
"The sheer weight of numbers means Labour always has the ultimate veto but there is a valid argument that all parties have been complicit."

They've totally been feasting on the cash.

All the parties. That means the chances of it getting sorted are slim, as no one wants to rock the boat and expose their party to bad press.
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benny
post 5th Apr 2010, 10:02am
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Whatever happened to the auld saying, "If you want a job well done, do it yourself"?

Time was when local - and national - government departments managed to get by with in-house expertise, without using external consultants charging extortionate fees.


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Rob Rattray
post 5th Apr 2010, 11:05am
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What else do you expect? This sort of bludging on the government purse, whether it be local federal or state [or whatever you have in Scotland as I'm referring to Australia] is rife worldwide. We've no-one to blame except ourselves for putting the blaggards there in the first place, and that's where 'compulsory voting' is wrong! the States [USA i.e.] have a better plan whereby this is not so and personally, I feel that this ort be adopted throughout the British Commonwealth.


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bigdrew
post 5th Apr 2010, 11:43am
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I spent many years fighting the upsurge in 'Quango Groups', but as a minor voice in such a big cesspool, I always knew that although correct in what I was saying...I would be ignored and outvoted out of any position where my voice could be heard....
I do not know whether the ruling Labour Party are the sole blame for all of this 'corruption', but what is certain, they gained the most from the way their staff and officials corrupted almost every level of local community life, and as such rendered almost every community inept in handling its own affairs.....!
Let me say that all of my experience is based upon the Greater Pollok areas, but am confident that used as an example, there will be comparisons with every local community throughout Glasgow...
The Steps taken to establish a Quango.....
Form Community Forums and invite 'people of local involvement' to become members.
Make certain that Council Departments are represented....for 'advice'.
Make certain that Labour Party activists are there, to be elected, so that a continious level of feedback to the Council is there.
Use the Officials to ratify a Constitution and establish Office Bearers.
Apply to be recognised as an authority by the Council, and establish representation to ensure that any 'monies granted', an 'opinion' from that group would be relevent.
Get into a funding position whereby the employment of 'officials' would add credibility from the Council.
Establish a Board of Directors using the earlier constitution, but also apply for either a business or a charity status, so that 'certain changes' about sending-out minutes and voting at AGM's can be applied, effectively stopping the 'General Public' getting to know, or even being able to remove people who by now are only representing themselves.
QUANGO GROUP ESTABLISHED
Then by deceipt and manipulation the Council Departments move from Council control, to an arms-length group, that is non-electible, unrepresentative and not answerable to anyone other than themselves.
AND OF COURSE ALL THIS HAS GONE ON AND CONTINUES.......USING PUBLIC MONIES...!
Of course Councillors are at the Trough, making certain that they 'get theirs', after all why not...their own Council officials and department heads are 'wetting their beaks'.
The only difficulty in all of this is that outside of Council Umbrella Tactics, the same structures and 'paid officials'....would be JAILED for such levels of corruption..
What is the answer.....?
I certainly don't know, that's why I resigned from it all, and many of these 'officials' did not even have an arse in their trousers when I knew and worked with them, so good luck to Glasgow because what has been established in Glasgow, is likely to spread throughout Scotland.....
Time to win the Lotto and get oot....!
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*Backcauseway*
post 5th Apr 2010, 02:01pm
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I seem to recall Stephen Purcell at some meeting I was at some years go explaining that Culture and Leisure as an arms length company would be able to receive charitable status. Also there was a "suggestion" that VAT would not so onerous. However I have been told that recently private firms that operate leisure facilities in England are trying to gain access to the tendering process. ie they want to run say Scotstoun or Gorbals Leisure Centres. Possibly the new transport museum will be run by such firms on 5 or 10 year contracts. People in Glasgow have voted for so many years for a certain political party that it has taken for granted its right to run Glasgow. I dont think anything will change. Do we need things like community planning boards and community health boards? What do they do?
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bds1958
post 5th Apr 2010, 03:37pm
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More "Snouts In Taxpayers Money Trough" Socialism.

You're not surprised.........are you?


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**Marion Law**
post 5th Apr 2010, 05:33pm
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You know Guest - I truly believe if we had a Tory Governmnt - Glasgow would be destroyed. We have the worst sickness record in the whole of the UK - But - In some respects the labour government has addressed some of those issues. I think if the tories came to power we would be completely flatened. All the parties share the same evils - It's trying to find the good people within them that is the problem. Yet - Truly - What choices are there?

QUOTE (Guest @ 5th Apr 2010, 09:55am) *
Just another reason not to vote for Labour. Some roll models they are not!!!

Drug taking, holiday jaunts, lining their pockets with city folk money raised via Council Tax. Bin them all.

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Mathieson
post 5th Apr 2010, 07:05pm
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Hardy scoop of the millenium I would have thought. Labour party officials in Glasgow (or anywhere in Central Scotland for that matter) guilty of dodgy practices? Surely not!


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**Mima**
post 5th Apr 2010, 08:17pm
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I have been following this story since it was reported in the papers and news. I believe there is much more to come out of this story, there seems to be a vail of silence from the elected members of GGC on this very serious subbject. Long live the freedom of the press or we would not have known about this affair
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fronswa
post 5th Apr 2010, 08:46pm
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QUOTE (bds1958 @ 5th Apr 2010, 04:54pm) *
More "Snouts In Taxpayers Money Trough" Socialism.

You're not surprised.........are you?

Sorry to be a pain here bds1958, but what's socialism got to do with the story at hand?
If anything what the council have done here is the opposite of socialism.

http://www.glasgowlost.org/

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"These facilities are Glasgow's biggest cultural assets. How can we leave them in the hands of a trust run by multi-national businessmen?"

Keith Baldassara
Pollok Socialist councillor
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*AGNES & ROBERT*
post 5th Apr 2010, 09:43pm
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WITH ALL THE [ALLEGED] LYING, CORRUPTION AND THIEVING GOING ON, NOW WE ARE DOWN TO COUNCIL LEVEL, AS LONG AS YOU HAVE THIS FILTH RUNNING THINGS I DON'T SEE BRITAIN RECOVERING, RIGHT NOW I SEE MY COUNTRY IN A DISGUSTING CORRUPT STATE, WHAT A SHAME.
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