Thursday, 28 October 2010

More Radford Unity Complex Fall-Out

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is soon to discuss the progress of implementing recommendations made by its call-in sub-committee after JoCo (and presumably a number of others) ballsed up the handling of what to do with the Radford Unity Complex.

I reported in my previous post that Nottingham Studios had secured a lease on the Douglas School site. Well, it now seems that the wronged parties in all of this i.e. the occupants of RUC have now been engaged in negotiations for a Community Asset Transfer of the property.

Like with Nottingham Studios and the Douglas School site, you have to ask why this wasn't done
before. It was claimed at call-in that

"...the City Council had not been forthcoming with community groups about the possibility of pursuing a community asset transfer...". 

Essentially the response by JoCo et al was "...well you didn't ask...". I paraphrase but that about sums up the quality of the debate.

Another recommendation from call-in was that a review of the 'communications strategy' between NCC and RUC be carried out. The latest report states that -

"Since the call in the communication plan for the Radford Unity Complex Project has been revised. In particular new channels of communication have been established. The RUC groups have appointed a main spokesperson, with a deputy to cover in his absence and to support as necessary. The groups’ spokesperson is in direct contact with the Service Manager (Voluntary Sector Sustainability) who acts as a two way channel of communication between the RUC groups..."

(NCCLOLS translation service - "we went and talked to them". I love the way that NCC calls a spade a strategic multi-purpose manually operated granular materials moving device.)

Meetings have also been held concerning a further recommendation to 'develop transparent criteria for asset transfer to the community'. This is to avoid in future giving the impression that policy is made on the hoof when one of JoCo's mates rings him up and asks if there are any properties they can have. Which isn't what happened with RUC obviously.

Other fine measures include overhauling procedures to ensure that equalities issues are taken into account. The Equality and Diversity team's advice was to ensure the form has a question along the lines of 'have you taken into account equalities issues? Yes/no'. Worth their weight in gold that lot, that midnight oil wasn't in short supply there. Finally, never again must that embarrassing situation occur where officers send notice of eviction three months before the political decision to dispose of the property is made. It just makes everybody look silly and gives the impression of being disorganised.

All in all, that's quite a lot of changes and recommendations considering that call-in voted almost unanimously that nothing had gone wrong anyway. Welcome to the bizarre world of local government.

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