Alistair Stewart the CEO of SDC has had a heart attack last week, we pass on our best wishes to him and wish him a speedy recovery. He is currently not fit for purpose due to health reasons. Alistair is expected to be fit for purpose and back at his desk in early September.
In 1999, Cllr Rory Love
won overall control of the Council from the Liberal Democrats, meaning that the Conservatives have been in power for the last 17 years. However in 2003, after 4 years of a conservative administration the Audit and Inspection Annual Letter 2003 states among other things:
‘there are some ‘grey areas’ around the boundaries of the interface between Members and officers’
During these intervening 5 years before Alistair (get well soon) arrived there were rocketing increases in council tax, government capping, meetings with Nick Raynsford (the then local government minister), a failed appeal against capping, new council tax bills sent out half way through the year – and a drastic cut in spending as a result. Shepway District Council was rated as a weak authority by the Audit Commission, and was close to the threat of government intervention.
In 2004, Alistair (get well soon) bagged the job after the former CEO stepped down. Alistair came from West Lindsey District Council (Lincolnshire) where he held the position of Director of Corporate Resources.
‘It gave me an adrenalin rush. I knew I could do things at Shepway,’ he said. He started as Chief Executive in November (2004).’
After just four years at the council, Alistair (get well soon) catapulted SDC’s fortunes from a ‘weak’ rating to ‘good’ following a reassessment by the Audit Commission.
Alistair (get well soon) is a firm believer in ‘Face-to-face contact with customers’ he goes on to say it ‘is still one of the most efficient ways to do business. We have not lost sight of this, and it will continue to be a key element of our service,’.
On Facebook, there is a group called ‘I have experienced poor service from Shepway District Council ‘ of which Cllr Claire Jeffrey and former Cllr Emily Arnold are members.
Alistair (get well soon) has with our 17 year old Conservative led Council outsourced many contracts to offshore entities. Some of these are Arlingclose Ltd (Australian) NSL Services Group Ltd (Jersey) Veolia (France) Capita (Largest shareholder domiciled in Bermuda). ICT Sopra Steria who are listed on the Paris Euronext stock. The Reuben Brothers (British Virgin Islands/Switzerland). There are more but we think you get the picture.
‘going online is a simple and convenient way for people to access council services. Finding a way to keep technology up to date in the current financial climate had us looking for new ways to do business.’
Alistair is social media savvy and is on Twitter (send him a get well tweet, if you would) and believes we should move to online voting, what do you think, considering the election expenses investigations which are ongoing.
‘Every member of staff has been assessed for their suitability to work from home, from the office or a combination of both. The contract with Sopra Steria will ensure the council has the IT resources to support large-scale working from home, while enabling services to remain efficient.‘
Cllr Rory Love is the Cabinet Member responsible for Customers and Digital Delivery. He has rolled out Ipad’s to Councillors, but the website changes have been ‘ongoing’ for quite some time. But hey guess what people are saying about Rory.
Alistair errs on the side of caution when it comes to ‘Open Government‘ and we ask, is ‘there… some ‘grey areas’ around the boundaries of the interface between Members and Officers’ still?
We hope when Alistair (get well soon) is fit for purpose and allowed back to his desk, in early September, it’ll be the first thing on his agenda to sort out the ‘Grey Area’. As we know, ‘There’s still an adrenalin rush’ in these ‘exciting times ahead.’
Get well soon, Mr Stewart