Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Auntie Beeb.

With the feeding frenzy surrounding the current plight of the BBC subsiding a little, perhaps the time has come to take a slightly more sober examination of the circumstances which have arisen. I think it would be true to say that the BBC is the envy of the world given the vast array of services on offer, the innovative programmes on offer and the cutting edge investigative journalism which is undertaken.

Despite this expertise there has clearly been a series of mistakes made recently that have placed the organization, rightly, under public scrutiny. Without going into the individual aspects of the recent cases involved there does appear to be a common element of poor management interwoven within the processes  of the programmes affected. Furthermore, in an organization concentrating on communication, why was it so poor in operating as a team when a crucial issue arose. It beggars belief that no senior colleague saw fit to "tip off" the then Director General of an obvious serious issue that was emerging. Hardly surprising that the chap appeared to know precious little about the subject when interviewed the day following. Who would turn in a good performance when wrong footed in such an extreme fashion?. Overall it does seem likely, stemming from his long experience, that he would have been  a good front man in what is clearly a demanding job requiring huge resources of resilience, calm and resolve.

Behind the obvious public faces we all see from time to time there appears to be a phalanx of senior individuals whose personal concerns more relate to survival, self progression and postioning as opposed to selfless teamwork. Perhaps a set of circumstances has now emerged where a clear-out of such "grey suits" is undertaken, rigid lines of responsibility created and an insistence made that conferred responsibility is fully accepted. From an outside viewpoint it certainly seems the management system is in complete disarray and was probably never fit for purpose to begin with!

As far as the Trust is concerned, is it appropriate that a unanimous decision from that body resulting in the appointment of an individual  whose period of tenure was "allowed" to be brief , at best, should be left to recruit the next incumbent to the position of Director General when they so conveniently and ingloriously allowed the previous role holder to depart the job. A little bit of attention deflection or reputation retention perhaps?  I hold the view that the recently departed DG would have subsequently made a good fist of the job had he been given the luxury of sufficient time to do so. With such a tangled web of incompetence wallowing below the surface it may well be that he's well out of it. Time will tell.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

Storms, climate change and akin matters!

With the horrendous realities of the recent devastating events arising from Storm Sandy continuing to emerge in the United States and recent memories of flooding in the UK still being vividly evident a number of questions begin to arise that warrant examination. In fact , far more serious examination, given the implications of climate change , sea level rise and the increase in serious storm events.

Recent years has seen some examination and debate in the UK about built development within flood plains, the projected frequency of flood events and the implications for insurance coverage. Within that period too, some serious problems have occurred  at home and abroad and badly affected the lives of too many people as a consequence. The final effects of the most recent event in the USA has yet to be fully realised , but appears likely to be almost beyond imagination.

I am sure much will emerge with hindsight and a great deal of comment and discussion arise. It seems to me that New York will need to review a whole series of issues connected with their precise circumstances, one major one of which must surely be to examine the extent to which built development can be allowed again within the curtilage of the badly affected areas.  Indeed, it seems to me we have all reached a point where all Governments need to delineate areas where, from now on, no development will take place, whatever the potential periodicity of damaging events. Some Governments in Asia will no doubt find this impossible where, for example, agriculture tales place on a seasonal basis with families moving in and out of given areas. I believe we need to recognize that these devastating events will continue to happen and debate about flood defences, insurance coverage, future premiums and emergency service provision are merely superficial elements of a bigger problem that we have yet to properly address. Obviously with developments already in situ such services will continue to be placed under pressure, but more effort should be made to gradually reduce the potential effects and misery which can arise.

Draconian, maybe? But the alternative is to realise that planning regulations cannot ever possibly accommodate the needs of keeping nature at bay. Flood control barriers, or similar measures, might reduce effects with differing levels of success, but the cost of these is immense. Whilst undoubtedly we need to consider such measures to protect existing areas where crucial development has already taken place, surely the most sensible future policy is also to ensure no future development occurs in wide areas that are likely to be at risk.  We need to recognize that allowing a presence within areas at risk is not addressing the problem and that we now need to create a threshold beyond which the events of the past are not exacerbated by our own planning controls..