Monday, 9 November 2009

Praise and criticism

We all like to be praised for the things we do right, but criticism for the things that are not so good can sometimes be an unpleasant experience. However, it's also something we can learn from – provided that we are willing to listen.

Carmarthenshire County Council revels in praise when they receive it. Their leaders are only too quick to seize on any report which shows the county in a good light, and boast about their achievements. Not long ago, they even issued a press release which listed a number of achievements including the high proportion of children in the county who had their teeth checked by a dentist - not obviously a matter over which the council had any real control.

So how about when a report dares to criticise the council, as a recent report from Estyn did? Well one councillor rose to his feet in the chamber to fulminate against the authors, attacking the quality of the staff and suggesting that the report showed only that Estyn were unable to assess and correlate the information they were given.

It didn't sound to me like a council that was terribly keen on learning from criticism.

1 comment:

caebrwyn said...

As Carmarthenshire County Council have amended the constitution to fund libel claims on behalf of officers; the situation could arise where taxpayers money is being used to silence the taxpayer. If abused, the amendment could also be used to circumvent the rule that a governing body cannot sue for defamation. Unfounded allegations should and can be swiftly refuted in the many different ways councils have open to them. However, this change in the constitution, unique to this council, together with the enormous cost of defending libel actions, is a far more sinister threat to the freedom of speech; including investigative journalism and the local press.