14 July 2008

All's well that ends well, you think?

I have always veered towards the cock-up theory of history while leaving the conspiracists to their more sinister version of events. But this story is quite extraordinary. The Herald provides us with the details:
Scottish ministers have moved to head off accusations of political vindictiveness after an administrative blunder was blamed for the reneging on cash pledges to community organisations.
More than 20 groups across Scotland were told on Friday afternoon they had been successful in their applications for funding from the Scottish Government's equality unit only to be told hours later that a decision had "not actually been made" by the Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell and that "all the letters which were sent out were done so prematurely".
Civil servants claimed they had simply been preparing drafts so they could move quickly once a decision had been reached and that those who had been wrongly told could discuss the matter.
However, following allegations by one recipient, Mike Dailly, of the Govan Law Centre, that the U-turn was politically motivated and that he would pursue legal action if the promised £250,000 did not materialise the government pledged yesterday that all those who received the first letter would get the funding.

So the civil servants sent out grant award letters, then withdrew them, then confirmed that the original awards would be honoured. A simple mistake?

In the good old days of the civil service, draft letters would be distinguished from final version by being prepared in double spacing, with DRAFT written at the top of every page. But in these days of e-mail communication, perhaps that is no longer standard practice. Even so, it is still difficult to believe that grant awards could be issued before final Ministerial approval had been obtained.

I don't suppose that we will ever learn the whole story.

No comments: