Council-use to become community-use for excess resources – investigation findings

Local communities should be involved in putting excess council resources to good use – this is the key recommendation from an investigation into why materials including Gaelic books were put in a skip during the clearance of a council office.

Findings from the investigation found that resources from the Council’s Education Office in Oban had in many cases been re-distributed across council services. Reasons for there being exceptions to this include:

-          The council has moved to using on-line Gaelic dictionaries so requires fewer paper versions

-          Gaelic teaching materials are updated as the Gaelic school curriculum is updated; some Gaelic resources were therefore no longer part of schools’ teaching materials.

Douglas Hendry, Executive Director for Education said:

“Members of the public have been key in bringing us to the findings of this investigation and so to steps towards ensuring better practice in future. Thank you to everyone who has contacted us about this.

We understand concerns about the disposal of Gaelic materials. We value our role in supporting the Gaelic language and so make efforts to keep our Gaelic-language curriculum up-to-date and amend teaching resources as needed.

This situation however should not have happened.

Wherever possible, if materials are no longer required, council-use should become community-use. And any materials disposed of, must be disposed of responsibly.

Our aim is to use the findings of this investigation to develop practices that work every time.”

As part of the investigation, the council also assessed information found against the national Information Commissioner’s (ICO) self assessment tool; while there had been a data breach, this assessment indicated it was not of the standard that would require it to be reported to the ICO.

As well as giving communities the opportunity to re-use or distribute excess resources, investigation findings recommends reinforcing guidance for employees on disposing of materials responsibly.

The next steps will be to advise interested parties of the outcome of the investigation, implement clear guidelines for the disposal of surplus Council property, and assess options for involving communities constructively in office clearances.

You can read a copy of the investigation findings here.

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