Jump to content
  • Announcements

    Welcome! New around here? Take a look at the New Members' Guide for some pointers.

    You can Sign up or log in with your Facebook account and you can soon be chatting away with friends old and new..

    Check out our Handy Information section if you're after something quickly!

  • calender payment

    Calendar Paymene

    Delivery Options
    Your NBN Forum Username:

  • If you would like to support the forum, please consider visiting the forum shop, where you can purchase such items as NBN Burgees, Window Stickers, or even a custom Limited Edition Wooden Throttle Control Knob

    Forum Shop

Sign in to follow this  
batrabill

Broads Engage Workshop

Recommended Posts

A report copied from the Facebook group Protect The Broads We Are Not a National Park, written by Sue Hines. 

 

Members of the Protect the Broads group attended the new Broads Engage workshop at 1.30 pm yesterday afternoon.  The format consisted of tables of 8 people including a facilitator who was a BA Member.  There was a good turnout with around 8 tables set up; each table ran independently.  

Adrian Clarke, Senior Waterways and Recreation Officer for the BA gave a good presentation on some of the aims, issues and constraints that are faced by the BA in working closely with Councils, landowners and other organisations to improve the access network and facilities in and around the Broads, with a list of core objectives.  He gave a very factual introduction and did not use it as a propaganda opportunity to promote the BNP. A representative from Norfolk County Council then gave a rather poor presentation which basically showed on maps the structure of footpaths etc round the county.

The workshop was then split into two sessions, the first one being on 'access on land and from land to water’s edge'.  A map was provided, initially of the southern rivers area (or vice versa) and then swapped between tables for the northern rivers area. Four headings were discussed, i.e. Uses (what activities do access users want to do), Assets (what facilities, services, infrastructure or other changes were needed and where), Priority Projects and Impacts (how impact of projects affects people etc).  Although asked to keep to specific areas, we asked for the general provision of waste disposal and toilet facilities to be included as objectives.

Our table, which consisted of one BA Member, myself and 6 very knowledgeable and experienced Broads users identified areas where footpaths had been broken or overgrown and where they needed to be reinstated or made usable;  other paths were identified where permissive path use had been withdrawn and attempts should be made to negotiate with landowners.

The second session (after a cup of tea and biscuit) was Mooring provision.  We were given maps (again one of the southern rivers and then swapped between tables for one of the northern rivers or vice versa) with the locations of BA moorings and moorings provided by others. The maps were marked up to show stretches of water which did not have moorings at approximately 30 minutes distance from each other.  Areas on the map where we thought new moorings should be installed were marked and reasons given on a separate sheet. Mooring types suggested were existing piled edges, pontoons, dolphins or posts.  We also suggested that clearing trees and shrubs from banks would provide bank mooring with rhond anchors/mudweights.  Additional moorings were suggested in areas which were not shown as gaps but known as high demand areas where volume exceeds provision.

The meeting finished around 4.30 pm but continued with our allocated Member and most of our ‘team’ for about another hour – partly in the car park!  We felt that our Member left with a better knowledge of how we, as stakeholders, felt about issues and the BA generally!  This will be followed up with an email shortly.

All in all it was considered by us to be a useful workshop but so much depends on how the information is collated and acted upon and, of course, we had no feedback from the other 7/8 tables input!  If the results are realistic, I personally would definitely attend another of these workshops.  Feedback from one of the attendees on our table was that he was torn between the workshop being useful and a “tick box” exercise where all of the points raised should already be known by the BA.

We will, of course, let you know the results of the workshop when they become available but it won’t be for a while.

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As one who was there it was an excellently well lead workshop, only one obviously inadvertent mention of the dreaded BNP which was quickly amended to 'a member of the NP family'! Clearly a clear understanding of the likely objections should that term have been used. In that respect Dr Packman was not there, a very wise move in my opinion because, having looked around the hall, he would have been well short of support. High praise for Adrian, an excellent workshop, however, we shall have to wait and see what comes of it. Yes, we did ask for more moorings at mooring hot spots! All in all, potentially a valuable meeting, hopefully the first of many, let's hope that it is productive. Certainly a feather in Adrian's hat and potentially one in the Authority's, subject to outcome.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I admit it, I went there with the avowed intention of confronting Dr Packman should he almost inevitably have used, and probably repeatedly, the BNP title. Not just that, the Acle Debacle too would have aroused me and, I suspect several other MOGs. Indeed, in conversation with others, after the workshop, it soon became abundantly clear that I was not the only one intent on mischief. One quite elderly, Miss Marple look alike, told me that had JP mentioned the BNP then she would have gone for his jugular! It was not a marketing event, it was a workshop. Of the sixty or seventy participants I wonder just how many were actually there in order to confront JP? My guess is that those in authority were acutely aware of that probability hence both his absence and the very obvious lack of BNP propaganda or the mention of the BNP from the front of the hall. It could have so easily dissolved into a shambles, great credit to those involved in the organisation of the event that it didn't. Very clearly the disquiet of the hoards is finally being recognized by the upper management, we must be getting through to him! 

I did feel for one well meaning Authority member though. Quite innocently mentioning the BNP, the naughty, naughty person! Bearing in mind that he was sat at a table with seven others, almost as one six of those individuals expressed horror!  That particular Authority member was later taken to one side and had the BNP issues, and several others, explained in some detail. Nothing was planned nor orchestrated, it just happened that way. Just to put your minds at rest several people, not just me, had our says on that matter, and other JP related issues.

All praise to all those who were involved, and that includes the attendees. It will be interesting to see how many of them return to subsequent meetings.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re the workshop, I see on fb that Sue Hines letter to her group facilitator and a reply from Hadyn Thirtle have been made public. Can these be copied here for members interest? (They certainly interested me!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apologies if these are the wrong ones being requested...

Sue

This is a copy of an email I sent to the Member who was facilitator on our table at the Broads Engage meeting last week.  I copied this email in to Haydn Thirtle as a courtesy.

Dear Melanie
It was interesting to meet you at the Broads Engage workshop on Tuesday and I hope that some action will be taken by the Broads Authority when all the information has been collated and made public.  I have to say that my impression was that the BA already know about most of the points that we discussed and noted on our table and this could possibly be another “box ticking” exercise. I know that there were enough people at the workshop who feel strongly enough about what needs to be done on the Broads to keep pushing for action by the Authority.

I was surprised that you didn’t appear to understand why the majority of the group on our table feel so strongly about the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads being called the “Broads National Park”. We can’t get round the fact that it is a lie and a brand name that is blatantly misleading the public.  To say that the Broads are a national park when they can never be one under current legislation due to the navigation element is wrong.  Those of us who are passionate about the Broads are happy to support the marketing of the Broads, but it must be clear that the brand name "Broads National Park" can only be used in the same context as any previous marketing brands e.g. "Britain's Magical Waterland".  It is even debatable that “marketing the Broads” is in the BA’s remit in the first place. 

In a Broads Authority meeting held in 2015 it was said “The Chief Executive emphasised that the branding and use of the term Broads National Park was intended to raise the profile of the Broads nationally and internationally and would not involve changing the name of the Broads Authority or its constitution and its three main functions all of which were given equal weight. The use of the National Park brand would help facilitate the discharge of all three functions, for example through supporting the commercial viability of the hire boat industry which was an important user of the navigation area.”

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations means you cannot mislead or harass consumers by, for example:

    including false or deceptive messages
    leaving out important information
    using aggressive sales techniques

Yet three years later we see the slogan “Broads National Park” on all the moorings signs, on the staff uniforms, on railway stations and airports welcoming people to an area which is not a National Park.  That sounds like a confidence trick to me and a step too far, together with the unnecessary associated costs! 

I feel sure that Dr Packman has managed to persuade you that there is no problem with using the branding of “Broads National Park” but there is an increasing volume of public unrest of which he is probably aware to a certain extent and puts it down to a few “trouble-makers”.  This unrest will continue and increase until he realises that the brand name can only be used in the correct context. 

However, many people believe that John Packman will go to any lengths to achieve his own personal objective of acquiring full NP status for the Broads – he can be very persuasive in his views and arguments. 

You asked what is lost by the use of the name “Broads National Park”.  Words like “integrity, trust and confidence” have been used by many people as faith in the BA to represent stakeholders’ interests is at an all-time low. 

You yourself provided an example of a lie!  It is our understanding that money was never an issue with the landowner of the Thurne Mouth moorings, as you stated.  The issues were with the provision of rubbish disposal as the landowner was “sick of hitting bags of rubbish when he cut the grass and ditches” and also the arrogant attitude of the BA during negotiations. These moorings are just one area where we feel let down by the BA as pontoon moorings were promised but have never materialised. Surely the issue of moorings being reinstated in such an important part of the river for boat users and anglers alike should take precedence over a visitors centre at Acle. 

This project is another area where public opinion appears to have been totally disregarded.  The expense of buying extra land to accommodate a visitor centre which is in totally the wrong place, with very dangerous access just over Acle river bridge and no local facilities for visitors, such as walks etc appears to many people to be a vanity project by the CEO.  When I asked questions of John Packman, back in May this year, when the project was first mooted, I did not receive one satisfactory answer to my questions.  Will this project go ahead without support of stakeholders, or should they be allowed to vote on the way public money is being spent?  At the very least stakeholders should expect Members to question the viability of any business plan for this project.  Is there actually a business plan for initial cost and ongoing expenditure?

Bear in mind Visitor Centres at high usage points have recently been closed by the Authority on the grounds of cost.

I am also very concerned that the BA Members who are supposed to represent stakeholders, although not elected to their positions, are out of touch with the Broads generally and stakeholders opinions in particular.  I know that various surveys will be quoted but it appears that only certain sections of Broads users are surveyed.  I have attempted to complete surveys online myself but find them so weighted to the answers that are required that I cannot respond satisfactorily.  With respect, you, yourself, did not appear to have much knowledge of the Broads area and its heritage and yet you are tasked with making decisions for the extremely knowledgeable, experienced and passionate Broads users/stakeholders with many years experience of the area.  If any of these people attempt to become Members themselves, for example on the Navigation Committee, they fail – why?  Is it because the senior management don’t want people who are going to give genuine and educated opinions?  That’s the way it appears to many of us. 

I have emailed Members over the years with concerns over various issues, the most recent being the election of a new Chair.  On this occasion I only had the courtesy of one reply to my email and I know others who did not receive any acknowledgement at all.  This does not instil trust and confidence in the Broads Authority or that the Members are working in the best interests of stakeholders.  It must be remembered that public money is being used by the BA and they must be accountable to those whose money is being used.  Just because someone asks a question or queries a proposal does not make them a trouble maker but this is the impression that comes over from the Authority. 

I have been told that the CEO reports to the Members but to us, as outsiders, it appears the CEO is leading the Members without sufficient questioning rather than Members directing policy. 

I hope that you will take my comments on board as there are many others who feel the same way as I do and some look to me as a spokesperson on their behalf. This should not be taken as a rant against the BA and if you want more information or wish to talk about any points raised in more detail, please be in touch.
 
Best regards

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haydyn

This the email reply I received from Haydn Thirtle, copied to Bill Dickson but not, it appears, to the original recipient!  I intend to reply to this email in due course and would welcome comments to be considered for inclusion in my email.

Dear Ms Hines,

Thank you for attending the Broads Engage workshop on access and moorings. The feedback from the event is really valuable to the Authority when looking at priorities for future action including whether enhancing the moorings at Thurne Mouth is appropriate.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988 gave the Broads an equivalent status to that of a National Park. In 2015 the Members of the Broads Authority decided to use the term 'Broads National Park' to promote the area. This decision was challenged in the High Court and the Court of Appeal which found that the Broads Authority had the power to use the term and it would not be misleading the public by doing so.

I have discussed the issue about National Park status with the Chief Executive and can assure you that it is neither the Members of the Authority or John's personal view that the Broads should be given "full National Park status" as you describe it and it is certainly not an ambition of the Authority to change the status from the one we have currently. 

It is frustrating that some people seem to think this is the case or that there is some hidden agenda in promoting the Broads National Park. The sole reason for doing so is that it is a term that is widely understood and offers considerable benefits in raising the profile and understanding of the importance of the area both locally, nationally and internationally which is one of our core purposes. I can also assure you that the Authority's Members are fully supportive of the work that is being undertaken to implement the decision we took in January 2015.

We are proud to wear the new branded corporate clothing provided by Columbia and I am particularly pleased with the new murals installed on spaces provided free of charge at Norwich Airport and the Norwich and Great Yarmouth train stations.

I am personally fully committed to the ambition to deliver a landmark visitor and education centre at Acle Bridge but as you would expect the Authority is proceeding with care and in a measured fashion before committing any significant amounts of public money to the project.

You are quite correct that the independent surveys of our customers and the public show a high level of satisfaction with the Authority's activities. We are intending to repeat the polling of opinion but because of the cost will probably carry it out in a staged approach.

The recruitment of the Navigation Committee, currently underway, is designed to identify the best candidates to fulfil that role and has a strong independent element to the process.

Finally I can assure you that as the Authority's Members are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds with a great deal of experience from the public, private and voluntary sectors they ask searching questions of all the officers who provide us with advice before coming to decisions.

Please circulate my response via your social media outlet to correct misunderstandings that some individuals perpetuate.

Your sincerely

Haydn Thirtle
Chairman of the Broads Authority
Tel: +44 (0)1603 756005

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Jay - they are the ones. I just did not know if it would be ok to do that. However, as they are already in the public domain (on dear old fb) I guess it’s no problem. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, vanessan said:

Thanks Jay - they are the ones. I just did not know if it would be ok to do that. However, as they are already in the public domain (on dear old fb) I guess it’s no problem. 

I'm assuming the same, if not then Mods feel free to delete my posts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, batrabill said:

Where on Facebook did those appear Jayfire?

It's from a group called

"Protect the broads, we are not a national park" I think.

Here's a link but its from the app so don't know if it will work ok

Linky thing which may not work

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it well, it’s where Sue Hines’ original post came from. 

I recommend reading the response to Mr T’s reply. 

It will be a matter of perspective but to me it is tipping over into Lunatic Fringe territory. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have my own opinions on the matter, but I'm just posting as the point was made about the letters being published, now everyone can see them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jayfire said:

Haydyn

This the email reply I received from Haydn Thirtle, copied to Bill Dickson but not, it appears, to the original recipient!  I intend to reply to this email in due course and would welcome comments to be considered for inclusion in my email.

Dear Ms Hines,

Thank you for attending the Broads Engage workshop on access and moorings. The feedback from the event is really valuable to the Authority when looking at priorities for future action including whether enhancing the moorings at Thurne Mouth is appropriate.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988 gave the Broads an equivalent status to that of a National Park. In 2015 the Members of the Broads Authority decided to use the term 'Broads National Park' to promote the area. This decision was challenged in the High Court and the Court of Appeal which found that the Broads Authority had the power to use the term and it would not be misleading the public by doing so.

I have discussed the issue about National Park status with the Chief Executive and can assure you that it is neither the Members of the Authority or John's personal view that the Broads should be given "full National Park status" as you describe it and it is certainly not an ambition of the Authority to change the status from the one we have currently. 

It is frustrating that some people seem to think this is the case or that there is some hidden agenda in promoting the Broads National Park. The sole reason for doing so is that it is a term that is widely understood and offers considerable benefits in raising the profile and understanding of the importance of the area both locally, nationally and internationally which is one of our core purposes. I can also assure you that the Authority's Members are fully supportive of the work that is being undertaken to implement the decision we took in January 2015.

We are proud to wear the new branded corporate clothing provided by Columbia and I am particularly pleased with the new murals installed on spaces provided free of charge at Norwich Airport and the Norwich and Great Yarmouth train stations.

I am personally fully committed to the ambition to deliver a landmark visitor and education centre at Acle Bridge but as you would expect the Authority is proceeding with care and in a measured fashion before committing any significant amounts of public money to the project.

You are quite correct that the independent surveys of our customers and the public show a high level of satisfaction with the Authority's activities. We are intending to repeat the polling of opinion but because of the cost will probably carry it out in a staged approach.

The recruitment of the Navigation Committee, currently underway, is designed to identify the best candidates to fulfil that role and has a strong independent element to the process.

Finally I can assure you that as the Authority's Members are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds with a great deal of experience from the public, private and voluntary sectors they ask searching questions of all the officers who provide us with advice before coming to decisions.

Please circulate my response via your social media outlet to correct misunderstandings that some individuals perpetuate.

Your sincerely

Haydn Thirtle
Chairman of the Broads Authority
Tel: +44 (0)1603 756005

Nothing taken onboard as to be expected, just a load of weak justification to continue doing as they like is what I read. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh no not again! I had thought that the NP issue had all gone to sleep - oh well must be the winter again!!

However, as an interested bystander with a few fingers in a few pies and my ear attached locally to the ground, you may all be interested that the Thurne Mouth issue appears to be be MUCH more than an issue over rubbish! This is a long standing dispute and the rubbish issue came only at the very end of this very sad saga. My understanding is that the core issue may not even have anything to do with the BA so before further suppositions are made in an open forum I think it may be sensible to move on!!! The statement in the open letter is only part of the issues and locals, and myself could probably tell a whole different tale - which I am not repeating even if what I hear is right!!

The Broads Engage workshops will be a total failure if people continue to drag in old and often unsubstantiated views and opinions - the world has to move on and the objective must be move on beyond entrenched views for the good of the Broads. If all we see is continued back biting by certain individuals the new format will come to end very quickly. Perhaps you never attended the old style Broads Forum meetings where these were often dominated by certain individuals with huge chipped shoulders banging on about their own personal grievances - that is why IMHO they failed. Lets not continue dredging up old conspiracies time and time again without evidence and try and move on and solve a few issues! Some of us are totally fed up with every issue leading back to the unsubstantiated conspiracy issue, on every issue, yet again - the FaceAche group does itself no favours at all!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought one of the heartening things was that Sue Hines was absolutely ready to give the benefit of the doubt and await the feedback. Even one P Waller was open minded. Hence some dismay at the response on FB.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, vanessan said:

Thanks Jay - they are the ones. I just did not know if it would be ok to do that. However, as they are already in the public domain (on dear old fb) I guess it’s no problem. 

 

2 hours ago, Jayfire said:

I'm assuming the same, if not then Mods feel free to delete my posts

The copyright in those letters remains with the authors, even though they have placed them 'in the public domain'. However, in this case, I have little doubt that both Mrs Hines and Mr Thirtle would have given their permission to reproduce them on here, had they been asked.

1 hour ago, batrabill said:

I know it well, it’s where Sue Hines’ original post came from. 

I recommend reading the response to Mr T’s reply. 

It will be a matter of perspective but to me it is tipping over into Lunatic Fringe territory. 

Those in the 'Lunatic Fringe' have been following the activities of the Broads Authority (and its CEO) in great detail for decades. Some have even been members/officers, so it ill-behoves anyone to be quite so insultingly dismissive of their views.

51 minutes ago, marshman said:

Oh no not again! I had thought that the NP issue had all gone to sleep - oh well must be the winter again!!

However, as an interested bystander with a few fingers in a few pies and my ear attached locally to the ground, you may all be interested that the Thurne Mouth issue appears to be be MUCH more than an issue over rubbish! This is a long standing dispute and the rubbish issue came only at the very end of this very sad saga. My understanding is that the core issue may not even have anything to do with the BA so before further suppositions are made in an open forum I think it may be sensible to move on!!! The statement in the open letter is only part of the issues and locals, and myself could probably tell a whole different tale - which I am not repeating even if what I hear is right!!

The Broads Engage workshops will be a total failure if people continue to drag in old and often unsubstantiated views and opinions - the world has to move on and the objective must be move on beyond entrenched views for the good of the Broads. If all we see is continued back biting by certain individuals the new format will come to end very quickly. Perhaps you never attended the old style Broads Forum meetings where these were often dominated by certain individuals with huge chipped shoulders banging on about their own personal grievances - that is why IMHO they failed. Lets not continue dredging up old conspiracies time and time again without evidence and try and move on and solve a few issues! Some of us are totally fed up with every issue leading back to the unsubstantiated conspiracy issue, on every issue, yet again - the FaceAche group does itself no favours at all!

You wish :default_rolleyes: What would be interesting would be for those being so dismissive of the FB group's views to join the group and put their contra-opinions. Discussing it on here seems rather like talking behind someone's back.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, marshman said:

Oh no not again! I had thought that the NP issue had all gone to sleep - oh well must be the winter again!!

However, as an interested bystander with a few fingers in a few pies and my ear attached locally to the ground, you may all be interested that the Thurne Mouth issue appears to be be MUCH more than an issue over rubbish! This is a long standing dispute and the rubbish issue came only at the very end of this very sad saga. My understanding is that the core issue may not even have anything to do with the BA so before further suppositions are made in an open forum I think it may be sensible to move on!!! The statement in the open letter is only part of the issues and locals, and myself could probably tell a whole different tale - which I am not repeating even if what I hear is right!!

The Broads Engage workshops will be a total failure if people continue to drag in old and often unsubstantiated views and opinions - the world has to move on and the objective must be move on beyond entrenched views for the good of the Broads. If all we see is continued back biting by certain individuals the new format will come to end very quickly. Perhaps you never attended the old style Broads Forum meetings where these were often dominated by certain individuals with huge chipped shoulders banging on about their own personal grievances - that is why IMHO they failed. Lets not continue dredging up old conspiracies time and time again without evidence and try and move on and solve a few issues! Some of us are totally fed up with every issue leading back to the unsubstantiated conspiracy issue, on every issue, yet again - the FaceAche group does itself no favours at all!

I think that is a little unfair marshman.

There is a lot of truth in what you say, however, time and time again we hear that ‘there are issues that I cannot talk about’ or ‘there’s more to this than meets the eye’ or ‘don’t believe everything you read’. I don’t think for one minute that everyone believes everything they read but, unless both sides of the argument or whatever are heard, I don’t think a balanced view can be reached very easily. The ‘Protect the Broads’ group seem to feel very strongly and generally endeavour to put their case forward with vigour, as someone who cares about the Broads it interests me greatly to read what they have to say. I also read what others have to say but the continued use of phrases such as ‘conspiracy issues’ and ‘chipped shoulders’ doesn’t really help me understand what is going on. Like many others, I too am an interested bystander but as I am not local I have to rely on what I read for information. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m not allowed to be a member of Protect the Broads.... they dont like people arguing.  So it’s public and I think reasonable especially as they are taking a role in the Engage process as a pressure group. 

Possibly could have said Green Ink Brigade but Lunatic Fringe seems appropriate. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not think the Engage workshops will continue if pressure groups emerge - in fact I know they won't!

Everyone thinks "their" pressure group is the most important and are what the Broads need - my view is generally different in that only with genuine cooperation and rational thinking will any progress be made - no evidence of that so far, just the same old soapboxes appearing. For progress to be made you have to talk constructively, especially with the BA,  and that seemingly cannot occur whilst we trot out the same as before. And no I do not propose, unusually, to enter into such a discussion, on Facebook!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, dnks34 said:

Please circulate my response via your social media outlet to correct misunderstandings that some individuals perpetuate.

I think this can be construed as giving permission for the reply to be circulated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, marshman said:

Oh no not again! I had thought that the NP issue had all gone to sleep - oh well must be the winter again!!

bearing in mind the initial post said that the BNP issue was not really discussed overly at the meeting, I think it would be sad to see this interesting discussion sidetracked down that route, i'd rather see it concentrating on the issues raised.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's imagine, for a moment, a large company, perhaps a publisher, with a chain of book shops, in towns around the country. Every year at about this time, the middle management (the bookshop managers) are all invited (that is to say forced) to attend a managers' conference which involves a bit of a junket for a couple of nights in a seaside hotel with slap up meals and rallying speeches with "bullet points"  from the "line" management and directors. This may also involve "bonding" sessions, perhaps of crazy golf, go-carting or archery and nowadays it will always include  an "engage workshop". 

You are split up into tables of 6 or 8 and spend a whole afternoon debating bizarre and irrelevant questions, to which you are supposed to come up with a team answer as to how you would run the company better than the fantastic job which is already being done by the management. At the end of this you discover that it was actually a competition and one table is the "winner". This will always be the table whose mentor is the director of "Human Resources", since they are the real power behind the throne of modern corporate organisations.

The outcome of all this is two-fold :

1/. The management can now sit back and say that they have engaged their staff and made them feel part of the "family" which is their company. They have asked for opinions "from the floor" and they have "taken aboard" all that has been offered.

2/. You, the rank and file, can now go back to the coal face feeling that you have had a chance to have your say, and told "that lot" where they are all going wrong.

The fact that they never had any intention of doing a damn thing different from what they had already decided in the first place, only dawns on you about 6 months later!

I am sorry, but I see this as nothing but a cynical exercise, which I recognised as soon as I saw the words "engage workshop".

I've been there, I've done that, and I've got the T-shirt.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • NBN Mobile App

    Want to use NBN when you're out and about?

    Get our mobile app for Android and iOS!

    Get it on Google Play

×

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.