Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Return of Quango Watch. . .it's Rocket Science

William Roe is the chairman of an Edinburgh based consultancy firm named Rocket Science (oh how very bloody 80s). The 'internationally recognised facilitator' is also Chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). So it will probably come as no surprise that HIE are a customer of the Edinburgh based Rocket Science who also have offices in London and Newcastle.

According to the Scotsman, "The firm recently had to repay an £8,000 consultancy fee to HIE following claims it had plagiarised information on a report on skills utilisation. HIE is now reviewing all reports from the firm to discover whether the error was a one-off or not." It sort of confirms your worst fears about consultants.

It gets worse, "The agency has awarded 15 contracts to Rocket Science since 2005, totalling about £103,000." What have they been for? International facilitation?

Mr Roe was recently appointed Chairman of the Scottish Executive's 21st Century Social Work Group. Mr Roe gets paid £47,905 per year for 2 and a half days a week at HIE. We can presume he also gets paid by 21st Century social work, which is also our money.

Overall not a bad ride on the Scottish gravy train. The Scotsman said that HIE are doing an internal audit of their relationship with Rocket Science and a report will be sent to Audit Scotland. Any chance Rocket Science will have to pay anything back? Any chance anyone will lose their job at HIE; particularly Mr Roe? Trouble is Rocket Science also work for Audit Scotland!

Well done to the Scotsman, and John Ross in particular, for highlighting this story. This is what they should be doing as a newspaper, getting stuck in. For too long the Scotsman has been towing the line and not doing an serious investigative stuff. What they have to do now is keep on the case and not just drop it like they have before.


Celia Carson said...

You have your facts wrong. I worked with Willy Roe in the 1970s at the Scottish Council of Social Service (the previous name for SCVO) . He left there in the early 80s.

Richard Havers said...

Already changed it; it was the confusing way his CV is presented on the Rocket Science web site.

Niclas said...

On the plagarism stuff- according to the Sunday Herald that was the fault of a consultant dismissed shortly afterwards- it's very difficult for another consultant working on a project to spot such and quality control appropriately- a certain amount of professional trust is required between colleagues, in this case apparently abused.

On the award of other contracts to Rocket Science, do you or the Scotsman have anything at all to suggest skulduggery- or is it just the usual Bernstein and Woodward wannabe stuff of desperation to see conspiracy where there is no actual evidence that one exists?

Richard Havers said...

Niclas, I take your point on the plagiarism, but the fact remains it happened.

Desperation? Not at all. I've just been around corporate life long enough to know how the game gets played. We'll see soon enough on the evidence. Although possibly not....


Niclas said...

Interestingly I understand that the company have received less from HIE on both of the last two years than they did prior to Mr Roe's appointment.

On the knowing how things operate. Mr Roe has been a long time, and knows that reputation is everything. I would be very suprised if he had anything to do with the award of contracts to Rocket Science.

If it's about how things operate in the real world, I would suspect that this has been stirred up by someone with an axe to grind against Mr Roe. No need for proof of wrong doing, just subtle assassination and screw the collateral damage.