Name: Stewart Douglas Electoral Ward: Shetland South Description: Independent
I started my working career as an apprentice building control officer with Falkirk Council in 1978 – fast forward 45 years – I now live with my wife and Hamish (our border terrier) at Aisterlea, Cunningsburgh – our extended family lives in Shetland, Scotland, and as far afield as Australia. During those years I’ve also achieved a master of science degree, and chartered membership of a number of construction and transport/logistics industry professional bodies.
Moving to Shetland in 2009 to take up a position as building standards surveyor, and then performance and improvement officer with SIC, I then went on to carry out project management roles on the construction of the Shetland gas plant, the [highly successful] Scalloway fish market redevelopment project, and undertook construction management work for the Foreign & Commonwealth Offices Services on the upgrading work of the RAFs’ long range remote radar heads. I have recently been involved in the Scalloway waterfront and town centre feasibility study project as well as the new ASTA camping and recreational facility – projects undertaken by Scalloway Community Councils’ development arm, the Scalloway Community Development Company Limited.
I currently work as a freelance local authority building standards officer [working remotely from home], and provide a wide range of professional construction design and management, and external transport management services for clients throughout Shetland and beyond – my business, the SSD Group, can be seen by following this link www.ssd.scot
Here are a number of matters I feel are of importance:-
- COBRA-style meeting to address the energy and cost of living crisis affecting Shetland – Urgent meeting needs to be called by the new SIC council as soon as is legally possible.
- Council needs to work smarter – need to reduce the annual draw on financial reserves to keep the council afloat by smarter working – we need to change how we think about work and looking at a fundamentally different approach to how we work and organise our working environments – we need to be challenging what we think we know about work and how it gets done.
- Council recruitment issues – recruitment and retention issues go hand in hand – why is staff retention is such an issue? – why can’t succession planning be introduced? – how can SIC be made a made a more attractive organisation to work for? – Planning service have had issues for over a decade!
- Create a planning service that is more community-focused – has become a service within SIC which is not community-focused, and whose main aim is to only engage in work which generates external fee income – officials need to prioritise helping the community they are employed to serve.
- Delegated powers – need for a complete review/overhaul of existing delegated power arrangements.
- Project management/lessons learned – need to review/overall the way SIC manages projects to ensure they are delivered on time and within budget – need to ensure lesson are learned from previous projects – actual/potential projects – council house building programme | A970 road upgrade | Fair Isle replacement ferry & infrastructure | Brae School | Fixed links | etc.
- Community projects – Community councils need to be encouraged, and assisted in developing “priority” local community projects to ensure they are “funder ready” when funding streams become available. Projects for children activities, younger people, paths/walkways, maintenance and improve energy efficiency of community buildings, energy generation, etc.).
- House building – encourage and remove the many current barriers that discourage people from building their own homes – every house built is another energy efficient house added to the housing stock.
- “It’s against Council policy” – Ensure that when anyone is given this reason in reply to a question or request from a council official the matter is recorded and drawn to the attention of the next relevant council meeting – the meeting would decide if the policy is still relevant, or indeed relevant to the specific circumstances of the matter in hand [Thanks David P].
On May 6th we need a new, vibrant and forward thinking team of councillors – councillors who are not afraid to ask questions, challenge views and opinions, and say no when that is the right thing to do – the former administration needs to retire and allow others to come forward with new ideas and make decisions that are best for the people of Shetland South.
Don’t let Shetland South decisions be dominated by the power sharing Holyrood SNP & Greens – let me be your voice on the council – Vote DOUGLAS on May 5th.