Wuthering Moors 74 – lessons unlearned

I am grateful to several Natural England staff who have found ways to send me a document recently posted on the NE intranet, but written in March 2013, entitled Walshaw Moor Lessons Learned Action Plan.

Considering this document is over five years old, it is of mostly historic interest to very few people, however, there are a few amusing excerpts that I can share with you – at least they amused me.

I have read the document several times – well, I’ve started it several times  but I kept falling asleep before I got to the end.

Here are some rip-roaring bits of prose from it [and some sarcastic comments me in square brackets]:

  • The Executive Board noted the need for a plan to break out of the circle of confidentiality and perceived secrecy surrounding Walshaw and that strategic and cultural drivers needed to be addressed as well as attention to process. [it must be great to work in an organisation where this passes for communication]
  • Together these actions are intended to strengthen the processes and frameworks for managing high risk and complex cases by providing further clarity to staff for dealing with casework in a systematic and consistent way and greater transparency of key decisions made by senior managers.  [it was around here that I often felt my eyelids getting heavy]
  • Ownership of the Burning Group is unclear and needs defining [presumably a hot potato!]
  • The review identified the need for the wider implementation of the Project Management Standard, including ensuring the necessary leadership is in place; early and repeated risk analysis is carried out; and that a relationship and communication plan is in place. [Wake up!!]
  • Executive Board recognised the need for implementing the Risk and Issues Management Standard in all functions, especially those that are externally facing [did you join NE to conserve wildlife?]
  • Executive Board considered the challenge of instilling confidence in the evidence base whilst recognising that in some cases it is not robust and that a distinction needs to be made between evidence and its interpretation into advice [does that mean ‘we don’t know what we are talking about but we’d like the people we talk to to think we do’?]

This caught my eye – I’m not sure why…

We also continue to receive a number of detailed and specific requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations, requiring lengthy analyses and responses

I wonder whether this was ever resolved…

Executive Board identified that the consents in the Walshaw case (and others) were not adequate and that subsequent reviews had not rectified the situation

I wonder whether this was ever resolved…

Handling of the Walshaw case did not follow our own guidance on compliance and enforcement

And this one wasn’t fully resolved, was it?

We need to be on top of our handling of both consenting and the undertaking of HRA.

…because NE had to admit that its HRA of an agreement with Walshaw Moor Estate was unlawful.

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5 Replies to “Wuthering Moors 74 – lessons unlearned”

  1. The one thing I can't understand is why the document was called the "Walshaw Moor Lessons Learned Action Plan."
    I can't detect in any of the more recent scandalous episodes from NE that they have learned any lessons at all.
    Everything which people object to still verges on illegal action by NE.
    I assume that this relates to the fact that they have not yet changed the audience to whom they direct all their attention.

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  2. Reminds me of the episode of Flight of the Conchords where Brett and Murray don't understand a word an Australian girl is saying. In case you don't know, they are from New Zealand.
    So is there a translation from Natural English to Natural Scots?

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  3. One wonders if the people that write this largely opaque gobbledegook actually understand it. Does one of them perchance also speak and write plain English, if so perhaps they'd be kind enough to provide a plain English translation.
    Then on the other hand this may be designed to be off putting to the enquirer. If so they again fail to follow the spirit of the requirement of the environmental regulations. To put it another way it reads like a pile of very steaming bullshit!!!

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  4. Heaven help the intelligent, honest souls who still work for this organisation. Unfortunately, it's this kind of obfuscating guff that tends to get some people promoted within the civil service.

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