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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Still no analysis here


...but there are community views all around.

Andy Lawrence:
If you were expecting a whitewash, think again. Its pure Semtex.


Stuart at the Astronomy Blog is looking to the future:
I hope the situation improves soon and everyone can get back to doing some real science.


Chris Lintott seems unsure of the criticisms levelled the executive:
And that’s it; the conclusion is nasty - calling for substantial changes in the way the STFC is run, and questioning Keith Mason’s ability to carry out these changes. I know that others will jump on these, and who knows, they may be right to do so. It’s a difficult call from my position, but to be honest I don’t care who is in charge. If we can just hang on until the Wakeham review, then the report would have done a great deal of good.


Short and sweet from Chesneycat:
Hell, YEAH!

and
Abso-bloody-Word.


e_pepys with a view from the inside:
I am impressed by how they seem to have grasped the essential issues and make excellent recommendations (and not just those that say we should be fully funded).


My take?

I think the report does a good job of getting to the root of the problem.

Yes I have lambasted STFC and its embattled CEO but the issue has always been bigger than that; I have often described it as a two pronged problem.

On the one hand you had the major cock-ups in handling the situation by STFC and on the other you had the settlement from DIUS and their inability to recognise the problem at any stage throughout this process.

In the comments to his latest blog post Andyxl had this to say:
You could see all this as a classical tragedy. The fall is determined both by the characters intrinsic flaws. and the historical dilemma they find themselves in.

which has merit as a description of the situation.

There are plenty of good recommendations in the report that should be followed up, though I am uninspired by the initial two responses from STFC, the first from the CEO and the second from council (on which the CEO also sits). I was particularly gobsmacked by this:
The report calls for changes to STFCs management structure. This was addressed in February when our new executive board was announced. A restructuring of STFC is being implemented by Professor Richard Wade, STFC Chief Operating Officer
You see the report says:
We do not have any confidence that rearranging the responsibilities of the existing staff will solve STFC’s problems. There is, as noted earlier, immediate need for a Communications Director. However, the management failings at STFC go deeper than this. The events of the past few months have exposed serious deficiencies within STFC’s senior management, whose misjudgements could still significantly damage Britain’s research reputation in this area, both at home and abroad.
See paragraphs 106 and 107.

Note that the committee is saying that the rearrangement done in February was not enough. Yet in rebuttal to this Keith offers the argument that he has already addressed this by rearranging the management team in February.

Can he not see how ridiculous that is? I would love to see how John Stewart of the Daily Show would cover this.

My only conclusion from Keith's response is that he is treating the report with the same scorn that many in the community feel he treats us.

Anyway, there you go, you got a little bit of analysis from me after all.

More to come I am sure...

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