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Never cut customer service in a downturn

Angus House council HQ.
Angus House council HQ.

Sir, – Your story on Angus Council cuts and job losses gives me great concern.

I note phrases like redesigning, reducing and stopping services.

I note consultancy firm EY has been paid £467,000 since August 2014 and will be retained to find more savings.

The firm works for the Transforming Angus Board which consists of six councillors. I can only assume the board has no business experience if it needs a consultant to do the job the councillors signed up for.

I worked in the oil industry for 40 years and saw eight major cycles where we did not use consultants as it was an expense not required.

There are five basic steps to weather a downturn.

Get rid of the nice-to-have costs and departments.

Go back to basic remuneration for all employees including managers and directors and remove all bonus payments.

Look for efficiencies in all services and manufacturing using a number of tried and tested methods.

Reduce stock in hand and extend deliveries.

The last reduction is people but starting with management by combining departments.

You never reduce the service to the customer as this is the short road to administration, unless you have a captive income in council tax.

Competent managers do not need consultants to implement the above.

I have been in correspondence with Angus Council on the removal of the food-waste service in country areas.

This is an excellent example of a lack of knowledge or experience. There are pods that fit the existing bin lorries that could allow food to be collected with the same truck and staff.

George Sangster.


Follow example set by Japan

Sir, – If the Japanese authorities can repair a sinkhole measuring 15 metres wide and 30 metres deep in the space of a week, with the mayor of the town in question actually apologising for the delay, how can the potholes around where I live not be fixed in the same period of time, or, indeed, at all?

Eric Travers.
38 Gellatly Road,


Safety first at Bleaton Hallet

Sir, – The new bridge at Bleaton Hallet is nearly ready for traffic.

The A93 at Blackwater and Alyth will be reconnected after 10-and-a-half months.

But the road is still the C446 – full of passing places, twisty corners, livestock, squirrels, cyclists, walkers and quad bikes.

It is still not good for long vehicles or speedy white vans.

The approaches to the bridge are slightly altered so people need to take care to get used to the lie of the land.

Our drystane dykes are still liable to fall if you hit them, the deer still jump out and startle you and the road still gets slippy when it is wet or frosty.

We certainly appreciate the hard work and good manners shown by the teams working to get the work done and will miss the quiet road and the building of the new bridge.

Ann Crichton.
By Blackwater,
Bridge of Cally.


What are school access rules?

Sir, – On occasion, I walk my grandson to school in Barnhill, Dundee, and on the way see numerous parents doing likewise.

However, instead of waving the children off at the gates, many enter the playground and stand five to 10 yards from the school entrance until the children are ushered into school.

This is despite there being uniformed staff patrolling the playground until the children enter the school.

The parents who insist on entering the playground must present security difficulties to the school staff.

Surely only parents or adults on official duty should enter school playgrounds and in these cases proceed directly to the school reception? The only exceptions may be parents taking children to the nursery.

Is this a common practice at other Dundee primary schools?

I wonder what the official Dundee City Council view on this is?

Alistair Martin.
3 Godfrey Street,


Blame drivers not the road

Sir, – I found it rather disturbing to read your article that, for the second year running, the A909 road between Kelty and Burntisland has been classified as the most dangerous in Scotland.

As a user of this road on a regular basis I find this difficult to understand.

Yes, it does twist and wind in places and towards the coast has some steep inclines, but these are only due to the fact it follows the contours of the land.

The problem as I see it is not the road, but those sometimes reckless motorists who use it and drive at speeds far in excess of those required, which can turn frustration into fatality.

If measures are taken to remove the bends in order to straighten this scenic road, I consider this will only compound the problem as speeds will increase further, making the statistics even worse.

The solution is simple. Drive according to the road and conditions.

Ron Blanchard.
177 Kinghorn Road,


Hot air of global warming lobby

Sir, – I note 2016 is about to be christened “the hottest in Earth’s recorded history” which is quite a claim given that we have records reaching back to Sumeria around 3,500 BC.

Actually systematic, accurate global measurement of surface temperatures only goes back to 1880 but we do have proxies, things that vary with temperature.

The thickness of the rings in ancient, slow-growing trees give estimates and show significantly warmer temperatures in Roman times and in the Middle Ages.

Michael Mann’s infamous “hockey stick” graph tried to assert that global temperatures remained totally flat until the 20th century but few believe such implausible nonsense today.

Half the warming since 1880 occurred prior to 1940 (too early to have resulted from human activity) and was the natural rebound from the mid-19th Century’s Little Ice Age.

In fact, the ranking of 1998, 2005, 2010, 2014, 2105 and 2016 as the warmest years is based on increases in temperature which are well below the margin of error in measurement.

It is more scientific to say that in the tiny blip of geological time for which we have accurate surface records, 2016 confirms a plateau of global temperatures that has lasted 20 years.

Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place,

St Andrews.