Meeting of Colonsay Community Council (Preparatory Meeting)

Tuesday 9th March 2021 at 6pm via Video/Audio Call



Convenor Keith Rutherford

Vice Convener Alex Howard

Treasurer David Hobhouse

Secretary (interim) Jane Howard

Richard Buttrick

Liz McNicholl

Helen Mann

Kevin Byrne

It was decided that RB would chair this meeting to familiarise councillors with his suggestions as to the way to move forward following the results of the community survey which council have had time to read.

RB felt that the council was at a crisis point and needed to substantially improve, or wind up.

KB asked why? And who was considering their position on the council.

Kevin, Jane, Keith and Alex explicitly said they were not.


KB asked if RB was a suitable candidate to be convenor if he was considering his position.

RB said if council is agreed on his improvement plan he will stand for convenor.

LMN felt she was severely conflicted and felt council did not have the confidence of the community.

KR asked what was the involvement of A&B council in the conduct of the council. JH replied that it was minimal apart from Robin Currie's helpful attendance at meetings. Melissa Stewart had also been contacted regarding some governance issues. Minutes of meetings must be made available to A&B council.

AH asked if we were finished discussing the convenor.

RB Proposed council return to that matter after discussing the improvement process.

There was some agreement for this but DH did not think announcing an improvement process would satisfy the constituents.

Presentation of Improvement Process.

RB explained his improvement process.

Two main points singled out were GOVERNANCE and INFORMATION SHARING .

Richard also thought it would be helpful to have a set of FAQs available.

Council endorsed process and RB would send a copy to Robin Currie and Alastair Redmond prior to evening meeting.

He thought formation of working groups would be a good idea following the success of the camping group.


RB then asked if the council would endorse the improvement plan and formation of working groups.

DH did not think this would convince community as a whole.

RB asked if councillors would vote for this.

There was general agreement.


DH repeated that although it was worthy he was not convinced it would satisfy the 60 items of concern that had been tendered.

RB we can't address all 60 problems.

DH No, but problems have undermined confidence in the council.

LMN left meeting.

RB asked how do we better address Liz and David's concerns?

JH Format is good because community needs to understand role of council and limitations of council. A lot of criticism of CCC is based on things that are not the case or misconceptions. Definition of community and collation and presentation of survey data,(8 comments) are areas where we can work with the community to explain how that process was managed. We didn't explain well enough, we weren't transparent enough. Hopefully an improvement process will bring greater understanding of operation of CC. Worth trying.

KB Need to move forward together.

We are not in a position to police the community.

We are not in a position to define eligible candidates for council.

We do not define electorate. We are instructed.

A number of responses are issues not technically within CC remit.

Important to continue to deal with important ‘routine' business while incorporating RBs suggestion.

We should continue to serve until the completion of the term whilst enacting RBs

Improvement process.


RB asked for comments.

AH There was a lot of criticism of his chairing of meetings but very difficult to fit all business into scheduled time.

RB Criticism is responsibility of all members.

RB asked for input from KR and HM

KR who would create new website?

RB responsibility of new working group.

HM Not convinced that there is a real desire for change. Council is treating people with contempt and paying lip service to complaints. Some submissions were very well researched with understanding of standing orders etc. We are in danger of creating bigger schism.

RB Make sure community has base line information on governance and other fundamental issues. F.A.Qs

Address other issues eg formal procedure for declaration of interest.

DH That has been outstanding since July.

JH Until we did tourism survey last July there was no concern expressed.

Survey caused huge concern.

Two points:

Definition of community (who ccc should be consulting)

and an accusation that certain councillors manipulated data.

That results were not passed to relevant authorities.

She had not seen raw data or had anything to do with it.

DH and RB handled the data and passing on of results.

If JH, KB, and AH did not manipulate data then accusations levelled must point at other councillors.

Data from survey was dealt with by members of the council not involved with tourism.

These are misconceptions which need to be explained before we can move forward.


RB Finds it hard that his integrity was questioned in survey.

While we need a discussion with community about recent survey, we need to have addressed problems of governance and communication before that can take place.

AH Do other councillors have evidence to support allegations made in survey. Everyone in virtual room knows AH did not handle data.

There are very unhappy people.

It is unfortunate we did not publish the information we received from A&B council , but that was council decision.


RB From what AH has said there is a need to improve communication within the council.

RB Is AH continuing as Vice Convenor.

AH There are clashes with some councillors. If me being VC is causing difficulties I will stand aside. If anybody asks me now I will stand aside.

KB Took time to praise positive work council has done.

JH Was appointed temporary secretary in 2018 and has tried to stand down on numerous occasions. Would be delighted to do so now. But being secretary means that she has a high profile in the council which may look as if she is dominating meetings. Happy to step down.

RB Happy to stand for convenor if support for improvement process. Will speak to everyone after meeting to gauge support. Will not stand without majority support.

KB Any other candidates

Helen? No

David? No, happy to work as treasurer.

AH reiterated he would consider standing down if fellow councillor asked him.

KB So RB only candidate for convenor.

AH is vice convenor

JH will continue as acting secretary.

RB will phone councillors apart from KB and AH who have given backing to discuss his being Convenor.

  RB closed meeting.



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