Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has expressed their disappointment that the Scottish Government have completed the appointments to the David MacBrayne Group Board but ignored the pleas from Councils and stakeholders across the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service network to address the fundamental gap in user experience of those appointed to that Board. Not one single resident of an island served by David MacBrayne Group or its subsidiary Calmac Ferries Limited sits on the company board and this opportunity to right this wrong has been passed up by Ministers. Instead they have appointed a new Chairman and three new non-executive Directors with no residential tie to the communities the company serves.
At a meeting of the Hebrides Ferry Stakeholder Group (Thursday 2nd December) community stakeholders supported the call for lived experience of these ferry services be a pre requisite of any and all future appointments to the Board of David MacBrayne Group.
Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure, Cllr Uisdean Robertson, commented on the recent appointments,
“The recent failure to address the absence of residents of the islands served by Calmac in the appointment of Board Members to David MacBrayne Group has caused real anger in our communities. It is little wonder that the management of the company are so detached from the reality of their decisions when they are based far away at a Headquarters in Inverclyde and those appointed to hold the company to account have limited experience of how the company’s actions affect people from Lewis to Arran. Having raised this issue with the Transport Minister I had hoped our concern was understood and these vacancies would be filled by islanders. The Comhairle will continue to press the case for real and meaningful change in the voice communities have in shaping our lifeline ferry services”.
The Chairman of the Independent Ferries Community Board Angus Campbell attended the meeting and shared the frustration. Mr Campbell added:
“The Ferries Community Board firmly believe that life experience of living on Islands and first hand knowledge of how lifeline Ferry services impact on island communities are an essential part of the skill mix required to undertake these roles. An opportunity has been lost to add knowledge and improve decision making for both the company and the communities they serve”.