Sunday, June 12

FSB - North East

Trouble up North
by Peter Troy

An American, Richard Harkins, once commented in the Herald Tribune: ''a committee is a group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit to do the unnecessary.''

In the North East of England the Regional Committee of the countries largest business organisation, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has over the past few years managed to meet regularly, squabble constantly, make accusations about each other, plot against its own staff on secret email forums spend tens of thousands of pounds each year and achieve nothing meaningful for those that it is as an elected body supposed to represent (other than to organise future AGM's to re-elect itself under it's curiously restrictive rules).

This week the FSB in the North East is to advertise for yet another Regional Organiser, the fourth in six years, in the regions newspapers job vacancies. The previous post holder, Gill Holden left in acrimonious circumstances with an healthy (for her) and convenient (for the FSB) out of tribunal cash payoff of five figures. Mrs Holden's two and a half years of employment was more than a little stressful.

Mrs Holden's well documented period working with the officers of the FSB in the North East was the subject of a three day full hearing of the FSB's Disputes and Disciplinary Committee. The then Regional Secretary was criticised and the Committee recommended that the Newcastle business woman not stand for re-election amidst serious criticism of mismanagement.

Following the 2004 AGM, which resulted in the Teesside Branch Chairman being elected as both regional Chairman and also as the region's representative on the FSB's ruling council, a secret officers meeting decided to close down the regional office and also to consider awarding themselves an honorarium; presumably with the money saved. The result was a disaster, another out of tribunal settlement of more than £6,000 to the office employee Caroline Jackson and of course no regional office to benefit the members.

Meanwhile the FSB's Regional Policy Unit, in effect a derivative from the Regional Committee continues to do very little to promote the Federation's national policy to the political elite in the North East Region. A viewing of the FSB'S web site currently shows not a hint of lobbying activity what-so-ever in the Labour Governments heartland. The Regions Policy Unit has nothing to show it's members despite regular committee meetings and two committed but locally misdirected part time staff, and a mass of available back-up at the Federations London Parliamentary office.

Recently, against this grim background of betrayal of the region's members, I called for the resignation of the Regional Chairman. Since as the best the regional activists under his leadership could do was to close its own office (contrary to promises to members at the AGM in October 04) or placate the regions Labour politicians particularly by supporting, covertly, the Yes campaign in the regional elected assembly referendum last Autumn.

Clearly new member blood is needed, however under FSB rules only currently serving regional committee members can stand for re-election and the only members that can vote are those that turn up on a dark November evening and cast their voting slip in person. Imagine that method applied to MPs - well actually we don't have to imagine just remember the fate of the Soviet Politburo and indeed the Soviet peoples.

One can only hope the Federation's recently appointed investigating officer John Harris, will as a result of his investigation 'up North', recommend a healthy introduction of democracy and transparency and identify at least one barrier to members getting added value in the region, the FSB's North East Regional ruling cabal.

In the meantime, 'up north', the FSB members continue to receive a raw deal from their elected committee. The benefits of being a member of the FSB are immense, but not as a result of any activity of the officers of in the North East.

As the team of dedicated and successful recruiters in the area will rightly state the FSB reaches the vital parts that other business organisations do not, what they won't again rightly mention is the regional leadership. Clearly, no salesman in his right mind would introduce either crass negativity nor blind stupidity, into his sales pitch.


The editor of this blog, Peter Troy was Chairman of the Darlington Branch of the FSB in the North East and a member of the regional committee from January 1999 to February 2005. Peter Troy is a member of the FSB. The FSB is the countries leading business organisation with over 185,000 members. This blog recommends that all owners of small businesses join the Federation of Small Business ---


Peter Troy said...

Now that I've sobered up, I didn't really mean to be underhand and nasty to the people I used to work with for so many years. I neglected to mention that util very recently I was part of the very committee I am slagging off.

In fact, if truth were known, I'm the one to blame - having built up the trust of everyone in the committee, I then calmly and underhandedly worked behind everyone's backs to help the RO start another company. But then I even blew that and so here I am griping about everyone else when all the time it was me!

Between that and making a fool of myself on TV... of course, Being born in the year of the snake doesn't help...

Peter Troy said...

The above comment was posted not by myself but by an other who is clearly unhappy with my piece.

I was indeed an member of the FSB North East Regional Committee, for a number of years. I devoted a large amount of time and effort into voluntry work for the FSB in the North East.

I did indeed support the RO GillHolden when she was in post. Mrs Holden's complaint regarding the details of how she was mistreaded during her employment was upheld by the FSB and she was recently awarded a settlement of over £ 10,000.

What I am griping about is quite clear in my article and I will continue to state the same points.

I note that the detail of my comments are not being challenged.

In addition members of the regional cabal (particularly Colin Stratton the Regional Chairman) have been sniping away at me in underhad ways for some time. Now that I am publicly retaliating I have upset some folk.

The facts are clear the North East Regional Committee of the FSB led by Colin Stratton is not acting in the best intrest of the members of the Federation of Small Businesses and the Regional Policy unit is by evidence of its lack of information to members not advancing policy to thoses thaat it should.

Perhaps those that are complaining about my comments would like to properly debate the facts at a FSB meeting with me, facts are facts.

To who ever left the above comment, thank you for your intrest in this blog.

Peter Troy

Peter Troy said...

The first posting is typical of the underhand methods of some members of the NE Regional committee,posting a comment pretending it was me.

The auther clearly did not read my posting since I made it very clear that I was a member of the NE Regional FSB Committee.

JL said...

Well said, Peter

Anonymous said...

As a member of the FSB it is my belief that the behaviour that I have so far observed from Peter Troy is deplorable. This malicious vendetta he has against certain members is downright slanderous, is as a direct result of his own childishness and is only showing him up as an immature, uncouth imbecile and is not having the desired effect.

Anonymous said...

For being in publishing, this guy has appalling spelling and grammer!

Peter Troy said...

Well I may be a dyslexic but at least I have the courage to put my name to my opinions, whch clearly is more than my detractors are willing to do.

So Anonymous, why not give some reasons as to what you disagree with and indeed why?

Any brainless individual can make negative comments; giving reasons requires skill. Adding ones name to postings requires courage. One suspects that 'anonymous' has neither.

Over the many years of my involvement with the North East FSB I never hid my light under a bushel. I was was always open in my praise and critisium, always promoted FSB policy, which is more than can be said of the present 'cabal'.

Once again Anonymous, thank you for your intrest in this blog. I trust that you found the other postings of value. Should you wish to come out of the closet I would be please to debate any issues that you may have.


Jane Snozama said...

Oh, I think it is having the desired effect !

Peter Troy said...


Anonymous got it wrong. He/she should have typed:

For someone who is in publishing this guy has both appaling spelling and bad grammer.

Anonymous you must try harder to be critical.

Anonymous said...

Your response tickles me Peter, what bugs you? The fact that you are not yet quite sure which of your many enemies you are sparring with? Funnily enough I am not one of them, and no, you will not insight me to reveal my identity. We are both entitled to our opinions and I maintain my right to privacy. By the fact that you choose such a medium with which to air your views invites comment. And in any case, you would only be disappointed, I am, as previously stated, merely an observer and not someone on whom your comments to date or to come, will have any effect upon. Those people with whom you claim to have grievances have the good grace to remain quiet.

For your information, this will be my final posting as I have neither the inclination nor the need to enter into such a ‘debate’ with the likes of you, as one so two-faced. I prefer to choose worthy subjects with whom to have meaningful debate. You my friend, are merely an amusement.

I do however; wish to counter your challenge with one of my own. Would you consider being so kind as to making public the ‘real’ reason for your departure from your position as a Regional Committee member AND actually tell the truth at the same time? I feel you are probably not up to such a challenge, having no real concept of the truth.

My comments were not in response to what you have written per say, although they do leave something to be desired. For your benefit I will reiterate, they were in response to your BEHAVIOUR. The way in which a person conducts himself or herself speaks volumes about them.

Should you actually have valid issues with your so-called ‘detractors’ you would do better to carry yourself off as an honourable, gentlemanly fellow by following correct procedures as opposed to continually snipping behind people’s backs and making slanderous comments. You have in fact, been the puppeteer you refer to in your rantings.

You speak of courage, yet you do not actually appear to have a clear understanding of this attribute yourself!

Contrary to your own view, your campaign is NOT having the desired effect, and will not while you continue to behave in the manner that you do. You simply come across as a bitter, twisted and very sad excuse of a man who acts rather like a two-year-old child throwing a temper tantrum and one who loves the sound of his own maniacal whisperings that drip with misinformation. A man who has nothing better to do and enjoys stirring up trouble rather than turning his mind to the important things in life.

Ask yourself, what sort of human being are you? What aspects of your own behaviour are you proud of? How would you like to be remembered? How does your family view you? How will your maker judge you? Answer these questions of yourself and attempt to be truthful if you can. The answers matter not to me, nor to others; others have more important things to concern themselves with.

No-one cares Peter, people and history remember only the most notorious of villains and the selfless – those who strive for good.

You are nothing in the grand scheme of things and will not be remembered as anything other than an irritating little insect with nothing better to do than be an irritant. How does that sit with you?

Acclaim and recognition could be within your grasp. The irony is, that were you to put your skills to good use, you could become a great and well-respected man. This I fancy will never materialise, as it is YOU who does not possess COURAGE!

Peter Troy said...

Well now, that was a 'fun' posting, a whodunit indeed.

The reason I resigned from the regional commitee is well documented. My little local difficulty with the Inland Revenue was leaked to The Northern Echo, as Anonymous is well aware.

As for correct procedure yes that is in hand as well as my public statements.

I do hope my Anonymous friend or friends since I am aware there may be more than one of you who will enjoy my future postings.

Insects are accomplished suvivors afterall they have been on the planet a lot longer than we have.

Peter Troy