South Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy Spokesperson Colin Smyth has urged the newly appointed “interim” Chief Executive of the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency to give an early commitment to ensuring the new Agency will be locally accountable.
The comments come after the Scottish Government announced today (9 January 2020) that Nick Halfhide, currently Director of Sustainable Growth at Scottish Natural Heritage in Inverness, will take up the post of Interim Chief Executive of the new Enterprise Agency from 3 February. The move follows the failure of the Scottish Government to appoint a permanent Chief Executive for the Agency following an open recruitment process last year.
South Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy Spokesperson Colin Smyth said,
“ I wish Mr Halfhide well in his interim post. I know there is concern locally over the failure of the Scottish Government to appoint a permanent Chief Executive last year and the fact we face the bizarre situation of an interim boss setting up a new team and structure and making the appointments to the Agency they want, but then a new person coming into the post inheriting someone else decisions with little room to shape the team they want.
“However, given that Mr Halfide is a handpicked appointment by the Government in Edinburgh rather than appointed locally, it is important that he gives an early commitment to the new agency being accountable to the South of Scotland. We need local solutions to the local problems facing our economy so that means having a new agency rooted firmly in the South of Scotland. One way to help achieve that is to ensure the new board has a breadth of experience and skills from across the region when those appointments are made. I would therefore encourage people who can make a real difference to apply to the board before the deadline which is fast approaching.”