Posted tagged ‘conflict’

Between a rock and an asphalt hard place

September 20, 2011

Going and getting nowhere very fast

For those of you who have missed the news recently, Basildon BC are facing a bit of a tough time from just about every angle as they start the process of physically evicting around 400 travellers from their current site this week.  Originally they had planned to send the bailiffs in first thing on Monday morning, although a late court injunction was granted to put this back until at least Friday, and then possibly longer after that.

This is the beginning of the end to a process which began a decade ago, when the Council began trying to move a then-smaller group of travellers on from the site but were unsuccessful.  It is difficult to pick some of the facts from the story without coming across as biased towards one viewpoint or another, and not being immersed in the situation we don’t want to say whether one is in fact right or wrong, but it’s worth for a second reflecting on the challenges the Council faces here.

In the first place, they are being pressurised by local people to move this group on.  According to their consultation findings, they claim an overwhelming majority of local people want them to take the action that they are now trying to push through, with few arguing for the opposite.  If they stood aside and allowed the traveller community to stay on their site then they would be going against the wishes of the pre-existing local community.  This of course assumes that good practice principles were followed when undertaking this consultation, but we have to believe that if they hadn’t been then they would have not got as far as they have to date.

They also have many years of planning law and regulations to consider.  Over the years, countless buildings and developments will have been proposed to the planning department for a huge variety of structures and potential communities.  Some will have been successful, others will have fallen foul and not been allowed.  By the looks of things, the travellers have developed the site they are on without going through these processes and/or abiding by the findings of the planning department, carrying on with their own plans regardless. (more…)

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Throw a little conflict into the mix

August 17, 2011

Conflict isn't always bad“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”  It’s not often that a quote from the renaissance man that is Eminem bears any relevance to life in local government, but this phrase rings true for many in local government.

We’ve spoken before about the difficulties of knowing when to stand up for yourself, when (to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln) you need to find somewhere solid to stand and plant your feet firmly and when a little more consensus and apathy might be a better course of action.

That being said, conflict in the workplace is a much maligned and misunderstood beast.  Most of us being flock animals are people who want to run with the crowd and who like to be liked.  Few revel in being hated and reviled, although most of us can put up with some mild dislike from time to time.  For the majority however it’s an easyish life we are after.

The underlying issue being avoided is that of conflict.  Most people labour under the impression that conflict is always negative, and are more than able to reel off countless examples of fights, arguments and disagreements which turned sour.  Whether personal or professional, all of this conflict has ended up creating a sense of negativity and disappointing outcomes.

What’s more difficult is to ask people to think of times when conflict has actually been helpful. (more…)