When Is A Stakeholder Not A Stakeholder?

30 Sep

When her name is Kath is the easy answer, but what I’m actually getting at is a stakeholder in the recent consultation on wag’s Food & Drink Action Plan. Wag inform me that with my: active involvement as a stakeholder in the recent consultation on our new Food and Drink Action Plan, we have reviewed our communications with you to ensure we are offering the most appropriate level of service. It is nevertheless important that we can continue to provide you with an integrated service in responding to your communications.  Accordingly, if you require information from us in the future, or you wish to contribute comments as to how we might improve our services, please could I ask you to write directly to our public mailbox.

Now what does that mean? Well according to wag, they say they’re offering me the most appropriate level of service in regards to questions I require answers to. That’s wag’s theory anyway, the practice is something totally different. Wag has ‘told’ me that I’ve to use a public mailbox. I’m now public as wag has now decided that I’m no longer a journalist in their world anyway. I’m told this method will help ensure that my queries can be dealt with promptly and be routed swiftly to the most appropriate part of Welsh Government.

So having been ‘told’ what to do, i.e. no discussion, because that would mean having a conversation with me, I responded to their letter the following day, which was the 4th June. Assuming now that you’re all sitting down, because I don’t wish to shock you too much, because as at 30th September, some four months later,  I still await a reply. It might be sensible if I double-check my dictionary as to what promptly and routed swiftly mean, or perhaps there is a special civil directory that might help me understand much more clearly what I’m supposed to do now to get food questions answered. Or should I have got the message now that wag food don’t wish to answer my questions. Hopefully that clarifies the situation a little as to why I’m still struggling to make any progress at all with wag food.

Sorry for digressing, but important I clear that up –  so now back to my main topic. My active involvement as a stakeholder, and one of wag food’s most frequent and regular correspondents on food and related matters,  apparently means nothing as today I’ve received and email from one of our most supportive Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, BOW,  concerning the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board Membership. Please don’t ask me why I haven’t received it directly, but it’s clear my being labelled by wag food as an active stakeholder is just wag words – meaningless words.

I’m told that wag food: certainly does want to hear from producers, consumers and others connected with the food sector. We encourage feedback and welcome constructive opinion so that we can improve our services to benefit Welsh businesses and consumers alike. This has indeed been a key focus of our recent extensive consultation on the proposed Strategic Food and Drink Action Plan. As one of our most frequent and regular correspondents on food and related matters I hope you will appreciate this.

Well that’s certainly not my experience. Wag food wants to hear feedback, but as to welcoming constructive opinion, I find that a joke. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say wag food don’t want, or welcome my constructive feedback. That’s more like the truth, otherwise why am I constantly blocked and fobbed off by them?

Today, we’ll help wag food out again and send the job vacancy details around to all our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, just in case as stakeholders, they too have been ignored. I’m not sure how many, if any, might be tempted to apply. I wonder how many have enough, or any free time for these unremunerated posts.  Members will be expected to be available to work a minimum of one day per 2  months as the Board will meet at least 6 times a year initially and you’ll be expected to be available to meet on bi-monthly basis or as necessary to suit the needs of the Board (with the likelihood of some related additional work of up to two days a year – this could include an end of year Conference for example or task and finish group activity). So those with plenty of spare time, or working for a Quango, do apply and let me know how you get on.

Obviously I’ve no clue as to who will be sitting on the interview panel, if brown noses are essential, if it’s jobs-for-the-boys, but I’m sure we’ll be able to work that out when we find out who is selected.

I still hope that eventually our Welsh food and drink producers get a better deal from wag food than they are getting so far.

Finally my thanks to the BOW producer who took the time to email al this information and keep me in the loop on this, I do appreciate it and also to another BOW producer ringing in this afternoon, checking that wag food had sent us this news! Thank goodness for our BOW food grapevine.       




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  1. beer boy

    September 30, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    It is apparent from this that micro producers will be left out of the loop once again wag’s focus will be on exports and supermarkets – forget the micro guys and gals.
    Don’t know any of those that can afford so much time away from work for free.
    So Kath you hit the nail spot on the head big businesses, Quangos and wag food’s favourites companies the ones they have funded well to date.
    It’s more of the same from wag food in a different guise.
    Thanks for letting us know about this, you are the only one that can talk to us and keep us updated. Not your role but thank goodness you take it upon yourself to do it.
    You’re my hero.

  2. Jay

    October 1, 2014 at 8:41 am

    I’m lost. Why are wag food working against the only Welsh magazine that I know of that backs Welsh producers way above just an advert?
    What am I’m missing here? It’s obvious to me that the link is there for both to work together along with the meat chaps, farmers unions and tourism. There isn’t a better way to get our food message across to people on a regular basis than through this magazine, by working together, supporting each other and to educate the Welsh public and visitors.
    I don’t see any logic here. But our civil servants ever judged on being logical and thinking things through? Not from this side they aren’t and as for bullying, is not allowed in the playground and shouldn’t be allowed in the workplace either. Civil servants should be working for us and our interests should be first and that should include micro businesses too.
    My partner works in PR and he finds this situation unbelievable. His company would have had this magazine on side from Day 1 and would have built a firm partnership, working together.This is all wrong, very wrong.

  3. Parrot

    October 1, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Wag food can work with whoever they wish, they are the ones in charge.
    Think you might be wasting your time looking for logic in the civil service.
    But you couldn’t run a business like this.
    Kind of you to leave a comment, interesting to get other people’s views.

  4. bow

    October 1, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I ignored the action plan and for us to give our views, although Kath emailed us all and said do it. But she did, and now look how she’s now being treated by wag. I can’t risk that. It’s an utter disgrace and they can only get away with this aggressive behaviour because they are the government and a food department.
    Why put in print that our views are wanted. That you want our views, you want our constructive views and then treat Kath as thought she’s committed a crime. Is it a crime to back food producers? Not in my mind it’s not.
    We deserve a food department that puts producers first and treats our Welsh food magazine professionally and with respect. Think there are over a 100 hundred producers in BOW and you only need to ask us about the backing we get from this mag it’s magnificent. The whole team is amazing and I’ll never say that about the food department.
    Kath’s rarely off the pace, but she was wrong about the new regime, badly wrong. We thought the food dept couldn’t get any worse, well we were wrong too. It has and there’s nothing we can do but go along with them putting money into silly schemes, not getting value for money, wasting money, unable or too lazy to check up on food festivals, not enough Welsh producers in Abergavenny and this has been the case for years, not telling producers what’s happening, and not caring about us which best sums this dept. up.
    Without this magazine food producers would know nothing, yet wag knock and block them mercilessly for doing their job for them. Childish, stupid and arrogant.
    I think the time is right as this poor food dept. continues, to start a union.

  5. Bow

    October 2, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I’m with you all the way. I’m impressed that you have had the guts to put up this site and to keep all the bow people in your food loop.
    You are doing much of wag’s job for them and instead of thanking you, or heaven forbid working with you, you are bullied and bullied by them. To me that’s horrific and my admiration just grows. The job you do on food is amazing and I was one that put your name forward for a hero award. Well deserved but bet wag food didn’t congratulate you.

  6. Jam man

    October 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Wag don’t rate you a stakeholder, just an annoyance to them.
    They want you to say they are doing a good job, but you are far too honest for that and too supportive of producers to let them get away with not backing us.

  7. BOW

    October 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    If proof were needed you have it here. Wag bullying because they can. No boss is responsible for their actions, well that’s how it looks from here.
    Wag should have been grateful that you filled in your views on action plan and not only that, you sent it to all bow producers, not that I did as you said. I wouldn’t waste my time on that lot so they can tick another box. Why you now are treated so badly makes me livid, they need your help for goodness sake.
    They’d be better off in a playgroup rather than in a glass tower that we fund for them.
    You get somewhere by working together, no man an island stuff, it can’t be that difficult to do that, but this is wag so perhaps it is. If you haven’t shown them by now how much you care for Welsh food and producers best ignore them. You should realise you are not dealing with sensible people who understand and care for our industry, that’s the sad part.
    As a micro producer I don’t even come on their limited radar, but at least I’m not being attacked by them as you are being.

  8. BOW

    October 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Comments are saying the same thing and it is micro producers that will be ignored again.
    I suspect that it will be Quangos, those that get paid for doing little apart from meetings and big businesses who have staff to cover whilst they attend meetings.
    But well done wag you have ticked another box and paid lip service to talking to food producers.
    Not much progress with the new regime but a lot more box ticking.
    Great of you to let us know what else is happening, you’ve got this spot on, as you usually do.

  9. Jay

    October 16, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Why did you bother submitting anything to the action plan, let alone ask us best of Welsh to bother doing the same?
    You know better than most what a shambles Welsh food is in its administration but now you’ve been blackballed totally by wag food and it’s disgraceful wag should be taken to task on their negative attitude and their bullying. What are they hoping to achieve? Nothing positive for us, but they’ve never cared as long as they get paid handsomely.

  10. honey

    October 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I’ve had to read this three times but I cannot fathom out what wag food are trying to do. How in their right mind would alienate not only a journalist but a journalist that has set her magazine out to give backing to Welsh food and food producers. This situation is impossible to believe.
    wag food are so cocky that they decide not to answers Kath’s questions but instead make her life unbearable. But to what end? What are they achieving? Kath’s questions are often ones we ask her and she says she’ll try and find out an answer. She gets punish for that? There is no way I’d even try to talk to wag, I’ve no idea who to talk to because I never ever see any of them. Plus I don’t want wag to label me as a trouble maker, even for asking a question. I don’t trust this lot and never have. After reading this I was right not to trust them.
    I cannot understand wag food.

  11. BeBe

    October 27, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Why you have to take such flack for this arrogant dept. makes no sense at all.
    Why you bothered filling in their form makes no sense either to me.
    Why you also bothered sending it around us best of welsh producers also makes no sense to me.
    You are helping a pathetic department do their job and then you are treated like a leper. This situation disgusts me. This is bullying by wag and heads should roll for this childish action.

  12. BOW Producer

    November 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Only the Welsh government would be able to get away with treating you in such an appalling fashion. And for why? Doing your job as a journalist. But what appears to really have riled them is your constant backing of the food producers that are with you on best of welsh.
    In effect you are doing the job WE are paying THEM to do.
    but they’re are ineffective, arrogant and out and out bullies.
    The thought that they officially represent me as a Welsh producer makes me furious.
    I’ve yet to met a food producer who speaks well of the food dept, not that we know any of them. How the head of that dept can be in the food hall at RWAS and speak to hardly anyone is a farce. He should have toured the hall with you and Ian, I can’t believe how hard you two guys worked when you were there.
    You don’t deserve this treatment and I’m livid with that shower.

  13. Parrot

    November 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    thanks for your support that does make a difference and to get your views.
    the new head of food wasn’t invited by Ian or I to join us on the tour of the stands.
    Sure if he wished to do that he could have done it and sure it would have been a first to have the head of food visiting al the stands
    bet he didn’t do the farmer’s market either which was another shame
    but guess he’s a busy man with more important matters to deal with than talking to food producers at RWAS.
    hope we catch up soon

  14. Jam Man

    November 19, 2014 at 10:15 am

    How are you liking Coventry Kath, as this is where wag food have sent you?
    Their reason for doing so?
    Because you have the nerve and guts to keep telling them, year after year, they’re not doing a good job and not working for food producers.
    Wag food say they want feedback, they want constructive criticism, but that is a load of bull…….
    Words only and few are few to be honest with that lot because we don’t want bullying.
    Wag food are bullying you, just as Abergavenny did this year by not allowing you press tickets. Their reason for this refusal is because you’ve backed Welsh producers that they refuse to let have stands. It is a wag rule that festivals must have 75% Welsh stands. Wag can’t be bothered to check themselves that organisers have 75% stands which is totally wrong.
    So you do their job for them and then you’re blackballed by Abergavenny too!
    I’m horrified at wag food’s behaviour and them condoning Abergavenny’s behaviour. They should have backed you to the hilt and thanked you for exposing this error. Abergavenny had to return wag money for both of their events which speaks volumes about waste of tax payers money.
    I cannot see what wag food have achieved apart from getting more producers on side with you and the team. It should be wag food making sure Welsh producers can get into Abergavenny. You’ve been telling them about this fiasco for years, but that lot don’t give a toss about us.

    You’re usually right but you weren’t about the new regime. We thought that dept. couldn’t get any worse but we were wrong too! Badly wrong.
    This is an utter shambles.

  15. Parrot

    November 19, 2014 at 10:29 am

    It does feel like Coventry at Aberbanc at the moment.
    But you cannot open a locked door or get wag food to listen until they take their earmuffs off!
    I just don’t see what wag food are achieving.
    Food producers will never have the guts to talk to wag food, they are not that stupid after all this has happened.
    It’s insulting to be told that wag food want feedback when they obviously don’t.
    Wag can do words, it’s the action that’s lacking ………………
    thanks for your input.
    I DO like feedback

  16. Dee

    November 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I’ve had to play catch-up as not been visiting as often.
    It’s easy to work out that wag food are doing one of the very few things they are good, at playing lip-service.
    Basically they’ve taken you for a ride. You should never have filled in their ridiculous form, give your views, which they don’t want to hear anyway. All they used that for is ticking another box. Wag food don’t value your views, or our views, they’ve never listened, never have and never will because they are so arrogant. Your site wouldn’t be necessary if wag food were able to listen and talk to food producers and make improvements.
    Things are now so bad that producers will not trust wag food, they’ve seen how you’ve been bullied by them. We’ll talk to you guys, but as for wag food no chance.