Supply Chain Efficiency Scheme

06 Feb

Supply Chain Efficiency Scheme has been a regular post over the last few years, through the interest and puzzlement from our Best Of Welsh & Border producers. I have posted about two schemes in particular, Fork2Fork and Pembrokeshire Produce Direct. I’d like to say I’d investigated both these, but not sure that is an accurate description as I’ve been blocked all the way on trying to find out what benefit, if any, has been generated by these two projects.

Well today another comment arrived by post from a helpful person called Anon. I can understand some people wishing to mail me a comment and other useful information. But although I promise everyone that comments left on, will not reveal who you are – hence the number of comments from: BOW, producer, trader and foodie, the only info you must supply is an email address. I can assure you that email is only seen by me. If you then think that your email will be sent elsewhere, you do not know me very well! I refused to reveal my sources to our Rural Food Minister – back in the day when we had a Welsh Food Minister – and NO-ONE will get such information out of me, even if that marks me once more as a trouble-maker.   

But back to my SCES post which promoted the sender to communicate with me after reading it. The sender was expressing concern at the PPD project, wondering why I’d not mentioned Pembrokeshire County Council’s, (PCC), involvement. Well in my many posts about this topic, I most certainly have because PCC loaned PPD money to get this project off the ground before the SCES funding came through. PCC’s food officer, was I think also on the board at one stage. But when I put up a new post I cannot cover the whole story from the beginning as it would just take too long and then I’m at risk at boring my regular readers. However if SCES were paying me a yearly fee of £43k to keep my website updated, as they did with fork2fork, then I’m sure could afford the time to do that!!!

When PPD was set up, I as a journalist was sent very little information and precious little detail. Actually if I think back, I don’t actually think I was sent any information at all, but as I can’t be sure, I’ll try to be fair. I was told by the SCES team that it was up to each project to do promotion or not, they didn’t have too! My updates/complaints came from producers, as we had some of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers in the Pembrokeshire area.  

I’m aware that PPD scheme won some awards, but let’s be honest, can anyone remember what they were? Being the cynical journalist, unless I rate who is judging, I find many awards meaningless, but lest we forget, that does of course tick another box on the wag/SCES sheets. I’m told a review is underway, but we’ll not get sight of this until the end of this year. We’ve not been given a final date for publication, but then I wouldn’t have, because this after all is wag in control. The final crunch is I guess, we’ll not believe much of it. Yet some company will have been paid a fortune to collate this report, and that is important so wag can tick yet another box. Then will anyone be able to find this report? Maybe not – as I suspect it will be buried somewhere on wag’s website. I’ve asked wag if they’ll send me a copy when published, but not holding my breath on that one!

The crunch for me is why were these two projects given the go-ahead initially? Was the reason they got their cash because they could ‘talk-a-good game?’ Both these projects got start-off funding of £800k each with Fork2Fork getting much, much more as time has gone on. (The total cost of the PPD project was £789,660 and received £469,596 from SCES and the remainder from other sources. My sender thinks that PPD got the green light because of the strong link between PCC and PPD but that doesn’t apply for Fork2Fork scheme, the strong link there is the person who headed the Fork2Fork scheme, had strong connections with wag food.    

I don’t lay any blame at all with the food producers, my gossip is PCC wanted their own producer scheme and of course they got it. But a lot of egg has been left on a lot of faces, but we need to know who has got an eggy face! PCC got what they wanted at huge cost to the Welsh tax-payer and now it bites the dust and there’ no explanation as far as I know from PCC. I’m told as PPD was heading downwards, they backed away, but sadly that is only hearsay. I’m not convinced that PCC will explain any clearer than Wag will and just feel this can of worms will remain unopened. 

I’d be a total idiot if I couldn’t work out that I’m being blocked and fobbed off trying to understand what was the thinking behind these two projects. What was achieved and if the taxpayer has actually seen any value in the money that has been spent on their behalf. Or perhaps an easier way is to ask our Welsh food and drink producers what value they’ve seen from these two projects. ……………………………….

The other important thing to remember is these are only two of the schemes from a whole string of projects that received funding under the SCES. So how much money has proved worthwhile and how much has simply been wasted? We’ll just never be told the truth from what purports to be an open government.        



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  1. bow

    February 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    This is funny.
    The Mole you have at Welsh Country, namely Ian, is not enough, you look to have quite a few others. Great news, I wish you’d more moles then wag wouldn’t be able to give you this pathetic run-around.

    As a micro business I get that running this site costs you money and sure £43k per year from SCES would be a brilliant help. I’ve no clue why SCES favour Fork2Fork site over this because theirs is of no interest to producers like me, this site is.
    At markets and festivals we talk a lot to other traders about food and no-one I’ve met has said anything about Fork2Fork site only that they’ve got money for little work. But there’s always lot of positive chat about this site. Whoever decided to pay Fork2Fork more cash for their site can’t have looked at any web stats, though you have ages ago and compared the 2 sites. But guess SCES don’t have to as Fork2Fork face fits and yours doesn’t because you have the guts to tell wag what is wrong and they don’t like it, so they bully you – brave servants of the public that they are supposed to be.

  2. BOW producer

    February 9, 2015 at 9:34 am

    More moles the better giving you information in brown envelopes.
    Pity more of them haven’t got the guts to help you and us.
    It’s ok for civil servants and council workers to say in confidence to you, why not try this or that, but not a thought as to how you earn your money to pay your team. Mine and your wages don’t automatically arrive each month in the bank like theirs does.
    In their defence, they were trying to help, but not seeing the big picture. You need more constructive help, not more unpaid work to do and so risking more bullying by various sides.

  3. Biker Boy

    February 9, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I’m backing you all the way as I always have done.
    I’ve been with you on Best of Welsh since you started it. I’m humbled by the way you have fought for us, even though it damaged your business when wag food pettily stopped their advertising.
    That stunk.
    They were blackmailing and bullying you to stop asking them questions that they didn’t or couldn’t answer.
    They were telling you to button it and when you didn’t they pulled their pages, petty, petty, petty.
    As had been said endlessly on here, that is bullying, pure and simple, bullying. All wag food achieved by doing that is to make themselves look even more stupid. Something bullies always do. But for you, you’ve got and get even more support from food and drink producers.
    It’s also been said on here that you should tell your readers, many of which are foodies, just what wag food have done to you. Tell them why wag food don’t support the magazine and how you now cannot promote all festivals because wag don’t support you.
    I can see your side of it perfectly, but there’s no sense from wag food’s side not working with our top Welsh food magazine, just because you will not bow to their continual bullying.
    I’m proud of the job you have done and full of admiration for you and the guys there.
    I think the vaguely funny thing is, who in wag food has the guts to ring Ian and say we’d like to come back advertising. We were wrong and out of order to have backed away and bullied you. You thought the new guy would be a breath of fresh air as he wasn’t a civil servant, but for once Kath, you were badly wrong backing him and asking us to do so too. He’s a real public servant now, he can’t explain or apologise. Wag food have lost big promotional opportunities that would help us and food festivals. It makes no sense to us and it cannot to wag food either but as I say it takes a big person to admit this department was wrong. Never mind if they want to look silly and not fit for purpose, they only need to carry on doing the same.

  4. Parrot

    February 9, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Grateful for your comment and support
    Our editorial policy has always been that we’ll support those who back us. Unlike other media we are not supported by wag or Welsh Books Councils so advertising is what we need. But I also decided that as I’m editing a magazine, not a daily or weekly newspaper, I wanted Welsh Country magazine to be positive and always promote Welsh food and drink, that’s what our producers need. But after over four years of this bullying, blacking and negativity from wag and wag food, perhaps I need to have a change of policy.
    It’s just that we set out to promote Welsh food and drink. We were pushing buying local before others got on the bandwagon and got paid for doing so too, so it’s a tough decision to change tack on our food pages.

  5. BOW

    February 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Obviously no idea who Biker Boy is but easy to say I agree with him whole heartedly
    I wish we’d the power to get shut of the food department and start again.
    People working there should put producers first that is where they should start from. Instead they favour the big boys and funded them far too well and net breath say they’ve no money as budgets have been cut. Sure that rings a bell with you Kath, because think that’s what you were told by old head of food. He didn’t expect you though to take that further and do a freedom question, to find out that budget was still there but you were being got at. What a joke that dept. was and is!!!!
    Do not let them grind you down – you are way better than they are , you’re doing much of their job for them.

  6. food producer

    February 11, 2015 at 11:02 am

    The main difference between government and the private sector is that government can make the decisions and by-and-large if they are wrong the tax payer pays and the decision makers might only get their knuckles wrapped, if that. They still get paid and all their benefits. In the private sector we’ve got to make our decisions and stand by them or fail. We worry about basics like paying our staff, paying our business expenses etc.

    Public servants haven’t got a clue of real life and unless they have sensible advisors Wales is lost.
    The food department have had this site which tells things as we find them, but because they are not backing wag they are not taken on board and that is why we are stuck with a department that I don’t rate is fit for purpose, but what does my view matter? Not at all my nose isn’t brown., and I can vouch that Kath’s nose aint brown either otherwise she’d be listened to. She be a consultant or an advisor but because she says it as it is with sensible ideas to improve she’s ignored. Well more fool you wag food.

  7. J

    February 13, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Helping producers, which is what they should have been doing but they can’t be bothered.
    I don’t think this department works and the new guy has just added to the chaos. I think we deserve better than this and so do you, you have backed us for so long then wag food have targeted you.
    Keep your friends closer and your enemies closer, I’ve read that one here and I agree with that saying. Wag should do the same and act on it as they are behaving like you’re the enemy. When I think wag food is our enemy. They’ve not shut you up which is what they want to do, but haven’t the sense to get you back on board. I find that stupid. This is of their making and they are in the wrong.
    Publish Kath for goodness sake.

  8. Parrot

    February 13, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Believe me when I say I’m well aware I owe wag nothing. But I do have a responsibility to my readers, our producers and all those involved in Welsh food and drink – positive editorial, positive food and drink pages should be the way to report.
    I’ve explained why I haven’t gone this way since 2010, but I am wavering now, this on going bullying is too much and just because I’m backing our BOW producers.
    More and more of our advertisers are telling me to publish, so I’m considering it. Four years later this situation is getting worse not better.

  9. trader 2

    February 16, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    This is the biggest can of worms you have opened.
    Every credit for doing that and your tenacity for not giving into the bullies.
    Bullies should never win, not win at all.
    Those two schemes are rotten to the core and should never have been agreed.
    Although you’ve not finished trying to find out fork2fork money think you’re on about £1.5 million and about £800k for PPD.
    The guys running this scheme must think they are playing with monopoly money, not tax payers cash.

  10. BOW

    March 2, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    This is probably the biggest can of worms you’ve uncovered in food but you know you haven’t a hope of finding out the truth.
    No heads will roll for such stupidity in agreeing some of these projects, fba and ppd annoy most producers, but it’s only our money, so it doesn’t appear to matter to this government.
    What a shambles we are in with food.
    I’d not have thought food would get worse, but it sure has.
    I’m told by Kath that we’ve a new guy in charge and he’s been there long enough to make changes. But it looks like he’s now a full civil service puppet, what a disappointment and I know you’ve answered this Kath but you were so wrong to back him. You rarely get things wrong, but you sure did with supporting the new man. Glad you have now come to your senses.