Labour’s Holyrood leader Iain Gray came under increased pressure today after Skills Development Scotland issued a fresh statement rebutting his claim that the agency planned to change their name to ‘Scotland – The Works’.
On Thursday Labour’s Holyrood leader accused the agency of planning to “waste” £555,000 on a name change and £1.68 million on marketing for the re-brand. Mr Gray had mocked First Minister Alex Salmond who had been unaware of any such plans; Mr Gray accused the SNP leader of failing to “get a grip” of the agency.
It subsequently emerged that Skills Development Scotland had decided against any name change two months previously on 30th March.
Labour then claimed to have a document dated April 27th proving that such a plan was actively being considered.
However the agency has now issued a fresh statement explaining that the 27th April document was prepared for a senior management team discussion to be held two days later. The meeting, on 29th April, re-affirmed the 30th March decision and decided that all existing brands were to be incorporated under the Skills Development Scotland name.
Responding to Newsnet Scotland questions a Skills Development Scotland spokesman said:
“The document prepared on April 27 2010 was discussed by the Senior Management Team on April 29 2010.
“The decision taken, in line with the decision on the 30 March 2010, was to consolidate all existing brands under the Skills Development Scotland corporate brand.”
The document is key to the Labour leader’s claims. Newsnet Scotland emailed Mr Gray’s Holyrood office at 12:00 Friday and requested help in locating a copy of the document, said by the BBC’s Brian Taylor to have been published – however, to date, we have received no reply.
We also asked the Labour leader the following questions:
"Can you confirm that you are standing by your claim that SDS, as of yesterday [Thursday] at mid-day, were actively planning to change their name to Scotland the Works?"
"Can you confirm whether anyone from the Labour party has contacted SDS in order to confirm the veracity and authenticity of the 27th April documents?"
Thus far we have yet to receive an acknowledgment of, or an answer to, our questions.
Skills Development Scotland was set up in 2008 and replaced four other quangos. Bringing them all under the Skills Development Scotland brand is the final stage in ensuring they all have the same corporate identity.
The £555,000, claimed by Iain Gray to be for a new name, is actually to be spent destroying SDS’s four predecessors’ old stocks of materials and replacing them with stationery and leaflets carrying the SDS logo.
Fifty-five offices formerly used by Careers Scotland and Learndirect Scotland – two of the defunct quangos replaced by SDS – are to get new signs with SDS branding.
The four old quangos’ websites will be disabled and users will instead be directed to the SDS site, which has been redesigned and given new content.