More pressure on An Taisce to recall “flawed” report

An Taisce has come under further pressure today to withdraw a damning report on planning - particularly in Donegal - by a powerful group representing County and City Managers across the country.

An Taisce has come under further pressure today to withdraw a damning report on planning - particularly in Donegal - by a powerful group representing County and City Managers across the country.

Two weeks ago the report branded Donegal County Council as having the worst record of any local authority in the country. Since then An Taisce admitted they had made an error in how they arrived at certain figures in the report.

However, the re-issued report still left Donegal County Council at the bottom of the rankings.

Now the County and City Manager’s Association (CCMA) have called for An Taisce to recall what they describe as “a flawed report”.

In a statement today the CCMA says An Taisce’s report is “fundamentally flawed” from a number of perspectives; “both the presentation of indicators and the reporting of statistics throughout the report are flawed and require further major revisions”, says Hubert Kearns, CCMA Chairman. The logic and justification for choosing the particular battery of indicators chosen by An Taisce is not given in the report. The authors of the report make no reference to the existing battery of performance indicators for local authorities (service indicators) which are publicly available and are independently verified on an annual basis.

Following initial queries which challenged the presentation of the results, An Taisce withdrew the original report. They have now republished the report with amended tables; however, the CCMA still have serious issues with the report. Their use of statistics and the method they use to rank local authorities is lacking any statistical rigour. They have used statistics in a blind fashion without appropriate quantitative analysis to back up their figures.

“There is a lack of clarity on what weighting, if any, has been applied to individual indicators chosen by An Taisce”, says Mr. Kearns (who is the Sligo County Manager). “The grading system developed by An Taisce is an ‘unbalanced scorecard’. The raw data used to generate the rankings and league tables should be presented as an Appendix to the report to ensure that the results can be verified. The unknown authors of the An Taisce report ought to have attached greater importance to the accurate use of statistics and the report is missing a chapter to explain clearly how the ranking model deals with weighting issues to ensure there is no urban or rural bias.”