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Latest Historic Environment Scotland News
Nov 11, 2022
Scottish quango finance boss works from home... in New Zealand As Historic Environment Scotland faces ‘financial meltdown’, its finance director gets permission to work from the other side of the world 11 November 2022 • 5:41pm Donella Steel’s trip was due to start in early October and end in early January. While some of the period is covered by annual leave and public holidays, she has been allowed to work the rest of the time from New ZealandCredit: Historic Environment Scotland The finance director of a Scottish quango facing a “financial meltdown” has been allowed to work from home in New Zealand. Donella Steel, who works for Historic Environment Scotland (HES), was granted permission to work from the other side of the world by her employer, a decision that is said to have left her colleagues “furious”. Her trip was due to start in early October and end in early January. While some of the period is covered by annual leave and public holidays, she has been allowed to work the rest of the time from New Zealand. The body is facing severe financial pressures as a result of cuts imposed by the SNP government, with its £61 million budget due to fall to £48 million by 2026. The quango manages landmarks including Edinburgh Castle , with dozens of its properties closed to the public due to a lack of maintenance. ‘Nobody else would even think about asking for this’ “Nobody else would even think about asking for this but while an economic meltdown is happening our finance director is allowed to go on holiday and work overseas,” a source told The Daily Record. “She has every right to go on holiday but this seems to be over the top. She issued an email saying she was going but would be on leave and also working. Staff are furious about this preferential treatment.” Ms Steel has worked for HES since 2017, and has been employed by a series of Scottish quangos since the late 1990s. She was paid a salary of between £75,000 and £80,000 in 2020-21 and received a further £38,000 in pension benefits. Sharon Dowey, Scottish Tory MSP, said: “It’s extraordinary that a public official should be given this amount of leave to be on the other side of the world while Historic Environment Scotland’s finances are in a desperate state.” Scottish Liberal Democrat finance spokesman John Ferry added: “HES need to explain what benefit taxpayers are getting from the finance director’s working holiday to New Zealand.” Sturgeon backs hybrid working While UK ministers have pushed for workers to return to office working following the pandemic, Nicola Sturgeon has backed the idea of hybrid working arrangements becoming permanent. She has also urged businesses to embrace a four-day working week, with her government saying it will spend £10 million on pilots in the private sector. HES states that it believes “a healthy work life balance is essential” and offers its staff benefits such as flexible working hours. The quango said Ms Steel is a New Zealander who is going home for the first time since Covid and had paid her own costs.
Historic Environment Scotland Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where is Historic Environment Scotland's headquarters?
Historic Environment Scotland's headquarters is located at Salisbury Place, Edinburgh.
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