Edinburgh City Council – a master stroke in reputation management

Hats off to Edinburgh city council leader Councillor Andrew Burns for proactively dealing with Gordon Aikman’s poor experience when travelling  to the Scottish Labour Conference by taxi.

Aikman, who has motor neurone disease, was due to introduce Ed Miliband but missed the opportunity after the two taxis he called were unable to pick him up in his wheelchair – one because the electric ramp was not working and the other because he ‘took too long to come down’.

Understanding the need to respond quickly and positively on this poor reflection on our capital city, Councillor Burns called an urgent meeting with Mr Aikman and within an hour they had thrashed out a plan to improve accessibility for wheel chair users – result!

I have always believed you can tell the strength of an organisation by the way they handle a crisis. When the subject of criticism, there is a real desire to run and hide, this example demonstrates that a negative experience can be a catalyst for positive change.

Well done Cllr Andrew Burns and Convener of the Regulatory Committee, Cllr Gavin Barrie for the text book approach in not only managing the issue, but taking positive steps to ensure Edinburgh learns from this very public humiliation – A thumbs up from Mr Aikman’s in today’s Sunday Times demonstrates this strategy has worked.

I have no doubt that behind this master stroke there is a hardworking PR who has provided good counsel – well done and keep up the good work !

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