Barclay defends himself against Kiwibuild management complaints

Stephen Barclay, has defended himself over complaints of his behaviour as head of KiwiBuild.

NZ Herald:  Former KiwiBuild boss Stephen Barclay resigned amid ‘leadership complaints’

The former head of KiwiBuild Stephen Barclay resigned amid an employment investigation that revealed complaints from employees, contractors and stakeholders regarding his “leadership behaviour”.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Chief Executive Andrew Crisp today shed more light on the saga.

The reason for Barclay’s resignation on January 18 had previously been unknown, aside from that it was an “employment dispute”.

“The allegations reflected behaviours that are not consistent with standards expected of senior public servants,” said Crisp in a statement.

He said the alleged conduct related to Barclay’s treatment of employees, contractors and stakeholders. They were not linked to the implementation of the KiwiBuild programme.

“I commenced an employment investigation into those allegations. While the investigation was ongoing, Mr Barclay resigned.”

There was no exit payment or confidential deal reached with Barclay, Crisp said, adding that Barclay resigned with immediate effect and received no payment in lieu of notice.

A spokesman for Housing Minister Phil Twyford said as Barclay’s former employer, Andrew Crisp is best placed to comment on his departure and it’s not appropriate for Minister Twyford to comment on an employment matter regarding a public servant.

But Barclay has responded – Stuff: Former KiwiBuild boss Stephen Barclay suing Government over departure, says he was on track to meet first year goal

Barclay put out a statement following the news on Monday pushing back at the complaints. He said divulging the existence of the complaints was itself a breach of privacy.

The statement also revealed that Barclay is pursuing a constructive dismissal case – essentially alleging that he was forced to resign and taking the Government to court over it.

“Mr Barclay was employed by MBIE from July to October 2018 when the KiwiBuild programme was transferred to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. During this period, there were no issues raised about his performance, management style or leadership,” a spokeswoman for Barclay said.

“Within two weeks of the KiwiBuild programme moving to MHUD, he can confirm there were a small number of complaints from individuals who held a close relationship to the CEO, Mr Crisp. The nature of the complaints related to Mr Barclay’s direct management style and dealings with certain individuals.”

“They were entirely linked to the implementation of the KiwiBuild programme which was Mr Barclay’s only remit. His commitment was to execute against the targets of the KiwiBuild programme, and he was attempting to do this at pace.”

“As soon as Mr Barclay was informed of the complaints, he responded to them within the week, requesting the complaints be independently investigated and additional people relevant to the complaints be questioned. These requests were repeatedly denied and Mr Barclay was suspended from his role for more than two months.”

“This made his position untenable and led to him resign in his and the KiwiBuild programme’s best interests. At the point in which he was suspended, the number of KiwiBuild homes were on track to meet the Year One target.”

And Barclay is continuing his defence this morning.

Whether complaints against him and his dismissal were justified or not, this looks like another nail in the dysfunctional KiwiBuild coffin.

23 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  29th January 2019

    A nail in the coffin because people have different views on how things should happen or do things differently? Issues like that are more important than the raison d’être the organisation exists?

    If the government weren’t involved that’d all be part of ‘market forces’ I suppose.

    • It isn’t coffin stage yet, but KiwiBuild looks sick and dysfunctional, and there was obviously some sort of rot at the top.

      • Duker

         /  29th January 2019

        PG, have noticed how national did on having a very slow buildup in the private sector new builds. On ly about 2 yrs ago did we exceed the numbers built back in about 2005.

    • Gezza

       /  29th January 2019

      So far, we don’t know. All that Crisp has said is vague as to the nature of the complaints.

      Barclay has specifically listed examples of he says were not: “I can rule out things like financial fraud.. sexual misconduct, & I can rule out bullying. They are absolutely about my style of getting answers, moving forward, [and] making decisions.”

      These are the kinds of misconduct we are used to seeing being cited in reports.

      So we don’t know WTF was going on. Which about sums up Kiwibuild as well. And its Minister, imo.

  2. Blazer

     /  29th January 2019

    ‘ He said divulging the existence of the complaints was itself a breach of privacy.’

    Why has he divulged that he is suing?

    Typical ‘hotshot’ exec ,that over rates himself…is what I can see.

    He had no issues for 3-4 months…wow.

    ‘”I can rule out things like financial fraud.. sexual misconduct, & I can rule out bullying. They are absolutely about my style of getting answers, moving forward, [and] making decisions.”

    It is not his place to rule anything in or…out.

    He resigned …end of.

    • Corky

       /  29th January 2019

      Listen. if you can, to his interview yesterday with Larry on ZB. He puts your perceptions to rest.

      It’s a case of private sector boss who delivered results…meeting public sector boss of 30 years who delivers processes and flow charts within a structure of bureaucratic fiefdom.

      • Duker

         /  29th January 2019

        Theres a bit of that … but no business can have an aggressive personality running the show.

        • Gerrit

           /  29th January 2019

          ….but no government department can have an aggressive personality running the show.

          Fixed it for you.

          All business’s have an aggressive personality running the show.

          • Gezza

             /  29th January 2019

            Well, not necessarily they don’t, but I would they usually have a strong personality and a decisive one, and maybe a risk taker?

          • Blazer

             /  29th January 2019

            name a few in NZ.

            • Gerrit

               /  29th January 2019

              Peter Beck, Sir Steven Tindall, Sir Peter Leitch, Bill Gallagher and many more.

              Even inlcude the management of Nga Tahu in the list.

            • Blazer

               /  29th January 2019

              @Gerrit…doubt any of those see them selves as aggressive personalities.

            • Duker

               /  29th January 2019

              Theres aggressive in business decisions and being a shit to those who work directly ( not just wider company employees)for you. Successful people arent normally both . Steve Jobs was an exception, a very rare exception.

            • Blazer

               /  29th January 2019

              mind you Jobs had the benefit of all those LSD years.

            • Gerrit

               /  29th January 2019

              @Blazer No doubt they don’t see themselves as aggressive. But to succeed they had to be. You can be aggressive without being rude or obnoxious. Good people managers know how to treat staff plus get what they need from them to get the job done.

              They also reconcile risks with opportunities to exploit using purpose and drive.

              Perhaps a better word would be assertive?

      • Blazer

         /  29th January 2019

        seems highly qualified .
        Seems to have run his own business at the same time he was employed at KB.

        ‘Managing Director
        Barclay SME Ltd
        August 2014 – Present 4 years 6 months
        Auckland, New Zealand
        Barclay SME assists clients with building and construction, business and organisational transformation, sports and entertainment, leveraging Stephen’s major project experience in these sectors.

  3. duperez

     /  29th January 2019

    We all want a strong, decisive, determined person running the show. Until they do something we don’t agree with. Then we want them out to be replaced by a strong, decisive, determined person who does what we want.

  4. David

     /  29th January 2019

    After 9 years of National the civil service is used to moving at glacial pace where the primary concern was not embarrassing a Minister and when Twyford brought in someone with drive dedicated to solving the housing crisis with some urgency the bureaucracy fought back to protect their cozy positions.
    Where Twyford has stuffed up is not backing his CEO who saw the blunt no nonsense approach from his Minister who wanted the job done and emulated it. Shame really but if I was Twyford I would re employ him give the arse card to Crisp.

    • Conspiratoor

       /  29th January 2019

      Reading between the lines Barclay was parachuted in from a dog eat dog world to an episode from ‘gliding on’. Feelings were hurt, egos bruised and the rest as they say …is history

      • Corky

         /  29th January 2019

        Yes. This situation does have a precedent…gliding in, not on. This from a golden era of boxing. Big Daddy, Evander and Mills Lane. Barclay has yet to climb into the ring.

        At .25