Local Government Job Cuts

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Mr_Baiter, Sep 14, 2010.

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  1. It was announced this week that Somerset County Council is going to shed 50% of it's workforce in Taunton. There is understandable doom and gloom in the local press and I imagine those for the chop will be feeling bloody terrible about it. This is compounded because the two big central government departments that operate there are also laying people off - so 40% of the local economy is derived from government work of one kind or another (although I don't know if that figure includes 40 Cdo based just outside the town).

    While I have every sympathy with those about to become jobless I am speechless that the County Council was, in effect 100% overmanned in that area (I know its not that simple, but if they reckon they can operate at 50% strength then they were very obviously overmanned). The real gripper though is that while they were so overmanned the roads and schools were allowed to fall into a terrible state. My kids school has leaks in the ceiling and rot in much of the wood, yet the council gave them some new window frames two years ago and said that was all they could afford.

    I have always had a major problem with fat government leaching from private enterprise to fund itself, but this really takes the cake. Since 1997 the state has eaten up all the tax money and other incomes, borrowed yet more and then printed money to keep the whole thing afloat and now I find that they were running at close to 100% overstaffing levels. Its not the fault of the individual who sees a way to earn a living - if they don't take the job then someone will. And I also know it is the lower paid who will get the push first, but how on earth was it ever allowed to get to that level?

    I suspect this must be the case all over the country - anyone else got any light to shed on the size of the problem?

    And don't get me started on Council Executive pay - thats just bloody scandalous.
     
  2. msr

    msr LE

    If only everyone on the left of the political spectrum enjoyed your clarity of thought.

    msr
     
  3. I had a quick look at the Guardian jobs section earlier on and it's still littered with jobs for Climate change consultants, corporate liason managers, strategy co-ordinators, marketing professionals, stakeholder engagement consultants (feck knows what that is?!) and the usual E&D crap.

    Local government should be, in the main, fairly boring stuff. It's about schools, policing, pot holes, picking up rubbish, street lights and that sort of stuff. It is absolutely not about endless 'initiatives' to try and get people to change their ways in some sort of social engineering exercise. It isn't the councils job to try to get me out of my car and onto the bus (impossible anyway as a shift worker) or getting people to change their perceptions on migrants, or teaching children to 'challenge their parents attitudes on climate change' or any of this stuff, and the people employed in these types of jobs should be redeployed to do something usefu like filling in holes in the roads or they should be dismissed.
     
  4. I have the joy of working for a Council and the waste is immense. On average I take 2 calls a week from staff who have not used their on contract Blackberry, at £20 a month basic for 4 or more months. That's roughly £180 a Blackberry and £80 over 4 months. I take a call a week for mobile phones and Blackberrys that have been left as staff leave and someone, after 3 or 4 months, thinks to check if the phones are still being paid for.

    So far today I have taken 3 calls in 2 hours from staff who have on long term sick for 3 months or more.

    That's just the tip of the iceberg of waste here
     
  5. Barnsley council employed two full-time town centre ambassadors to give advice to tourists - err Barnsley and tourists? These councils have been reckless with money and they need reigning in. They can't afford to do anything because all the money goes on the wages bill. The local council staff get eight weeks leave and public holidays, so we are paying them to do nothing.
     
  6. Or when they decide a restructure is needed to "streamline" the workforce and end up ridding that department of say 10 under £14kp.a. office assistants (Which are more of a backbone than the retarded execs that need their assistant to write up their cv when their jobs at risk) when the whole thing is being decided by 1 tousers in socks fart who's been contracted in at over £300k wheres the logic? in the long run they may save a pittance on pay but the quality of the front line service has decreased dramatically beyond repair. all the while they are telling you that the quality of the service is centre of the bill for improvement

    breath
     
  7. my sister is an admin worker ant for Wiltshire Council. A few months ago her boss two rungs up (on about £55K basic) emailed the entire dept to tell them that he was taking a weeks leave and would then be working from home for 3 weeks - he didn't want to be contacted and he wasn't going to come in for any meetings..............because he had a new puppy and wanted to spend some time with it.............. I kid you not.

    They have an Equality and Diversity Department - in a county with a BME population of about 1%.

    I ran a course for some local authority bods last year where I was told they had taken on two people, full time, whose sole job was to persuade the local licensees to join their award scheme. I asked "did it work?" "Oh yes" she said, "we increased participation from 10 pubs out of 800 to 20" - at the cost of £70 000 to the tax payer.
     
  8. Part of my work brings me into contact with chartered surveyors, I deal with those employed by councils and those employed by privately owned firms - I can tell you which of the two has a bigger caseload, gets through it faster and achieves competetive results - and it ain't the one who can't be sacked if he underperforms.

    There is absolutely no hunger to succeed, no drive to achieve good value in the councils (or certain elements of other land management civil servants if you know what I mean). When I phone Mr Txx Ixxxxxd of a well known local firm and leave a message he gets back to me the same day, even if only to say he can't call properly until next week. This man, I know, has a workload as long as his arm and is under huge pressure to achieve excellent results for his clients - if anything the recession has made him even more focussed and driven as customers are far more inclined to shop around for a new agent if the current one underperforms. Hes on about £40k

    Meanwhile Mr Dxxxx Axxxxxxxed of a certain council in the north has been signed off with stress for the foreseeable future when I also know that his caseload is non-contentious, undeadlined, relatively small and there is no competetive market for him to navigate through. Hes on about £40k

    And yes - I know that there are some valuable and dedicated individuals working in councils, for very little money and delivering a stunning service to those who need it. But all too often I come across flakey, needy individuals with no sense of the fact that they are receiving public money in return for their services and should strive to give excellent value.

    As was said earlier - the provision of basic services such as transport, education, public amenities, social housing, waste management etc is all the council should concern itself with. If I want to eat fruit pastilles as part of my 5 a day then I will. Councils should not be involved in social engineering - certainly not with MY MONEY anyway.

    I'm bloody annoyed tonight, and two large armagnacs have not improved the situation - perhaps a third will .......................
     
  9. It's not just local government that are this hopeless either of course, central government departments and executive agencies are equally bad.

    The problem remains that it's just so hard to sack public sector workers, they get their little AA certification from the civil service board and keep their noses clean and bam - they're basically unsackale regardless of how hopeless they are.
     
  10. Oh and just to add insult to injury, I received a letter this morning from Birmingham City Council informing me of a summons to magistrates for non-payment of council tax, dated 10th September 2010. 12 days after I made my 3rd payment installment to them. Chap on phone (am on hold at the moment) is baffled as to why, and tells me the account is up to date.

    Am waiting to speak to his manager right now actually, major strip is about to be torn off these incompetents.
     
  11. All these Local Goverrnment "Consultants" could be gathered in one Government Ministry, The Ministry for Changing Peoples Lives, and give the Secretary of State for that Ministry a plush office....................................................in a second hand Night Watchmans hut, on a roundabout somewhere busy.
     
  12. I wonder how many of those enthusing over the cull of local government 'non-jobs' would be equally enthusiatic for the following military 'non-jobs' to be cut:

    Red Arrows
    Bands
    Chaplains
    Bearskins and other ceremonial dress
    King's Troop RHA
    White Helmets
    Various parachute display teams
    Sundry expeditions to sunny climes for non-military purposes

    After all, none of the above are essential for the front line.
     
  13. msr

    msr LE

    This is not the beef, a longer response could argue for most of those being relevant to the front line.

    See here for a list of pointless jobs: Government jobs | Guardian Jobs

    msr
     
  14. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer