Non-job of the week

October 13, 2010 4:38 PM

Who’d have thought at this stage in the game, with the axe poised to swing, we’d still be seeing costly non-jobs advertised by local government? A report we released this week outlined the overall cost to the taxpayer of just four unnecessary council positions – Climate Change Officers, Diversity Officers,Nj18  Political Advisors and European Officers – which stands at no less than £41m per year. Just think of what that total would be if we cast our net further and included the numerous roles the TPA spots each Wednesday!


This week, on the Guardian Jobs website, Manchester City Council are advertising for an External Relations Manager on a salary of £35,430 to £38,961 to advise on marketing campaigns (good to see they have their priorities in order – image first, services last), and Hull City Council are hiring for no fewer than three Community Sports Development Officers (£17, 802–£19, 621) as part of their preachy “Hearty Lives Hull” programme which aims to kick people into physical activity and leaves many of us asking – is this really the job of local government?


This week’s non-job however alarms us all the more because it’s a new position, created by Oxford City Council – a local authority who are trying to save more than £1m a year:


Arts Development Director
£35,000


This is a new senior executive position, working closely with the newly appointed Board of Trustees to ensure that Arts at The Old Fire Station thrives artistically and financially. Reporting to the Board, the Arts Development Director is responsible for ensuring effective development and communications, both internally and externally.”


Bit of a short and sweet job description, but ultimately a questionable arts post at a time when council taxpayers are facing reductions in frontline service provision. No-one is questioning the enjoyment given by the arts, but we need to ask if government should be prioritising projects like this when things like social care, education and policing are truly in the firing line.

Who’d have thought at this stage in the game, with the axe poised to swing, we’d still be seeing costly non-jobs advertised by local government? A report we released this week outlined the overall cost to the taxpayer of just four unnecessary council positions – Climate Change Officers, Diversity Officers,Nj18  Political Advisors and European Officers – which stands at no less than £41m per year. Just think of what that total would be if we cast our net further and included the numerous roles the TPA spots each Wednesday!


This week, on the Guardian Jobs website, Manchester City Council are advertising for an External Relations Manager on a salary of £35,430 to £38,961 to advise on marketing campaigns (good to see they have their priorities in order – image first, services last), and Hull City Council are hiring for no fewer than three Community Sports Development Officers (£17, 802–£19, 621) as part of their preachy “Hearty Lives Hull” programme which aims to kick people into physical activity and leaves many of us asking – is this really the job of local government?


This week’s non-job however alarms us all the more because it’s a new position, created by Oxford City Council – a local authority who are trying to save more than £1m a year:


Arts Development Director
£35,000


This is a new senior executive position, working closely with the newly appointed Board of Trustees to ensure that Arts at The Old Fire Station thrives artistically and financially. Reporting to the Board, the Arts Development Director is responsible for ensuring effective development and communications, both internally and externally.”


Bit of a short and sweet job description, but ultimately a questionable arts post at a time when council taxpayers are facing reductions in frontline service provision. No-one is questioning the enjoyment given by the arts, but we need to ask if government should be prioritising projects like this when things like social care, education and policing are truly in the firing line.

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