Non-job of the week

June 01, 2011 10:11 AM

On 19 January, my non-job of the week was a Performance Improvement Manager at Oxford City Council. It appears something has gone wrong, as the same job has been advertised again. You will see by clicking on the links, it is exactly the same job advert. In addition, the council is also looking for a Business Improvement Partner, on exactly the same salary, £33,661 - £37,206.

In Brent, the Liberal Democrat group is looking for a Political Assistant, paying £34,986. This was one of the non-jobs we identified in a report last year. There were 141 full time equivalent council employees working as Political Advisors at a cost of nearly £5 million in 2009-10. It seems the Lib Dems in Brent are going to add to this figure. As we said in our report:
The question has to be asked: why do local councillors require such advice? Councillors – who generally operate on a part-time basis – should be well  accustomed to their  ward and issues concerning their local residents. If there is a need to elect a better standard of councillor, then that is a separate question.

Councils should stick to  providing key services,  such as keeping streets clean and maintaining  vital  infrastructure. Paid professional political advice  could mean that councillors become too ambitious above and beyond these fundamental goals.  It is an unnecessary role, proven by the fact that many councils operate perfectly well without them.

The non-jobs of the week this week though are in Camden. The council is looking for a Sustainability Manager (Community Engagement) and a Sustainability Officer to help Camden become a low carbon and low waste borough. Here is a snippet from the manager's job advert:

You will be responsible for leading on green community engagement projects and act as the Council’s expert advisor on green community engagement matters. Whilst successfully managing a small team, you will ensure the council uses effective, evidence-based approaches and initiatives to drive green behavioural change across the whole community in Camden. You will work across a number of different teams and in partnership with senior managers, external agencies and community groups to increase green actions taken by residents.


Since when did we pay our council tax to have our behaviour changed? In a report last year, we highlighted the business of 'Taxpayer Funded Environmentalism'. As you can see, this also happens at your local town hall. We expect our taxes to be spent wisely, and in the case of councils, we expect them to use our money providing quality front-line services.

We do not pay our taxes to be preached at and have our behaviour changed, or pay for political advice to councillors, or pay for performance managers - especially when councils are full of highly paid managers already. Unfortunately, as we see every week - we do!On 19 January, my non-job of the week was a Performance Improvement Manager at Oxford City Council. It appears something has gone wrong, as the same job has been advertised again. You will see by clicking on the links, it is exactly the same job advert. In addition, the council is also looking for a Business Improvement Partner, on exactly the same salary, £33,661 - £37,206.

In Brent, the Liberal Democrat group is looking for a Political Assistant, paying £34,986. This was one of the non-jobs we identified in a report last year. There were 141 full time equivalent council employees working as Political Advisors at a cost of nearly £5 million in 2009-10. It seems the Lib Dems in Brent are going to add to this figure. As we said in our report:
The question has to be asked: why do local councillors require such advice? Councillors – who generally operate on a part-time basis – should be well  accustomed to their  ward and issues concerning their local residents. If there is a need to elect a better standard of councillor, then that is a separate question.

Councils should stick to  providing key services,  such as keeping streets clean and maintaining  vital  infrastructure. Paid professional political advice  could mean that councillors become too ambitious above and beyond these fundamental goals.  It is an unnecessary role, proven by the fact that many councils operate perfectly well without them.

The non-jobs of the week this week though are in Camden. The council is looking for a Sustainability Manager (Community Engagement) and a Sustainability Officer to help Camden become a low carbon and low waste borough. Here is a snippet from the manager's job advert:

You will be responsible for leading on green community engagement projects and act as the Council’s expert advisor on green community engagement matters. Whilst successfully managing a small team, you will ensure the council uses effective, evidence-based approaches and initiatives to drive green behavioural change across the whole community in Camden. You will work across a number of different teams and in partnership with senior managers, external agencies and community groups to increase green actions taken by residents.


Since when did we pay our council tax to have our behaviour changed? In a report last year, we highlighted the business of 'Taxpayer Funded Environmentalism'. As you can see, this also happens at your local town hall. We expect our taxes to be spent wisely, and in the case of councils, we expect them to use our money providing quality front-line services.

We do not pay our taxes to be preached at and have our behaviour changed, or pay for political advice to councillors, or pay for performance managers - especially when councils are full of highly paid managers already. Unfortunately, as we see every week - we do!

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