Non-job of the week

March 28, 2012 6:14 PM

In January last year, it was reported in The Guardian that Camden Council, along with others like Lambeth, were displaying posters in bus shelters informing residents that cuts to services were a result of cuts in government grants. In a propaganda war, using taxpayers money, those councils were trying to convince us there wasn't any fat to trim.

If you look at Camden Council's accounts for 2010/11 (pages 143-148) you will see the number of officers earning in excess of £50K increased from 229 to 236. There were four officers with a remuneration (excluding pension contributions) in excess of £150K, and a further 14 receiving more than £100K. These include the chief executive, directors, assistant directors, and some departmental heads. Beneath that you have assistant heads and a vast array of other managers. The levels of bureaucracy inside our town halls is not only staggering, it is very expensive. 

With all these well paid officers in Camden, you would think they would be able to transform and improve services without taking on additional staff. Of course not, and Camden is looking for a new Head of Project and Programme Management with salary of £61,364 - £70,000. Here is part of the job description:
The main objectives of the role are to:

  • Lead the co-ordination of major programmes and projects across the Council to ensure alignment to strategic priorities and effective and efficient delivery through a “one council” approach

  • Build capacity as the head of profession to ensure the Council and its staff have the relevant tools, skills and capacity to deliver programmes and projects

  • Provide professional advice and support on the governance and delivery of major programmes and projects – with a particular focus on the key corporate priorities.



Compare this approach to that of North Lincolnshire Council. Councillors there have saved hundreds of thousands of pounds slashing the number of directors and assistant directors. They have taken political control of the council and have actively looked for savings that have helped protect essential front-line services. They have certainly not found the need to employ extra staff to ensure 'effective and efficient delivery through a "one council" approach'. They have adopted a business approach to running the council and have done what anyone who runs a successful business does.

There are many councils throughout the country who quietly get on with cutting waste and improving the services they provide for residents. Naturally, they do not make the headlines, but their good practice ideas should be spread widely for other councils to draw on. Good councils are constantly looking at ways to deliver first-rate services at the best price. I only wish there were more of them.

 In January last year, it was reported in The Guardian that Camden Council, along with others like Lambeth, were displaying posters in bus shelters informing residents that cuts to services were a result of cuts in government grants. In a propaganda war, using taxpayers money, those councils were trying to convince us there wasn't any fat to trim.

If you look at Camden Council's accounts for 2010/11 (pages 143-148) you will see the number of officers earning in excess of £50K increased from 229 to 236. There were four officers with a remuneration (excluding pension contributions) in excess of £150K, and a further 14 receiving more than £100K. These include the chief executive, directors, assistant directors, and some departmental heads. Beneath that you have assistant heads and a vast array of other managers. The levels of bureaucracy inside our town halls is not only staggering, it is very expensive. 

With all these well paid officers in Camden, you would think they would be able to transform and improve services without taking on additional staff. Of course not, and Camden is looking for a new Head of Project and Programme Management with salary of £61,364 - £70,000. Here is part of the job description:
The main objectives of the role are to:

  • Lead the co-ordination of major programmes and projects across the Council to ensure alignment to strategic priorities and effective and efficient delivery through a “one council” approach

  • Build capacity as the head of profession to ensure the Council and its staff have the relevant tools, skills and capacity to deliver programmes and projects

  • Provide professional advice and support on the governance and delivery of major programmes and projects – with a particular focus on the key corporate priorities.



Compare this approach to that of North Lincolnshire Council. Councillors there have saved hundreds of thousands of pounds slashing the number of directors and assistant directors. They have taken political control of the council and have actively looked for savings that have helped protect essential front-line services. They have certainly not found the need to employ extra staff to ensure 'effective and efficient delivery through a "one council" approach'. They have adopted a business approach to running the council and have done what anyone who runs a successful business does.

There are many councils throughout the country who quietly get on with cutting waste and improving the services they provide for residents. Naturally, they do not make the headlines, but their good practice ideas should be spread widely for other councils to draw on. Good councils are constantly looking at ways to deliver first-rate services at the best price. I only wish there were more of them.

 

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