The war on non-jobs and waste

February 21, 2011 12:47 PM

It has taken nine months, but at last the government has finally announced it is going to crackdown on non-jobs in town halls across the country. To be fair to the government, if it wanted to stay true to its localism agenda, it had to give councils the opportunity to do something about the problem themselves. As we have seen in councils the length and breadth of the country, this has not happened.

As reported in the Daily Telegraph last Friday, the total number of council workers not employed in traditional front-line roles is almost 750,000.  We highlighted in our report last year that councils spend £41 million a year on uneccesary jobs such as climate change officers, diversity officers, political advisers, and european officers.

There are also the more famous (or infamous) non-jobs, such as North East Lincolnshire's "future shape programme manager" and Falkirk's "cheerleading development officer."

Every pound wasted on these posts, is a pound that could be spent on front-line services. When councils start closing libraries, scrapping school crossing patrols, and in the case of Lambeth, advertise that because the government has cut our money we are forced to cut services, remember the three-quarters of a million people councils employ nationwide not in front-line jobs.

Our supporters have also written about ways councils waste our money involving themselves in projects they know nothing about. Colin Cameron wrote about Newcastle City Council's move into property speculation. If professionals in Newcastle find it difficult to let office space, why does the council think it can do better?

Tim Newark wrote about Bath & North East Somerset Council, who has opened its own restaurant in the Roman Baths. What on earth possesed councillors to think entering the catering industry was a good use of taxpayers' money?

Just last week, Liam Billington told us about Tameside Council's 'Urban Walks' scheme, in which £5000 was spent teaching council staff to walk properly! This was reported in the Mail on Sunday yesterday. As someone commented on the Mail's website, "Amazing how far Britain has come in the last 30 years. A comedy sketch (which was hilarious) is now a fact of life"

It seems as if our long running campaign against non-jobs and waste  has finally struck a chord, but this is not a time to for us to sit back and rest on our laurels. Every week I will continue to write about non-jobs. Please keep on sending us your examples. I will continue to write about those that are currently being advertised, but please send in examples of current non-jobs too. To bring down spending, lower council tax, and protect front-line services, existing non-jobs need to be eradicated.

I also want you to send us examples of waste, such as the ones I have already outlined. Councils should be focusing on providing services we expect from them, not deviating into property speculation, becoming restauranters, and teaching people how to walk.

Councils can cut spending, without a significant impact on front-line services. They need to look at what services they currently provide, and see if other organisations could provide them better. They need to merge back-office functions, reduce the amount of middle managers, and reduce salaries for senior staff. They need to use their imagination. Many councils have already done this, and rest need to follow suit.It has taken nine months, but at last the government has finally announced it is going to crackdown on non-jobs in town halls across the country. To be fair to the government, if it wanted to stay true to its localism agenda, it had to give councils the opportunity to do something about the problem themselves. As we have seen in councils the length and breadth of the country, this has not happened.

As reported in the Daily Telegraph last Friday, the total number of council workers not employed in traditional front-line roles is almost 750,000.  We highlighted in our report last year that councils spend £41 million a year on uneccesary jobs such as climate change officers, diversity officers, political advisers, and european officers.

There are also the more famous (or infamous) non-jobs, such as North East Lincolnshire's "future shape programme manager" and Falkirk's "cheerleading development officer."

Every pound wasted on these posts, is a pound that could be spent on front-line services. When councils start closing libraries, scrapping school crossing patrols, and in the case of Lambeth, advertise that because the government has cut our money we are forced to cut services, remember the three-quarters of a million people councils employ nationwide not in front-line jobs.

Our supporters have also written about ways councils waste our money involving themselves in projects they know nothing about. Colin Cameron wrote about Newcastle City Council's move into property speculation. If professionals in Newcastle find it difficult to let office space, why does the council think it can do better?

Tim Newark wrote about Bath & North East Somerset Council, who has opened its own restaurant in the Roman Baths. What on earth possesed councillors to think entering the catering industry was a good use of taxpayers' money?

Just last week, Liam Billington told us about Tameside Council's 'Urban Walks' scheme, in which £5000 was spent teaching council staff to walk properly! This was reported in the Mail on Sunday yesterday. As someone commented on the Mail's website, "Amazing how far Britain has come in the last 30 years. A comedy sketch (which was hilarious) is now a fact of life"

It seems as if our long running campaign against non-jobs and waste  has finally struck a chord, but this is not a time to for us to sit back and rest on our laurels. Every week I will continue to write about non-jobs. Please keep on sending us your examples. I will continue to write about those that are currently being advertised, but please send in examples of current non-jobs too. To bring down spending, lower council tax, and protect front-line services, existing non-jobs need to be eradicated.

I also want you to send us examples of waste, such as the ones I have already outlined. Councils should be focusing on providing services we expect from them, not deviating into property speculation, becoming restauranters, and teaching people how to walk.

Councils can cut spending, without a significant impact on front-line services. They need to look at what services they currently provide, and see if other organisations could provide them better. They need to merge back-office functions, reduce the amount of middle managers, and reduce salaries for senior staff. They need to use their imagination. Many councils have already done this, and rest need to follow suit.

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