Non-job of the week

On 3 June I wrote how the leader of Liverpool City Council, Joe Anderson, was urging other Merseyside councils to work together to reduce costs. In a quote to the Liverpool Daily Post he said:

“I raised the issue of procurement and sharing services together with a view to save money because we need to save money. I called on all the leaders of the councils on Merseyside to look at it.

We are looking at options to save money between us. They were all certainly up for it. If it’s legal services, Sefton could save money by using ours (Liverpool city council’s). Why have six different payment roll departments?

It’s to do with saving money. If you can do this through procurement you can save money.”

Perhaps my praise was premature as today Liverpool City Council is advertising for a new Director of Community Services, and a Director of Finance and Resources, both paying up to £140K. Instead of reducing costs, it looks like the council is increasing costs. Why appoint two new permanent directors when you are looking to merge back-office functions, and reduce the senior pay bill?

The senior pay bill in the NHS doesn't look like reducing either. Powys Teaching Health Board needs a new chief executive on £135K per annum. For that salary the job description states 'if you're an ambitious professional in search of the work-life balance that others can only dream about, prepare for a very pleasant surprise'.

The winner this week though is a Parliamentary and Public Affairs Manager in the London Borough of Newham. Part of this role is to promote the council as a centre of policy excellence and build relationships with civil servants and ministers. They will also provide briefings to politicians and officials at local, regional, and national level to promote Newham's policies, success and case for more resources. In other words, grant chasing.

This non-jobholder will even be responsible for coordinating the council's presence at party conferences. Why on earth does the council need a presence at a party conference? What's it going to do, hand out balloons with 'I love Newham' on them? Newham should be focussing on delivering cost-effective services, and reducing waste and bureaucracy. They should make sure the borough looks tidy and free of litter, making it a place where people want to do business. Instead it wants to employ someone whose job will be to lobby for more funding.

We really have to move away from this grant chasing mentality, where we pay our taxes to employ people who in turn spend their lives dreaming up new ways of chasing more of our money. It's this mentality that helps keep our taxes high.

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