“Let’s be blunt,” writes the new Local Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, “there are going to be tough choices to make in local government over the next few months.” Love him or loathe him – he’s right, these choices are inevitable. He’s pretty apt in stating that there’s “still a long way for some councils to go in terms of cutting out waste – especially in terms of some of the more ludicrous "non-jobs" you see advertised.” Right again Mr. Pickles. And where has the Rt. Hon. Gentleman aired his learned views; in the Mail, Telegraph or Express perhaps? No, in the Guardian no-less - ironically the same paper where this week’s (and most other week’s) non-jobs are advertised.
It seems the Guardian jobs pages are a second home for councils and agencies, filled to the brim with highly-paid, taxpayer-funded positions, where one must be good at decoding the riddle of convoluted and pretentious nonsense to understand what they’re actually applying for. From ‘Local Democratic Officer’ (£30,851) to ‘Head of City of London Police Corporate Communications’ (£48,030) there are plenty of non-job adverts to decipher.
I thought the following was a good candidate for the non-job of the week title – the ‘Engagement and Partnerships Officer' (£37,029 - £42,491) for the Metropolitan Police Authority which will provide a first point of contact for “borough stakeholders” – (that’s residents and businesses to you and me) and will consult with “stakeholders” over “effective crime reductions strategies.” I thought that was what local neighbourhood policing units were supposed to do?
But this week’s winner of the non-job title comes from the Government’s ‘Change 4 life’ Scheme. You may have seen the adverts; the ones where the little plasticine people and Suggs tell you that eating copious amounts of junk food and doing little exercise may lead to health problems. The campaign is costing £75million over 3 years, and the directors of the scheme have to think of innovative ways to waste your money. Their latest imaginative jape is to spend £25,000 on a
‘DANCE 4 LIFE CO-ORDINATOR’
Lincolnshire Dance (LD) seeks a creative and highly motivated individual to co-ordinate this exciting county-wide programme which will increase the dance infrastructure and develop dance opportunities for adults. The post holder will have opportunities to lead practical dance sessions as well as co-ordinator and administrative tasks.
Closing date 5pm Wednesday 21 July 2010 – Contact Keyna Paul, director on 01522 811 811
This job fits in to the broader argument over the taxpayer funded scheme. You’ll get people who will say that obesity is becoming a major health problem that could perhaps cost as much as £50 billion a year to treat in the not so distance future. They will say that if the £75 million scheme can cut just 10% of those future patients then the state may save something like £5 billion a year.
I am sceptical that such a scheme can produce such results – when you consider the huge amounts already being spent on nanny state projects to almost no effect, this is throwing more money down what has already proven to be a bottomless pit.