Non-job of the week

This week’s non-job was spotted and sent in by a TPA activist and is really is the archetypal wishy-washy, semi-indefinable role that has proliferated in local government over the past few years. Let’s not forget there’s a squeeze on public finances and there will be for the foreseeable future, so such ‘right-on’ positions – presumably invented to keep us sweet – should surely be axed to free up funds for tax-cuts and the frontline services we actually want? Nj9


Come on Aberdeen City Council, do assess how vital this role really is:


Development Officer
 £25,608-£29,245 p.a.


Post Specific Requirements: Experience of working in a developmental role, of promoting customer or citizen engagement and an understanding of the corporate goals. Presentational, facilitation and communication skills, ability to produce clear reports for a broad range of audiences and to work with diverse community interests and to promote equal opportunities. Ability to use ICT, eg. mail, word processing, databases, internet research.”


Answers on a postcard as to what ‘facilitation skills’ are…


How completely and utterly vague, but of course the second sentence manages to reveal as much as we need to know. Perhaps they should’ve called this the ‘Just Checking Everyone’s Okay Officer’– possibly well-meaning but ultimately intrusive and offensively patronising. 


It must be tiring forever trying to dream up ways to ‘tap in’ to minority communities and foist yourselves upon them, but someone’s got to do it (or at least that’s what local government seems to believe). Why must such communities be treated like a different, endangered species that require such molly-coddling and protection from the government, and on such an intensive basis? Are they not now more conspicuous by being constantly declared as ‘equal’, whilst the rest of us are presumably the sort of closed-minded throwbacks that might assume that these folk are ‘unequal’ without our governmental betters there to tell us differently?


On the full job description, the whole Development Officer role is encapsulated in two enigmatic points:


1. The development and mainstreaming of the Council's social inclusion, equalities, sustainable development, community engagement, and strengthening local democracy strategies.
2. Partnership and forum development to ensure that communities' and partners' needs are identified and represented in strategic and neighbourhood action programmes


Is this not just state-sponsored busy-bodying? Even the extended job profile fails to tell us what actual, practical tasks are required to ‘promote equal opportunities’ or develop ‘community engagement’. This is just a collection of buzzwords, not a job and it’s both baffling and worrying at once that the taxpayer will be called upon to pay for such a nonsense position when we're consistently denied the proof of any measurable impact of such schemes that seem to satisfy the conscience of the council more than actually serving the needs of the community.

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