Many thanks to those of you who’ve been in touch with the TPA, alerting us to needless spending in your local area. If you do spot anything that strikes you as a waste of money in the current climate, then do just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today it’s the turn of the Malvern branch of the TPA, who fell upon a copy of “Team Talk”, a newspaper for the employees of Malvern Hills District Council. Remarkably, this periodical still exists in hardcopy, although the content quite obviously addresses a staff body that have access to the internet.
The first chirpy headline is ‘Work Perks’, and begins:
“Next time you pass an office notice board stop and take the time to remind yourself about some of the many benefits of working for Malvern Hills District Council. It is sometimes all too easy to focus on the pressures of work, the current economic climate or the miserable weather we are having to endure but actually there are a whole host of reasons why working here is pretty good”.
Fair enough. Presumably they mean flexible hours, generous pension schemes, earning more on average than their private sector counterparts, getting away with pulling a cheeky amount of sickies...?
“Working here brings with it a full range of benefits and if you are not taking advantage of them then you really should do so. The Council offers a wide range of benefits from discounted gym membership to free car parking; from salary sacrifice schemes to access to a confidential counselling service; from additional allowances for attending meetings to access to coaching and mentoring opportunities”.
And there’s more...
- Well person clinics
- Support to give up smoking
- Awareness days for prostrate and testicular cancer; strokes, heart disease and others in line with National Health campaigns
- Free taster days at the SPLASH with reduced membership rates for employees
- Stress awareness courses
- Free flu jabs for employees
- Visiting osteoporosis specialists
- Breast and chest cancer awareness sessions
A full programme of Health & Wellbeing events for 2010 is posted on the Health & Safety sharepoint page”.
Wow, when do they have time to fit their work in?? Most people go to the doctors or the hospital with a health concern, staff at this local authority needn’t bother – they seem to be able to get a general MOT at work whenever they fancy it.
Team Talk goes on to encourage employees to ‘snap up’ a discounted compost bin and to boast about their new “Level 2 (or ‘Achieving’ status)” of the Equality Framework for Local Government, whatever that means (presumably that they’re not breaking the law by discriminating), telling employees to include news of this lofty new rank on their email signature.
Most jobs have their perks, but this is an astounding array, and we can’t forget that it’s all subsidised by taxpayers – the very people who have to pay for parking and for full price gym membership on top.
Severe cuts need to be made a local government level, and that means that some of these ‘perks’ are unsustainable. By trimming the fat in areas like this, alongside other non-vital spending, our councils can save the sort of money that could lessen the impact on frontline services.