Posted tagged ‘private sector’

Inside out

September 22, 2011

How far on the journey are we?

When I was much younger I spent a wonderful autumn making some extra money through conkers.  It wasn’t big business, but having a conker tree in the back garden meant I had a steady supply when many of my friends didn’t, so I swapped enough money for the odd trip to the tuck shop for some un-treated conkers of varying sizes.  My friends could have gone and got some conkers themselves, or perhaps sourced an external supplier from another school, but my services were cost effective and efficient, I offered a guaranteed service and at the end of the day I shared my sweets with them, so everyone was a winner.

This delve into history came to mind today when I read news that Birmingham City Council’s legal services team have secured a major contract to supply 70 health trusts legal support at a cost of £8.8m.  This has precipitated the development of two brand new divisions – LSB Law and LSB Law Conferencing – which will deliver this work and the training to complement it, a huge task in anyone’s estimation.

To my admittedly limited knowledge, this has to be one of the biggest examples this country has ever seen of a public sector service offered by one Council being sold to other public sector agencies.  I have experience of internal consultancies, many of which prove very successful.  Where a specialism exists which one single team has developed and which other teams need, it is not unusual for that team to charge a modest fee to make use of this service.  Design, communications, consultation, audit, legal advice, training, research, print; all these and more are made use of in the internal marketplace (which we looked at ourselves some time ago). (more…)

The real pensions divide; not private and public but haves and have nots

July 6, 2011

I just love that scary pig!

Sometimes, the work of another blogger provides the motivation for a blog post. Today the work of two of my colleagues, and a comment on one of those posts, has inspired me to write a post which might be way off base but I hope provides some food for thought.

Last week one of my colleagues, reflecting on the pensions strike argued that in reality the public and private sectors aren’t so different. This followed up a piece from the week before discussing the future of the local government pension scheme. In that post my fellow WLLGer had written that there was general agreement that local government should maintain a final salary scheme.

A commenter (code name Jeremiah) pointed out that actually many would prefer a career average type of scheme as it did more to even out the benefits between those on ‘normal’ salaries and the ‘high-flyers’.

When you add the two posts and the comment together it got me thinking:

Is the real divide in terms of pensions not between the public and private sector but between those who are reasonably ‘well-off’ and those that aren’t; or to put it another way the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.

(more…)

We’re not that different when all is said and done

July 1, 2011

Just try taking one side away...Speaking with my father recently I was told a story from my youth. At four years old I was watching a boxing match between a black British and a white American boxer, and watching my dad getting excited as the Brit took the upper hand. When asking him which one I should cheer for he told me the black boxer was ours – confused, I calmly told him I didn’t understand what he meant and asked what colour shorts he was wearing otherwise I couldn’t tell them apart.

As I grew older I struggled to understand the differences in status and class which meant so much to my parents. I couldn’t understand the differences between me, friends from school who went on skiing trips and those whose parents had no need to work who we met on holiday. As far as I could see, the only difference was that I didn’t have to wear a blazer and tie to school.

As I started work I initially struggled to work out the differences in authority and power of those I worked with, treating all with a friendly comeraderie and ignoring any undertones of formality. Now, why on earth am I bringing this trip down memory lane up?

Because I am now facing another blind spot – I’m struggling to see a real, identifiable, quantifiable difference between public and private sector workers.

With the strike action from yesterday and the pension arguements which rumble on, with the salaries of public sector servants at the top end of the scale being compared with the PM and their private sector counterparts, with the current cuts being made to the public sector and the various places the public wants to place the blame for them; I fear we are rapidly dividing the country up into opposing sides on the private and public sectors, and I fear for the impact this has. (more…)

The Hidden Barriers of Leaving Local Government

June 16, 2011

What? There's no detailed person spec to answer?

Here at welovelocalgovernment we try to cover all elements of the local government experience. And so, when we were contacted with the offer of a guest post (we do love a guest post!) that would discuss the problems local government employees might face if trying to leave the sector we jumped at the chance.

If you’ve got an article or topic you’d like us to share with our readers send it in to welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com, but not until you’ve enjoyed this from the ‘mysteriously’ named Headhunter.

When the private sector recession was happening a lot of people decided they wanted to think about working in local government, and they encountered a number of issues of cultural unfamiliarity, including the vey different recruitment process blogged about recently.

There are analogous, but in some respects worse, challenges for the many people who are now, voluntarily or otherwise leaving LG and looking to the allegedly burgeoning private sector for their next job.  (Any redundant public servant should of course be reading about the journey of the now re-employed redundant public servant.

Surveys have shown that public sector managers are harder to place in the private sector and that whilst people are looking to the private sector for their next job they are pessimistic about getting there.  What does this mean, in practical terms, for individuals making the journey? And how much of that can I realistically cover in a blog post?  I’m a headhunter, predominantly recruiting for Chief Officer roles having been a chief officer myself, but having started my career in the private sector.  This is what I think…

(more…)

Came-wrong or Camer-on-the-other-hand?

February 22, 2011

Seven!

At the risk of breaking the boundaries of anonymity, I can reveal that I’m too young to have experienced the Thatcher years.  I was alive through them, but was only aware of them as much as I now know of the Hadron Collider: it exists, it’s all pretty complicated and people either think it will give loads of answers or destroy the world.

Fast forward a couple of decades and the same words are starting to spring up around the latest incarnation of Tory government.  Privitisation, attacks on local services, greedy bankers: all of these are things which my parents talk all about but which I am just preparing to form a solid opinion of.  And you know what: I’m on the fence.

David Cameron’s recent announcement that businesses and charities will now have the ability to compete to deliver the services which in recent years have been coming solely from the public sector has been criticised from many corners for potentially destroying those services and opening the door for the private sector to bleed us all dry.  There is no way that any private company will do anything that doesn’t make them money, even if that means providing a sub-standard service and charging ever-increasing costs to do so.  Or does it?

(more…)

Pay the going rate or see the talent going

September 21, 2010

My Grandad was a man of few words, but he did once tell me a story which has stuck with me, and which came to mind when I was watching last night’s Panorama piece on public sector pay.  If you’ll bear with me I’ll relay that story here and hopefully it’ll help illustrate a point.

He had a car back in the day when people could still repair them without the aid of a degree in computer programming, but when it broke down once he was flummoxed.  In the end he called out a repair man, who duly turned up with toolbox in hand and took a look under the bonnet.  Without a word he reached into his toolbox, pulled out a screwdriver and tightened a screw – within seconds the engine roared into life.

He then handed my Grandad the bill – £30 (and that was in the day when £30 was a lot of money).  Incensed, good old Grandad demanded to know why on earth he should pay that amount of money when all he’d seen was a single screw turned.  The answer came back that he was only being charged £1 to have the screw turned; he was being charged £29 for the mechanic knowing which screw to turn.

What on earth has this to do with public spending and Panorama I can almost hear you ask?

(more…)

The king is dead, long live the king

September 15, 2010

As we have discussed before, the government recently announced that the mighty Audit Commission would be no more.  It would cease to be, become bereft of life; it would be an ex-commission.

Or would it?

There are currently murmurs that Mr Pickles has been talking with the soon-to-disappear organisation to urge them to privatise themselves.  Apparently he would like them to set up as a business and then bid in an open market to secure the contracts that they once fulfilled. (more…)


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