Posted tagged ‘redundancy’

New Year, New Predictions

January 3, 2012

But will we even remember to turn the months over?

Happy New Year!

2011 was a pretty momentous year for those of us working in the public sector with cuts, strikes, riots, redundancies, rising demand for our services and a surrounding narrative that pitted those who work in the public services against those who use those services.

For those of us working in local government this led to panic, defensiveness, stress, pressure, innovation, decisiveness and a lot of hard work. And despite everything I really believe we enter 2012 in a stronger position than we entered 2011.

This time round we know what the cuts will be, most of us are well versed in the attitudes of the coalition government and the vast majority of councils have set themselves a realistic plan for meeting the budget pressures placed upon us.

So with that in mind, what do we think will be the five top story lines facing local government in 2012?

1)      The cuts

As I’ve mentioned before many authorities took the easy way out for their cuts in 2011/12. A few bits of low hanging fruit here, some small marginal redundancies there, a little bit of money from reserves and a few budgetary adjustments and most of us got through relatively unscathed. The plans for 2012/13 are severe in contrast. The low hanging fruit has gone and really tough decisions need to be made. Funnily enough, it’s not the decision making I’m worried about but the deliverability of these cuts. Making staff redundant is one thing but cuts to social care, education provision, housing or any other service that is demand led are very hard to accurately predict, especially as the budgetary pressures elsewhere in the economy come home to roost. The big question for local government is ‘are we able to deliver the budget cuts we promised in 2012.’ It’s a mighty big ask and a challenge for us all.

2)      Housing

(more…)

Public Sector Pain

December 19, 2011

Public Sector perception or Daily Mail parody?

A last guest post before Christmas and this one sums up how many public sector workers are feeling at the moment.

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves:

For the last few months I, like many others, have had to put up with abuse from the public and press about cuts to council services. I work in local government, in the corporate centre, and it’s my job to keep people informed.

The whole world it seems has an issue with people in the public sector. The government think we could do things better, with a lot less money. The private sector thinks we’re overpaid, over-resourced and over-pensioned. And we all know what the Daily Mail thinks.

Most of the abuse isn’t personal and I don’t take it personally. But people say it without giving any thought to my situation, any hint of empathy or interest in whether or not I (or thousands of others) might be directly affected.

Take the cuts debate. Colleagues recently received a tirade of personal abuse for attending an awards ceremony. How can councils make cuts to services and then send officers off to fancy awards dinners? The answer is that they don’t.

1. It wasn’t fancy, it was down the road. 2. The council didn’t (and wouldn’t) pay, so they paid for themselves.

So we got to do a difficult job, working very long hours, to deliver some tough service changes at the behest of the democratically elected representatives we serve. Hours for which we don’t get paid or even get the time back (this is the public sector after all).

(more…)

That was the local government week that was

December 2, 2011

What we have been reading

And what a week it’s been.  Up and down the country, local government has been at the centre of the news over the past seven days, with column inches galore debating its merits and the work it does, all through the lens of the ongoing debate over the pension scheme negotiations.  Here are our pick of the blogs which look at things from some rather interesting angles, as well as a few blogs which mention less polarising issues.

We’ll start off with a post from Citizen R on her I Was A Public Sector Worker blog, posted on the day of the strike.  It neatly sets out why one person supported the strikes, even though they were no longer part of the public sector, showing how deeply many feel about the issues.

I’ve mentioned before that when I went into the public sector it wasn’t for the pensions or the perks or even the holidays. I wanted to be a teacher and make a difference in children’s lives. I felt I could best do this in the state sector.  As a new teacher of 22 I didn’t care about a pension because it felt like retirement was a million years away (it still is now that the age of retirement is getting higher and higher) and took a big chunk of my wage each month that might be better spent on having fun.

But now after a whole career spent in the public sector I’ve been left high and dry. I don’t pay into a government pension any more because that jo has gone and I have no job to strike from today. But the public sector is where my heart lies so I’m with everyone who strikes today. Good luck and maybe just maybe the government will listen for once.

It’s with mixed feelings of joy and disbelief that we unfortunately get to read a new post from the simply superb Redundant Public Servant (if you don’t know why we rate him so highly then you’ve never read his blog – so do it now!).  Joy because we loved reading his brilliantly crafted and bewilderingly regular posts detailing his own battles around his impending redundancy, disbelief because it looks like he may be going through it all again.  In this guest piece for Patrick Butler’s Cuts Blog he points out some of the incredible numbers being thrown around. (more…)

How to survive the local gov plane crash

September 2, 2011

Place your head between your legs and kiss whatever you find goodbyeLast week I saw a link to what looked to be a very interesting article on a community of practice I’m part of. It was titled ‘How to survive a plane crash’, and showed up as having several replies already.

Wow, I thought, this could be interesting. Obviously they must be using a plane crash as a metaphor for local government, and its crash as the financial challenges councils are facing up and down the country. This must be a guide to how to survive your career in a situation where the plane looks like it’s going down in flames and might crash and burn any day now.

So I clicked on the link and signed in to the CoP, navigating directly to this potential treasure trove of advice and guidance and expecting a certain degree of enlightenment.

Only to find a picture of a plane, and advice on where to sit in case it crashes.

I may have been expecting too much, but the advice wasn’t even particularly good, apparently just sit at the back. However, it’s inspired me to produce our very own WLLG guide to how to survive the local government plane crash.

Step 1: Identify your exits (more…)

And now, the end is near…

August 19, 2011

Pack your bags and stuff that memory stickUnlike our forebears, who joined local government in the knowledge that they would probably not leave until they were handed their golden carriage clock and a retirement card, those of us around today have to accept a slightly different situation. Our jobs are slightly more transient, with individuals more likely to move about within and between organisations far more frequently.

This is rarely a simple or straightforward task, and one which few if any training courses can prepare you for. So, as it’s Friday, we thought we would present the We Love Local Government guide to things to do when you leave your job. Of course, additional suggestions are always welcomed in the comments or on Twitter (@welovelocalgov by the way).

1. Raid the shared drive

Over the course of our jobs we write a lot of stuff that’s useless. Reports (with at least a dozen draft versions), photos from events, spreadsheets and random notes fill shared drives all over the country; however, hidden amongst all of this place specific information are some real gems. (more…)

Job Evaluation

June 22, 2011

Jokes about Reindeers are not as funny in June

It’s a guest post day on WLLG. Today’s poster tackles an area of local government that few dare to tread but is becoming increasingly important; the job evaluation process. If you have a post you’d like to add to the blog please drop us a line at welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com but not before you’ve read this excellent post:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that equal pay is a good thing. But pay cuts in the name of equal pay aren’t readily accepted.

Enter the quandary of Job Evaluation.

The 2004 Local Government pay agreement obliged all councils to carry out JE. Roles are assessed and graded on factors including knowledge, mental skills, physical/mental/emotional demands and working conditions.

Some roles stay on existing spinal column points; some increase and some – inevitably –go down. Same is fine, up welcome, but a reduction in scale points, particularly for the low-paid and those at the top of their scale, can cause serious upset.

The mantra of JE is that roles are evaluated, not people. This is a hard fact for those potentially facing a drop in pay, with related effects on salary progression and pensions. While pay protection is usually offered, ranging from months to years, an adverse JE outcome can be a serious blow to individuals’ finances and wellbeing.

(more…)

Local Government zombies

June 13, 2011

At least he's dressed appropriately

I promise you that I wrote this piece before I got sight of this wonderful BBC Story. Nonetheless, don’t let that stop you enjoying both the BBC story about a bizarre FOI request and the below, slightly more serious, discussion of ‘undead’ staff.

It is one of the peculiar cruelties of the public sector that once staff have been notified of their imminent departure from their jobs they are then asked to stay on and continue working for three months until their notice has expired.

These people become the local government zombies; they are ‘dead’ and yet they are still here, walking around; ‘undead’.

The HR people in my authority would defend this state of affairs and claim that they are helpgin the zombies. The three months of notice give the staff affected a chance to get their life in order and to find alternative employment. What’s more we have a duty to these staff to offer them a new job through the council’s redeployment scheme. All good arguments that have a certain logic about them.

However, scratch beneath the surface and life for the local government zombie is not much fun at all and here’s why:

1)    In order to receive your redundancy pay you are encouraged to apply for ‘appropriate’ roles through the redeployment pool. This can mean an endless cycle of job applications and supposedly ‘shortened’ job application forms. Obviously, if you get a job through this process it is great but I know people who’s confidence has been shot by applying for endless jobs that they are unqualified for and then not getting any of them. (more…)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 238 other followers