Archive for November 26, 2009

From other lands

November 26, 2009

I spent a very pleasant evening last night with a friend of mine from another local authority.

My friend is a planner and if her chat is anything to go by a very good one at that. Her planning section is split into three teams; each with a roughly equal workload. However, as luck with have it sector 3 (as we shall call it) has three talented and hardworking planners whilst the other areas don’t, as rumour would have it, quite live up to the same standard.

In many organisations this would mean promotions for the good and questioning of the weak. In this particular local authority it led to my friend being asked into her manager’s office. She was asked in that meeting if she could slow down a little as the senior manager was thinking of removing a member of staff from the sector 3 team due to the fact they were exceeding their targets and the other teams were struggling. The logic being; ‘you’re doing well, you don’t need so many staff’.

This leaves my friend with quite a quandary… To keep working hard, be moved and leave a team already working at capacity fully stretched or stay slow down a little and continue to deliver the standard of service we all know is important to the community.

Thankfully, my friend is a smart cookie and has applied for a one day a week secondment… That should slow her down by 20%, meet her manager’s needs and ensure she’s doing something useful with her time elsewhere in the council.

The fact that the local authority is operating these service improvement secondments suggests that some of their management is in the 21st century… Just maybe not the planning team!

Until next time…