Learning lessons… are we?


Well, maybe just a little disillusioned!

Let us not kid ourselves; there is a lot of anger out there. Some of it is directed at the Government and those who criticise Local Government no matter what we do. However, some of the anger is actually about Local Government; we do get e-mails or tweets telling us to ‘get a real job’ or to stop moaning as all we are is over-priced pen pushers. The following piece expresses some of this anger but does so without resorting to insults. It is also interesting as the author is a self-described Local Government consultant. The piece is reprinted below:

Having jumped (before the rest of the population) into contracting earlier last year, I have had the privilege to work in three local authorities over the last 18 months.
It amazes me the bounteous delights of commonality between them. I am reminded about the staff away days, the team training sessions, but most of all Directors sharing best practice at highly priced corporate events where a glass of orange juice is likely to set the organisers back by £5.60.
In the area of cuts, restructure and the glittery world of transformation, I am amazed at the lack of learning seeming to take place throughout these highly paid and, at times, overpriced workers.
Some areas of unity:

  1. It still takes me 20 minutes to get through to IT, wasting an average £16,000 per year on employee’s time (rough estimate). A call back might take a week.
  2. People print enough paper to get through a small rainforest each week for meetings
  3. Bad people management means that those least able to do their jobs end up being promoted
  4. Even when buying milk, the level of empire building and ‘ownership’ is surprising.
  5. Meetings that should last 15 minutes take up to an hour, if not more
  6. HR is consistently under resourced and not supported – leaving decisions unmade and staff continuously unmotivated
  7. Contractors for local authorities get away with bloody financial murder (the stationary suppliers/ cleaners/ IT systems areas) (And maybe the consultant writing this piece – ed)
  8. People put coppers in people’s leaving cards/ gifts as their donation

Is that what all offices are like? And if so will it change now that the age of austerity is kicking in?

Answers on a postcard please!
Agree or disagree? Please feel free to write below or drop us an e-mail at welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com
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8 Comments on “Learning lessons… are we?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by WeLoveLocalGov, PublicSectorBloggers. PublicSectorBloggers said: Learning lessons… are we?:   Well, maybe just a little disillusioned! Let us not kid ourselves; there is a lot o… http://bit.ly/eclcmT […]

  2. benlowndes Says:

    I’d be interested to see the original piece – is it online anywhere?

  3. Loulouk Says:

    Where I work:
    1. IT on the same IVR system as the customer service centre. I get answered in 4 rings. I email if it’s not urgent, someone gets back to me within 4 hours. It’s better service than I get from BT, frankly.
    2. Our printer defaults to double sided. There’s a pot next to the printer for people who’ve printed someone and not claimed it to ‘donate’ in ;o)
    3. I’m really not qualified to comment on all local gov but some of the absolute best managers I’ve ever known have all been where I currently work. Not saying all like that. But there are some real shining stars.
    4. Wow. We have problems getting anyone take ownership of the milk buying.
    5. One of our Directors has taken to booking 30 min slots by default instead of 1 hr. It’s working well.
    6. Ours is outsourced.
    7. Definitely not qualified to comment.
    8. Pound coins and notes here.

    Different worlds. I’m glad I’m not in yours, it sounds miserable. Why, exactly, are you doing your job again? Ah yes, see point 7.

  4. citizenr Says:

    My gaff:

    1) yep, it takes ages to get through to IT (‘you are being held in a queue. You are seventeenth in the queue.’)Oh and they don’t start until 10am.
    2)And it doesn’t all have to be in colour does it?
    3)See the directors and their huge salaries for reference.
    4)Each team pays into a coffee club every month and buys their own. Free tea and coffee? I wish!
    5)I’ve noticed that recently, meetings are getting shorter and more focused. Hoorah!
    6) I suspect this is true.
    7) Don’t know about this one. I suspect I’m too lowly to be involved!
    8) Stingy! we always put in a fiver each.

  5. mymerton Says:

    What a find this page is. This all reminds me why I recently stopped being involved with local government. Two decades of anger was enough. I have started to recently feel able to prevent anger disease/addicition. No longer do I think like a responsible and active citizen within the ‘big society’. There is no local citizenship because that is how central government divides in order to rule and thinks in less than 4 year cycles with no long term vision. You will notice that my Tweets are less angry and slowed down somewhat. Difficult to find nice things about my Merton Council today. The real effects of Miserable Monday have yet to be felt so lets be positive or say nothing at all. That is the British way.

  6. […] • This interesting guest post on the We Love Local Government blog from a local government consultant: […]

  7. […] Christmas we published a slightly angry post from a local government consultant. It generated quite a lot of interest and comment and so when […]

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