Learning lessons… are we?
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:
- 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.
- People print enough paper to get through a small rainforest each week for meetings
- Bad people management means that those least able to do their jobs end up being promoted
- Even when buying milk, the level of empire building and ‘ownership’ is surprising.
- Meetings that should last 15 minutes take up to an hour, if not more
- HR is consistently under resourced and not supported – leaving decisions unmade and staff continuously unmotivated
- 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)
- 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!
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