Archive for March 14, 2011

Is 50 the new 60?

March 14, 2011

You've got the key: now what?

Local councils are currently shedding jobs at a rate unheard of in the last twenty years or so. This has a number of unintended consequences.

Not least of which is illustrated by an e-mail I received last week.

Dear team,

As part of the current restructure today I need to announce that xxx will be retiring as the head of xxx. I am sure you will want to join with me in wishing him well and congratulating him on his 20/30/35 years service to local government and in particular xxx council.

A replacement will be found either internally, as part of the restructure or externally.

This was the third e-mail of this type that I have received this month and doubtless there will be more to come. All of those who are leaving are heads of service with lots of experience of local government. All are over 50 but, I think, well before standard retirement age (I am way too polite to ask them how old they actually are). Certainly, there was no hint of them preparing for retirement in advance of the restructure taking place.

So why does this matter?

I’m pretty sure there are voices within the council who are seeing this change as the clearing out of space for younger, and dare I say, more dynamic managers to take over. However, there are a number of concerns I have about this sudden rush to clear out the over 50s.