It’s end of term time.
For those of you who also follow our “ever excellent” (and modest) Twitter account – @welovelocalgov by the way – you’ll know that recently we linked to an article which gave a bit of a review of Eric Pickles over the last year. It’s well worth a read, but we felt it didn’t sound quite enough like a school report to us.
So, to kick this week off we’ve sat down with our marking hats on and written our very own school report for Mr. Pickles; as he is currently the man in charge of all things local government we felt it would be fair for us to cast an eye over the last twelve moths or so. We hope it will provide a platform for future achievements.
Eric has demonstrated a basic grasp of mathematical systems, although he is yet to truly understand some of the subtleties of numbers. His constant assertion that fewer staff = more work is one which is proving thought to break. His work around deringfencing grants has allowed significant figures to be brought into his equations; however Eric must spend a significant amount of his efforts developing these equation related skills. His area based grant formula is simply unintelligible and needs significant work. C-
Eric has shown a strong desire to become more involved with the written word, principally through his efforts with regards to the Code of Conduct which aims to limit the efforts local authorities make to communicate effectively with their residents. That being said, whilst his intentions are clear his ability to translate this into appropriate action is in need of more consideration. C
This is an area which will need significant improvement next term if Eric is to make a success of his position. His pointed unwillingness to engage appropriately with local authorities and his unrelenting and unwarranted attacks on councils across the country has had disastrous results, which have even bled over into his dealings with other colleagues. I would not be surprised to see Eric sitting in detention next term if sustained effort is not applied to this topic. F
Eric has showed a real flare for this subject and has taken particular interest in how the natural geography does not need to define the exact nature of a service. He has shown particular enthusiasm for maps, and has churned them out at a quite prolific rate. However, his sense of distances and the practicalities of subverting this natural geography has sometimes got him into trouble. Even so, a good B.
Eric has used his historical understanding of the 1980s and 1990s to influence his current working. However, sometimes he can get caught in the past and his constant criticism of local government and the way it works as well as his criticism of ‘left’ councils seems to suggest that he needs to remember that history informs the present rather than is the present. C
Government and Politics
Eric does not come across as the typical Conservative politician but he is a natural. His criticism of local government has seemed cynical but has set him up to make later changes. By caving early and providing George Osbourne his savings at the earliest stage he managed to raise his stock in the Conservative party. His message management has been good; although his performance has been helped by the woeful opposition he has faced. Eric has a bright future. A+
Eric doesn’t have a firm grasp of business cases and the way these are put together. His constant entreaties that councils should just share back office functions and save money instantly does not grasp the time, effort and capital needed to set these up. Nonetheless, his efforts to use local authorities to stimulate local economies shows that his thoughts are developing; even if these were prompted by his friends Nick and Vince. B-
Eric doesn’t excel in this subject. F