Do Not Enter


Here be dragons (or cranky post room guys)

My council building is huge and my desk very small and I tend to follow a fairly well worn path from the front door to my desk and back.

This means that there are plenty of places in the council where I have never been. It was therefore quite a shock when I found myself invited into our IT department this week. The IT department is usually locked and entrance is on a strict ‘invite only’ basis so I actually had a strange ripple of excitement as I was invited to enter and was led through the doors by the slightly pasty IT manager.

Not only is the IT department harder to get into than the local nightclub but the lights and baubles are way more exciting. Above a couple of the desks were big monitors with a variety of crazy graphs and lines that seemed to move almost of their own volition. There was a spattering of high powered laptops (I wondered where they went) and some people earnestly working on some programmes that I had never seen and looked very complicated.

And much like the nightclub at the end of the largest of the offices was the IT equivalent of the VIP area; the ‘server room’. Even with my privileged access I certainly wasn’t allowed in there (and rightly so; who knows what I might have ended up doing!).

As I wondered back to my desk (taking the same route as ever) it got me wondering what are the other secret rooms in the council? Below are my top five:

1) The Chief Executive’s Office

The big boos lady has her own plush office complex and whilst I have occasionally drifted past the office in search of someone or something I’ve never been into the inner sanctum of what I’m sure is some sort of combination of the bat cave and the Oval Office.

2) The CCTV room

Now, I must admit that I have been into the CCTV room once and it is the single coolest room in the whole council. To enter you need to sign into a book and be formally granted access. Inside there are more TV screens than you can ever imagine all recording an aspect of life in our sleepy, or in reality not so sleepy, LA area.

3) The Post room

I sort of imagine a cluttered room with a series of interconnected hamster wheels peddled by giant hamsters whilst our basement dwelling postal staff do their best throw letters into the slots of the hamster wheels, all accompanied by a disco ball and some loud 70s music. Which would be cool. In reality I know they deal with scanning, franking and mailing and have an uber-efficient, and slightly sterile, set up down there. Even so, hamsters would be cool right?

4) The Public Toilets

If the staff toilets are this bad I can only imagine (fear) what the public toilets are like. I’m certainly not going anywhere near them.

5) The roof

No-one is ever allowed on the roof so I have no idea what’s up there. My hope? A full sized turfed football pitch and an open Jacuzzi. I’m not going to check though; the air vents, chimneys and pipe-work would just disappoint.

Welovelocalgovernment is a blog written by UK local government officers. If you have a piece you’d like to submit or any comments you’d like to make please drop us a line at: welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com

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5 Comments on “Do Not Enter”

  1. DSO Says:

    6) The political groups’ rooms. Democratic Services will take refreshments to the door just to see what they look like inside, but cannot get past the bouncers. I’m sure there’s a bar in each. Maybe even disco lights. Why else would they call them political *parties*?

    7) The communications office. Bad press happens, the local gov reporter pays that room a visit, good press happens. What goes on in there?

    8) The cash office. Sure, it only looks like a tiny box fronted by extra secure glass where members of the public can speak to an officer through an intercom system, but I’ll bet there’s a secret passageway behind the filing cabinet leading down into some kind of Gringots-like bank vault.

    9) The Council Chamber at night time. Very few people go there late, but if you get stuck in there and someone turns off the lights without checking first to see if the place is empty, it isn’t a big stretch of the imagination to hear the ghosts of former councillors (and some current ones) still fighting the battles of long ago.

    10) The basement. Like the roof, but scary. Probably filled with rare spiders, so if you want a visit, speak to your ecology officer who probably has to go down there to feed them.

  2. LG Worker Says:

    I’ve worked with an Officer who has worked in quiet a few of the older Town Halls in our capital city. He can tell you about secret stairs, long lost rooms (so a layout of a new room has led to walls being put were walls were not before), stairs that lead into wall and were the bar was. Though I once wondered into the basement of a Town Hall, and I swear it was set up like a bomb shelter (flickering lights and all. The building was built just before WW2). While the roof was where senior people went for a smoke, though they weren’t allowed to smoke on Council grounds after that law (though who was going to look up?).

  3. Andrew Says:

    In one Council I worked for the nuclear bomb shelter was used as a place to put the enveloping machine for big mailings. It was bad enough being down there just for that reason, but to think of being stuck down there if the Bomb had dropped ……

  4. Tony H Says:

    Our IT work area is open plan like the rest of our building, but the server room has to be locked as it’s an audit requirement (and I think the ICO would expect due diligence too!)

    PS our CEO sits at a hotdesk in with the rest of the staff.


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