Posted tagged ‘jobsworth’

The personality of Local Government

May 27, 2011

Are you a pitbull or a know-it-all?Some time ago we wrote a piece for the Guardian which looked at some of the different types of Councillor personalities we have collectively encountered over the years.  Some are more difficult to deal with than others, some are arguably more effective than others, but all are around in various mixtures and quantities.

At WLLG we always try to offer a balanced opinion on things (even agreeing with E-Pick on the odd occasion), so it’s about time we dealt with another side of the local government coin; the officers.

So here we bring you some of the personality types we know who work with and around us each and every day.  And if there’s one on this list that you can’t place in your own organisation, like a target around a poker table odds are that it’s you.

The Pitbull

Usually found in more senior roles, The Pitbull has a reputation far surpassing most others.  Willing to fight almost any fight, they appear to take pleasure in actively opposing others and revel in conflict situations.  They tend to not beat around the bush, instead going straight for the throat and ripping the life out of whatever project or minion who has had the misfortune of getting in their way.

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It’s above my head, that

September 29, 2010

It’s above my head, that

Well above my pay grade

More trouble than it’s worth

That’s not in the job description

The above are amongst my favourite sayings in local government. Many times I have asked a fellow member of staff for some help and been met with one of the above.

The workings of local government are constantly slowed by the jobsworths amongst us. An example from this morning and many others from the past exemplify the problem:

As your boss is away could you quickly provide me with the finance information for your department?

It’s above my head, that

I just need someone from comms to sign off this press release/e-mail so I can get moving with this

Well above my pay grade

I know this is short notice but is there anyway you could run the printing press after 4:30 this afternoon so we can get the reports done before the end of the day

More trouble than it’s worth

Any chance of assisting me in fighting the gang of ninjas who are attacking the office?

That’s definitely not in the job description

It’s not just that people don’t want to take responsibility; there is a culture of people being both slavish to their job description and scared to go further. Plus, our managers are at fault too; over-reaching from a keen member of staff can lead to upset senior managers and a stern telling off.

If the Big Society is truly about empowerment then I can think of a group of people who could really benefit: junior local government staff.