Posted tagged ‘non job’

Why working as a council PR means taking a vow of silence

September 6, 2011

Not quite this glamarous???

As regular readers of our blog will know, we love a guest post; especially one written by someone who works in a part of local government we have never worked in. Today is one of those days with a post from a self-described “local government PR” who argues that leaving the private sector and joining local government also means giving up your right to have any opinions at all. If you would like to submit a guest post please drop us a line at welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com but not before you’ve read this:

No one told me that when I got a job in local government PR, I was renouncing my right to a voice as a resident.

Working in PR in the private sector can have huge advantages. You get to meet celebrities, go along to glamorous events and most importantly you get freebies. Free stuff, free tickets, free nights out, you even get a budget to wine and dine your favourite reporters.

But local government  PR isn’t like that. Well not my experience of it anyway. It’s a hard slog with not a freebie in sight (it’s tax payers’ money after all). It’s a daily grind of non-stop press enquiries, press releases and diplomacy. Talking people into things and talking them out of them, but watching every word that you say.

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Non jobs – What exactly are they?

April 5, 2011

Bob Neill - Non job basher in chief

Yesterday, a guest poster described in quite some detail what it was like to be the occupant of what Eric Pickles would describe as a ‘non-job’. It was a moving piece and one which I felt deserved some further research.

Although Mr Pickles and his colleagues have made relatively little effort to explain precisely what a non-job actually is (we do know that they’re not keen on ‘twitter tsars’) there have been rumblings in newspapers and on the internet.

Figures utilised by Bob Neill during a recent attack suggest that of the 2,907,000 people employed by local authorities in Britain 741,702 of them are not in traditional “front- line” jobs such as (according to the Telegraph) “those in education, social services, recreation, libraries, planning, environmental health, culture, heritage or trading standards.”

This is a lot of non-jobs. But maybe not that many; 741,702 staff is 25% of the total number. Out of this 25% we need to find all of the back office functions that are crucial to the running of any organisation, even a council. Within this we’re talking about legal, HR, finance, payroll, policy, research, communications (but only a small team?!) etc; these jobs could be described as the classic back office function.

Customer services, council tax collection and benefit calculation are probably easy to add to this list but I was finding it hard to believe that these jobs made up 25% of any council or that anyone in Government would really be upset by these staff being employed by our local councils.

So what is left? With my mind unable to get a better grip of where the rest of these ‘non-jobs’ came from I took a deep breath and typed ‘local government non job’ into Google.

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My confession: I work in local government and I have a non-job

April 4, 2011

We hope our author doesn't do one of these (it's from the Mail in case you couldn't guess)

Here at welovelocalgovernment we do like to publish guest posts sent in by our readers. Today’s piece addresses the issue of non-jobs and has been anonymised by the WLLG editors.

My name is xxxxxx and I have a non-job.

There, I’ve said it. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I have never worked directly with a member of the public. I have not cleaned streets, looked after disabled adults, planted flowers, been a lollipop lady, cleaned a sewer or even planned a new traffic scheme. Looking back on my career I cannot point to one example where my work ‘directly’ benefitted a member of the public enough that they would be able to say; ‘that xxxxxx, she did  a really good job for me today’.

What is more; I get paid well for my non-job. I’m not on a Prime Ministerial salary but I make more than the national average and certainly more than some of the care workers, caretakers and street sweepers the public really value.

But how did it come to this?

I went to a good university, got myself one of those degree things and then, I guess because of my sense of public duty or something, headed off for into a public sector job. I guess I should look back on this with a sense of regret but little did I know at the time that my idealism was mis-placed and that I was applying for a non-job. What’s more I didn’t realise I had set myself on a long-term path to lifetime non-jobness.

But I progressed well. I was good at my non-job; sometimes I even excelled. This opened doors for me and before I knew it there were non-job promotions available.

So now I find myself at a cross roads. I’m a non-job lifer and I’m good at what I do. The public might not see me or care whether I exist or not but my colleagues seem to value my work. I’m also fairly certain that if my job did not exist then someone would have to invent it or front line staff would be doing it in their ‘spare’ time.

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