Posted tagged ‘paygrade’

When hard work doesn’t pay

February 9, 2011

Is this Eric's dream?

At We Love Local Government, we like staff who work hard.  Whether it’s at the top of the ladder or down the bottom doesn’t matter; it’s about taking pride in your job and doing a job you would be proud to put your name to.  Schemes like the Guardian’s ‘Local Government Heroes‘ is right up our street.  We also aren’t totally against these people being rewarded for their efforts.  More creative ways of this recently highlighted include getting celebrities along to award events, but a simpler marker for rewarding hard workers is to pay them a bit more money.

We’re not talking millions here, and occasionally thanks to the Dilbert Principle occasionally someone gets paid more than they’re worth, but generally if someone works hard and takes on a job with a lot of responsibility they get a few more pennies in their bank account at the end of the month.

Not for the first time, nor for the last, this is where we appear to disagree with the great Eric Pickles.

You see, Eric doesn’t seem to like the fact that hard working managers (and yes, there are such things) get paid well for their work; no, Eric doesn’t like this at all. In fact, Eric likes this so little that he seems to want to do all he can to vilify these people.  Whether it’s calling for them all to be named-and-shamed, constantly berating them for doing non-jobs, simply calling for them to be cut altogether or hiring hitmen to pick them off one at a time*, Eric wants to rid the world of the curse that is above averagely paid workers.

It’s strange for a number of reasons, not least being the fact that he is above averagely paid himself.  What is it that makes you prey to attack when you reach a certain level?  What changes about you as a person when you reach the magical figure of £58k?

As an experiment, think about a primary school teacher you know (odds are you do, otherwise think Joanna Lumley in a younger body); they are great, caring, hard working and well respected by all around them for the impact they have on lives. (more…)

If a job’s worth doing, do it properly

January 6, 2011

Let's see some proper ideas for a change

I noticed this article recently, which discusses the fact that most Chief Execs won’t take a pay cut as demanded by DCLG.  I can imagine Eric Pickles’ rage and fury that an edict he has issued has been summarily ignored by those in the field.

To be honest, and I’m not going to make friends here, I can see the Chief Execs points.  The cutting of their salary by 5% is hardly going to make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things, and is nothing more than a token gesture of solidarity.  In fact it’s not even a very good gesture – if I saw my own chief exec taking a 5% cut I’d still be aware that their remaining 95% was ample to support their lifestyles.

This is typical of the small-mindedness and headline grabbing attention that is getting local government nowhere.  People aren’t worried about whether their chief execs get paid £142,500 or £150,000, they are worried about whether or not four out of five of their team will be made redundant within a few months.

This spending review, and the restructures that go with it, are a chance for us to really look at what services local government should actually really be providing, and to what standards.  We should be looking at the things people need rather than the things people want, or even the things we want to deliver because either they sound good or because we have always provided them in the past.  If a service is needed – and I mean really needed, not just desired – then we should be keeping it and delivering it to at least acceptable if not good standards.  If not, then let’s look at other ways of providing it or simply letting it go.

Instead, from my own experience we are doing none of this.  We are looking at the people in our teams, picking those that we like or those projects which have received a positive response from the media or our bosses and also looking at power bases.  Senior managers are not doing anything which will jeopardise their own status or job security (as demonstrated by Camden in my opinion), and in fact are doing all they can to be the last ones standing.

If we keep focussing on easy targets, like how much a single member of staff is getting paid, we are missing whatever chance we had of making something positive out of this awful financial situation.  Let’s stop looking at a single twig and look at the whole forest.

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.