Posted tagged ‘rant’


January 30, 2012

Keeping a Straight Face

‘Right Eric, I have had enough. When you and your acolytes have been purposefully dishonest about local government services I am fine to disagree. When you slash our budgets and then blame local government for closing services I can understand that this is politics. But when you have the bare-faced cheek and total lack of integrity to attack council officers for giving impartial advice that you disagree with I have simply had it.

Pickles, I’m calling you out!’

So started what was going to be an epic rant about Eric Pickles’ latest salvo in the war about the council tax grant.

For those who missed it Mr Pickles said the following:

‘Particularly to finance officers, there is a danger here of being involved in politics, in a way. There is a referendum [trigger], and to suddenly find yourself mysteriously arriving in that place between zero and where you have to face the electorate is a highly political decision.

To put it another way I’m happy to use the headline from the Public Finance magazine:

‘Don’t meddle with council tax freeze’, Pickles warns FDs

As you imagine what especially annoyed me about this is that Mr Pickles had just tried to drag officers into the debate about council tax. He should know better. Much like civil servants local government officers are, especially at the level of finance director, politically neutral.

However, I took a deep breath and decided that having a Monday post upset with Mr Pickles two weeks in a row was the beginning of an unhealthy obsession; and continuing that rant was going to be bad for my blood pressure.


A degree of essential skills?

September 27, 2011

Does this count if I argue with myself?

Recently we have offered our dear, valued readers a number of quite nuanced posts, tackling sensitive issues and asking some big questions. From debate on frankly ridiculous referendum guidance, to the problems facing all at Dale Farm, to equalities monitoring information, we’ve tackled it recently.

However, today is a return to a simple, straightforward old school rant, so if this is not your thing then look away now and come back tomorrow.

Todays rant takes us back to a pet topic of mine, and was brought up as I delved into a new shared drive area, which thanks to the vaguaries of ICT randomly became available to me. It covered recruitment, and laid out a dozen or more job descriptions which had been recruited to over the past few years. As I looked through them they covered a wide range of work areas, and required a huge range of skills and experience. But do you know what sat at the top of each person spec, regardless of the job or grade?

“Educated to degree standard”

Some added an “or equivalent” at the end of that short sentence, but regardless it invariably sat there in black and white, usually followed by the capital ‘E’ for essential.

What does this even mean?! It doesn’t appear to matter whether or not the degree was in any relevant area or subject, how well they did, what university they went to or when they did it, just that at some point in their life they studied and got that precious slip of paper. By inference, if you chose for whatever reason not to go to university then obviously you are not capable of fulfilling that role. (more…)

How to reply to Out of Office

November 4, 2010

From: Localgov
Sent: 3 November 2010 11:40
To: Localgovaswell
Subject: SMT staff cascade arrangements


Thought you’d want to see these, could be useful.



From: Localgovaswell
Sent: 3 November 2010 11:42
To: Localgov
Subject: Out of Office AutoReply: SMT staff cascade arrangements


I am currently out of the office until the afternoon of Friday November 5th. During this time I will be mainly in training sessions and meetings but will have my mobile on me for emergencies.

I will deal with all e-mails upon my return.


From: Localgov
Sent: 3 November 2010 11:45
To: Localgovaswell
Subject: Out of Office AutoReply: SMT staff cascade arrangements


Gosh darn part time worker, wasting my council tax by sitting in training sessions learning lord only knows what about some random and unuseful thing such as health and safety so you you can stop me walking the streets of my own free will or having a picnic on a nice grass verge for fear of a sprinkler going off and my clothes getting wet so I sue you and the rest of your forsaken kind for £1m plus emotional damages, it’s political correctness gone mad I tell you and before long I won’t be able to tuck my kids in to bed at night without being accused of beating them and seeing the Child Protection ninjas swooping in to arrest me and lock me in a local version of Guantanamo Bay, well I won’t have it, do you hear me, I’m going to stand up for my rights as a citizen of this proud country and find out exactly how to demand that I be treated as the upstanding human being that I am.

Is there a training course for that?


Digital Chinese Whispers

October 29, 2010

It’s a competitive world out there, and with recent events and the coming months it’s only going to get more so.  As with anyone brought up in the world of cricket and fair play, I would like to think it’ll be a level playing field for all concerned, with support being given by colleagues for applications and interview preparations, the best candidates getting the jobs and a no-hard-feelings mentality should one be pipped to the post.

I’m not that naïve however, and something happened today to highlight the lengths that some people will go to in order to gain an edge.

A colleague, who shall remain entirely nameless, left our team some time ago on a secondment to work in a related field in central government.  Once they had left they proceeded to insult local government every opportunity they got, and vowed never to return to the petty, bureaucratic nonsense and political point scoring that it entailed (their thoughts, not mine).

That, of course, was before the elections and subsequent reviews.  They since had their secondment finished and weren’t able to secure a suitable role in central government or anywhere else, so have had to accept that they are returning from whence they came.  However, they are no doubt going to continue applying elsewhere in the hope of leaving us behind once again to go on to bigger and better things in their eyes.

While they were with us, our team worked on a nationally recognised project and have been cited as one of the best around.  One colleague in particular did just about all of the work to set it up (and a damn fine job they did too), building it up from a concept and set of ideas to a fully realised set of projects and events, involving thousands of local people and worth millions of pounds.  Their blood, sweat and tears went into ensuring that people honestly came from around the world to see how we did things. (more…)