Posted tagged ‘senior management’

How to stifle creativity in local government

March 11, 2011

Change is bad

As I have slowly climbed the corporate ladder I’ve gradually been introduced to more and more of the secret ways of local government.  When I initially joined at the bottom of the hierarchical ladder I thought it was all simple; everyone kept their heads down, got on with their jobs and it all came together beautifully.  I also thought that all strategic plans and policies were obvious, well thought out, planned and interlinked.

It’s only as I climb each rung do I realise that less and less is set in stone and that officers at every level are the same: doing the best they can, but often forced into making do with what they can get together.  And as I climb I get access to a few things; the senior toilet facilities (attendants, a range of bathroom products and silky loo roll), my own desk and training specifically designed for senior managers; training they don’t want you to know about, but which I’m going to blow the whistle on here.

So here’s a We Love Local Government EXCLUSIVE – the training notes for the training module entitled “How to stifle creativity” *


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.