Posted tagged ‘trade unions’

The (not so) hidden costs of squeezing our suppliers

December 5, 2011

Make the pips squeak

“Procurement savings”

“Efficient maximisation of market opportunities”

“Outsource and save”

“Hard-nosed negotiations”

Regardless of how you describe it local government is looking at any possible way of saving money it can and with over 50% of many councils budgets coming from ‘goods and services’ it makes sense to try and ‘squeeze’ our suppliers as much as we can. Indeed, in my local authority the trade unions have taken their mantra to be that no job cuts or pay cuts should be implemented until management have demonstrated that they have hit our suppliers as hard as is possible.

The Government have also been in on the act with pronouncements covering ‘procurement’ savings that could save savings of £450 per household.

So far so sensible. If we can save money by squeezing the private (and third) sector to deliver our services more efficiently then why shouldn’t we? Indeed, one could argue that to not do so is severely irresponsible.

However, as so often with pronouncements from Eric Pickles and my local Trade Union the actual detail is a lot more complex than either would let on.

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Criticism

July 22, 2011

To encourage criticism; write daily and leave the comments section open

This blog recently passed 70,000 hits which, due to the fact we are humans mistakenly wired to celebrate round numbers, we considered very exciting.

When we started to blog we did so in part because there wasn’t much out there that looked at local government from a front-line point of view. We even entitled it ‘a sideways look at the world of local government’ which we considered an appropriate summary of our intentions.

However, as time has gone on we’ve also tried to spark a bit of a debate and comment on local government issues in a way that are a bit different to the prevailing wisdom. As individual authors we never write anything we don’t believe but increasingly we don’t shy away from writing articles that we think might end up with us being criticised, or annoy our fellow bloggers, and as our readership increases we find that even those we thought were uncontroversial lead to a certain amount of comment.

Today our post is dedicated to these criticisms and comments. We love the feedback and have so much time for people who make the effort to write the intelligent and insightful responses they do. Sometimes we continue to disagree but sometimes we are convinced that we were wrong to start with.

So here are some people who deserve some kudos for their responses:

Read all about it

Just last week we argued that the bureaucracy in Local Government should maybe be granted some more credit due to the fact it allowed some accountability and prevented the sort of madness that has engulfed the News of the World

Responding, Mark Stanley pointed out that perhaps we were granting a bit too much credit where some wasn’t due:

Er… people in glass houses are picking up rocks by the sound of things.

I really like this blog, it offers great insight and is often right on the money. I think this is the first post I have felt really at odds with.

One significant issue with the practice of getting 30 signatures before a project is approved is that *nobody* assumes ownership of the blame because there are 30 fingers pointing at someone else.

Anyway, everybody knows it was IT’s fault!

Yes the NoW has taken a kicking, much like the Met police, MPs, fat cat council execs, BBC bosses, etc… Maybe it stuck around so long it became public sector?!

A fair point well made

Trade Unions

Also last week we were put up a post expressing our disappointment with the performance of local government trade unions and basically asking the question: If Trade Unions are the answer I’m not sure what the question is?

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If Trade Unions are the answer I’m not sure what the question is…

July 11, 2011

And the countdown conundrum is...

Any post which attempts to commence a discussion of Trade Unions is bound to be declared as politically motivated. Please accept that this is a genuine attempt to discuss the issue and that I’m not a closet Tory. Also, please accept that this represents one bloggers view and not the view of the whole blog team.

Over the past 12-18 months I have become increasingly frustrated with the trades union in the Local Government sector. As far as I can tell they have failed in both the representative and the strategic elements of their role and have failed to provide the leadership I believe is required at this time.

I recognise that many of the problems they face may not be their fault and will discuss this in a moment but so far these are my main complaints.

Many councils are currently in the process of carrying out consultation with the trades union over changes to their staffs Ts and Cs. In just one example of this it has led to all staff in Shropshire being dismissed with the intention of re-employing them on new contracts. Many senior managers, being accustomed to working directly with trade unions rather than ‘staff’ have therefore negotiated direct with the trade unions and then announced the outcomes of these negotiations post fact.

This doesn’t work.

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