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Frank Hovis

76,000 Council Job Losses over the last five years

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I have been saying this anecdotally from my own experience of working at a council but this is the first time somebody has gone through and added up all the figures.

The spin on the news by the journo is fairly bizzare, well it is the Huffington Post, but the numbers do underline what I have been saying about conucils no longer being the cushy skive that they were.

Quote

 

Council workers have spoken out over the “brutal revolving door” of redundancies at town halls that are stripping local government of workers and profoundly impacting on services.

Mass job cuts at councils have gone largely unnoticed by the public over the last decade. Yet as austerity has driven sweeping cuts, cash-strapped local authorities have massively downsized their workforces while trying to protect frontline services in the face of deep cuts to budgets.

New research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, in partnership with HuffPost UK, has found councils in England have made 75,891 jobs redundant in the last five years. These thousands of permanent, often well-paid jobs have also been lost to the local economies.

In a further sting in the tail for communities, the Bureau and HuffPost UK’s Sold From Under You investigation has also revealed:

- 64 councils in England have used cash from selling public property to pay for restructures since rules were relaxed to allow this in April 2016

- 39 of these councils have used a total of £115 million to pay to make jobs redundant

- Over the three years since the rules changed, redundancies at councils making use of the new spending powers were higher.

It comes as a double blow for communities, as the Bureau’s data shows councils have sold off £9.1billion of public land and spaces since 2014.

Former town hall workers have said job losses should not be funded through cash raised by selling public property.

“It’s shocking that they’re spending money that they’ve made from selling assets on redundancies,” said an ex-Surrey County Council worker, who was made redundant in 2017.

“You’re paying someone not to work for you any longer who’s likely to have been there a long time, has skills built up over several years, so it’s pretty shocking.

“That money could have been invested in much better ways and obviously paid the wages for people for probably a good few years.”

While councils’ workforces might not have been very visible to the public, the services they provided in many cases were. Council chiefs argue in the face of impossibly tough decisions to balance budgets, frontline services – such as rubbish collections, children’s social workers, or adult social care – must be protected.

 

 

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/council-worker-redundancies-sold-from-under-you_uk_5c7577abe4b0bf1662043271?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvLnVrLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAABLlQ4XQtpetatij8HJaMmaqPVKiuDJat6jQw7uZtW4D6gdW1q5M9DRWDEEMG_ZGRcD1P-_aOs5jxNFRO8ArhCSPOyrIeHi3r1Cm4gCo_XVx2wUiEaydhSzhx889jecMAuwzZkIGw85uFsWrEHc_kzrGIaXYDedbe_Yk1q0PL3jp

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Just now, TheBlueCat said:

Well that's a start. Maybe the government are doing at least one right right after all?

I think it may have gone too far with councils tbh but Osborne's basic strategy of removing bloat in public bodies by chopping funding did work, slashing the central grant for councils and cutting council / housing association rents (and hence Housing Benefit), and I only wish he had extended that to the money pit NHS which remains as bloated and inefficient as ever.

There has got to be a concern about local government pensions (funded by local LGPS funds though I have heard talk of consolidating them) given how few are now paying into them compared to the number of recipients.  A few more years of inflation outstripping bond yields and it will hit crisis point and they'll have little option but to cut payouts IMHO.

 

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And yet I've seen no reduction in the service they offer me.

Well, other than the stuff that they've completely outsourced and so doesn't actually involve their staff.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

These thousands of permanent, often well-paid jobs have also been lost to the local economies.

Eh?  These are not "productive" jobs in that they come from tax revenue!  Rob Peter to pay Paul.  The few hogs however have retained and indeed increased the well paid element of their jobs!

1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

- 64 councils in England have used cash from selling public property to pay for restructures since rules were relaxed to allow this in April 2016

Very odd.  I don't trust a council to spend money to save money.  Was it Hertfordshire that was a recent example?

1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

“You’re paying someone not to work for you any longer who’s likely to have been there a long time, has skills built up over several years, so it’s pretty shocking.

True.  It's a form of "crowding out" due to the huge pension costs.  I would rather read "76,000 council pension lossess over the last five years"!  We all lose, except the pensioners.

1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

While councils’ workforces might not have been very visible to the public

Oh yes we do, at least their decline and the services they provide.

Edited by Harley

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Posted (edited)

The culture or 'work ethic' in local council departments needs to change from my experiences

That will not happen by geting rid of a few staff by redundancy*

The whole lot would need to go and there would need to be a new intake.

 

An interesting, mind-focusing initiative might be for recipients of council services to be sean an annual questionnaire about the council department they deal with. If the 'approval' rating falls below a threshold the department manager is replaced. The immediate problem with that idea would be that it could just create bullying managers rather than managers that facilitate their staff.

 

*With the exception when unecessary makework departments are closed in their entirety, my experience of watching public sector redundancies tells me that it will be the consious, the whistle blowers, the ones who walk around with with raised eyebrows that will be made redundant first in order to help maintain the current cosy culture.

Edited by Hopeful

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2 hours ago, Hopeful said:

The culture or 'work ethic' in local council departments needs to change from my experiences

That will not happen by geting rid of a few staff by redundancy*

The whole lot would need to go and there would need to be a new intake.


And no one on more than 40k  a year.
Fuck the existing pensions promises - level them all off at minimum wage level. Or scrap them. Fuck it.

What's the maths for pensions?
contribution by employer + contribution from employee = total grand sum of pension pot?

 

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32 minutes ago, sarahbell said:


And no one on more than 40k  a year.
Fuck the existing pensions promises - level them all off at minimum wage level. Or scrap them. Fuck it.

What's the maths for pensions?
contribution by employer + contribution from employee = total grand sum of pension pot?

 

This.

Public sector pensions need scrapping and replacing with a matched DC pension.

As it stands, tax payer gets a poor deal as the cost of pension is excluded from the headline laboru cost.

Or, failing that, stick to PAYG but let the payouts shrink as the number of claiminats rise.

Ill do a more detailed post on this tongiht.

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There are some very hard working, dedicated people in the pubkic sector.

There has to be as, depending on what service, theres 20-30% who really take the piss. Its not uncommon to come across a fair few people taking 20-30 days sick a year.

The issue is the public sector has not moved on like the private sector has in the last 30 years.

You barely see a working comouter. Normally its some elaborate, custom made kiosk with a 'Not working. Ask receptionist' sign on it.

Once any org starts using doftware, you find it flattens to a doers and a few managers.

My interaction with public sector tends to be layer afypter layer of people, all very vague, not able to do much. Then you get the right person  .. who turns out to be on long term sick.

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