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The problem with Public Service?


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I'll tell you what the problem is within public service! Career advancement. Yes, that's the problem. In the private sector you tip up for a job that clearly says, 'we want a bloody welder'. You, being a bloody welder think, 'that's the job for me'. You tip up, they ask you some questions, they drag you off and say, 'weld that', you do it and they then say, 'you are a fine welder. The jobs bloody yours', and off you go welding two pieces of iron together for God knows how many years knowing that you will be welding that bloody metal together for as long as you can stand the drudgery of your role in life.

Course, that's not the case in the Council, the NHS, the Police or any other bloody public organisation. No Sir'ee! Beneath the umbrella of public service they set you on as the person who orders the stationary and they give you a job title that you can barely understand. Once in there, strapped behind your desk counting bloody paper clips, you learn that your position has several pay grades which mean that each time Human Resources review you and your job every twelve months, you can climb your pay scale if you manage to become outstanding at counting your paper clips and star binders.

But that ain't the end of it! Far bloody from it. Once you get to band bloody nine of your pay scale counting these bloody paper, you then become the Team Leader and that bloody position has nine pay grades that then lead you to becoming Supervisor, then Manager and then Regional Manager. And all the time, your business is the same, the counting of paper clips or ensuring the paper clips are counted or they are counted very well by a highly qualified and motivated much valued member of staff.

And what drives this relentless and bludgeoning Career Advancement? Bloody Human Resources and the ethos that everyone within the organisation can reach the top if they can climb their pay scale and please those that have created this business model of madness.

And how do you fuel this madness that sees some more qualified than others in the art of counting these bits of stationary? Bloody Courses and lots of them! And after you've been on the rotten Course? Well you shoot up another pay grade don't you and, because you are outstanding at what you do, Human Resources poach you, strap you behind a desk in their Department and off you go again appraising the employee who replaced you counting bloody paper clips.

And that's the problem with public service!

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I'm afraid there's a little more to it than that Bobby although you make a very good start.


In my humble opinion, It's more a kin to a life cycle. It starts off with a tiny insignificant grub at the bottom of the food chain. The grub needs to work its way up the food chain to survive and devour everything in its wake, it can not be seen to be doing this so it develops covert tactics. Those tactics include plagiarism, deception, lying and manipulation to name but a few. They then endear themselves to those at the top of the food chain using these tactics coupled with flattery and by feigning adulation and massaging egos. Once they've endeared themselves to the hierarchy who invariably recognise those traits in themselves they are propelled to the top of the food chain. It is incumbent for an incompetent Senior Manager to be in the company of people who hero worship them. It is also imperative to surround themselves with people who they can manipulate and of course it's a prerequisite that their intelligence is limited so you they never challenge them. It wouldn't do if there was the slightest possibility that they could contest their position. They then build a culture of bullying and harassment of the lower ranks which is insidious but effective. They convince themselves they are elite and above reproach because they absolutely believe they worked hard to get where they are so they are good and honest people. They are most definitely not, they are still bottom feeders back to where they started with a different title!

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And guess what Bobby?


Even in these cash strapped times, a quick look at the councils jobs vacancy page will show you that there are still plenty of management opportunities.


So bloody depressing.

Also worth noting is that the high paid jobs appear to be in areas of finance and legal. Which would indicate Peter Robinson and Bill Norman are swelling their empires!





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Wonder if any of the Parish Councillors recommended 3 new 50 K posts in the Finance department?


Note to All Parish Councils – Budget Consultation 2014/15



Please see the email below in relation to budget cuts and consultation plans from Herefordshire Council.



Dear Parish Clerk,




You will be well aware that the council faces very significant budget pressures. We need to find £33m savings over the next three years, £15m in next year. We will be consulting the public on a proposed budget which shows how we could deliver these savings while still funding our priority services. It will be necessary to make very serious reductions in some services, to remove some altogether, and for others to reduce costs through shared service approaches with partners. We recognise that this will have far-reaching implications for many of our residents and our consultation seeks to help us to understand the implications of our proposals so that we can seek to mitigate these in our final budget which will be agreed on 7thFebruary.




The consultation is available at https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/budget2014 and a news release announcing the consultation is available at http://www.newsroom.herefordshire.gov.uk/2013/october/budget-2014.aspx




Your feedback on the proposed budget will be very welcome as it will help inform our decisions.




Kind regards




Peter Robinson


Chief Financial Officer


Herefordshire Council




35 Hafod Road








CC: Herefordshire Councillors

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Flam. Thanks for the email.


For 'far-reaching implications for many...' read 'foreseeable, avoidable misery and suffering for the vulnerable persons we otherwise DO have a statutory obligation to protect... but luckily, with legal aid gone we can now get away with it, act with impunity, and invest the cash saved in attracting more of 'the best people' with the offer of an obscene salary in return for operating at the limits of UK law'.

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I particularly like the following statement taken from one of the documents on the link above.


We will continue to investigate ways to reduce our internal operating costs across the council. We have already significantly reduced our costs with over 300 redundancies in the last two years, capping redundancy payments and asking all staff to take two days of unpaid leave at Christmas, which has saved £225,000.


Loosely translated 'we managed to develope a strategy so we could use the savings made from reducing our front line staff to enable us to spend £150 k of the £225 k saved on three posts in the finance department' whilst we appreciate that we are already paying a huge salary to the head of finance we thought he could do with a bit of help!


For all the Councillors reading the above can someone explain why we need three more high flyers in the finance department? We don't have any money for them to manage! Also exactly how many Solicitors do we need? These two departments are fast becoming the largest within Herefordshire Council!


Don't we pay a Hoople huge sums of money to deal with the majority of Council Finance?

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We work with partners to deliver a wide range of services from across our portfolio, and some bespoke services to partnership agreements, such as the services outlined here provided to the Council.


Revenues and benefits


Hoople have been commissioned by Herefordshire Council to deliver the County’s revenues and benefits service. We collect council tax and business rates from every household and business within the county. We also administer housing benefit and the council tax reduction scheme which came into effect on 1st April 2013; determine entitlement to free school meals and deal with the recovery of parking penalty charge notices and the collection of invoiced charges.


We are currently supporting our partner HCC in the change to the universal credit system, which will be fully implemented by April 2017.


Collection of council tax


maintain the council tax records for Herefordshire (circa 82,000 properties)

issue council tax accounts to all dwellings in Herefordshire

determine and monitor council tax discounts and exemptions

instigate recovery action for unpaid council tax accounts, a full service from initial letters to committal or bankruptcy

work with and support residents within Herefordshire to help them to pay their council tax

work as a seamless partner with HCC frontline customer services, providing training, appropriate scripts, briefings on legislation changes

Collection of business rates


maintain the business rates records for Herefordshire

issue rates accounts to all non-domestic premises in Herefordshire (circa 7k)

determine exemptions and rate reliefs for business ratepayers

instigate recovery action for unpaid rate accounts, a full service from initial letters to committal or insolvency.

Administration of housing benefit


keep up to date and be aware of future changes to housing benefit legislation to ensure the correct amounts are paid to people on low income

manage the claims process to determine benefit entitlement within statutory timescales

pay housing benefit to claimants and landlords

identify and process changes in circumstances to ensure benefit granted is accurate

ensure that Herefordshire Council receives the appropriate Benefit Subsidy from the Department for Work and Pensions

Council tax reduction scheme


we supported HCC in developing and consulting on a local scheme for Council Tax Reduction, which was approved by the Members in November 2012

communicated the Reduction Scheme to existing claimants, ready for implementation on April 2013

manage the claims process to determine the Council Tax Reduction award within statutory timescales

apply council tax reduction to council tax accounts

identify and process changes in circumstances to ensure calculated reduction is accurate



Hoople provides an extensive range of services to our founding partner Herefordshire County Council. They include a full range of financial and human resources services, including payroll and DBS check. Our Technology and Transformation Service help support the public services network and infrastructure within Herefordshire and are working with the Council to support their change programmes.


We deliver an extensive range of training, both on behalf of our partner to the local private, independent and voluntary sector; as well as directly to our partner in relation to mandatory training, workforce development, leadership and management training. We deliver full schools support, as well as trading directly with all schools and academies within Herefordshire.

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Also worth noting is that the high paid jobs appear to be in areas of finance and legal. Which would indicate Peter Robinson and Bill Norman are swelling their empires!





Not necessarily. By my reckoning this is the third time the legal services job has been advertised since Norman restructured (i.e. decimated)  the legal and committee sections. He's tried to make it more attractive with a market supplement but I'll be interested to see if he gets any takers. Word gets round doesn't it?

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Excellent point SteveC welcome to the voice please keep posting, the more people that offer up little gems like that need to keep us informed! You may well hold the piece to the puzzle that is Herefordshire Council administration!


I would urge anyone even if it's gossip to let us know please! Someone has the nail and we really need it!


There's nothing else these ******* can do to **** up this beautiful County of ours! The more apathy the easier it is to get away with!


Please start shouting!

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Herefordshire Council Employment Panel

Wednesday 14 January 2015 2.00 pm



To consider a draft pay policy statement for recommendation to council; to recommend to council approval of salary packages in accordance with the provisions of the Localism Act 2011; and to update the employment panel on plans to progress permanent recruitment to senior management roles.


Additional documents:





Here is Barnet London Borough Council's Renumeration Committee report on the subject of a


This report sets out for Committee a Market Force Supplement Policy which explains how these will be

managed and controlled.

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What pray is a £4.5k 'Market Forces Supplement' and why should it paid? A quick google shows it to be endemic throughout local authorities - so just the old boys, or common purpose, feathering each others nest then?

I dare say Megilleland's post explains in greater detail, but to summarise: Market supplements are a temporary increase to an already fixed salary when the authority is experiencing difficulty recruiting to a particular post. They're a tacit acknowledgement the authority isn't paying the going rate for the job. Generally used when the economy is on the "up" and supply of candidates is restricted due to there being numerous other attractive opportunites open to them. However, I think we'd all agree the economy isn't really at that stage yet.  I'd suggest the difficulty in recruiting could be due to other factors. I can certainly think of two other authorites where departments can't get people, even when they do offer market supplements,  because they're such unpleasant places to work due to deeply dysfunctional management.


SteveC, you are of course entirely correct.

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  • 1 month later...

I see the Hereford Times has got hold of the senior management recruitment story:




Chief executive going to be bigging the Council up in the world's most boring magazine, the Municipal Journal. Given the Council's penchant for recruiting senior officers from the ranks of the dismissed, the corrupt and the paid off, I'd have thought Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs column would have been a safer bet.

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