- Youth Workers
- Museum Staff
- Arts Staff
All have been effectively threatened by the Tory Council if they dare speak to the press or councillors.
The problem with this approach is that these are the same staff who are having their jobs threatened under the latest set of 'consultations'. They are damned if they speak out and the are certainly damned if they don't.
Why does this matter?
In a democracy, its not just an elite of councillors and senior council officers who have good ideas. The staff do too! I am aware of a raft of good ideas that staff have for how services can be delivered more effectively and efficiently, how reorganisation could lead to more involvement and help the Council meet its policy agenda as set out in the Community Strategy.
Staff tell me that they along with their immediate managers are all very keen to come up with interesting solutions that would or could protect our vital public services, but that senior management at 'director level' is only interested in making the cash cuts now.
Ive been told that the 'optimistic' Chief Executive, Jon Rouse has welcomed innovation and ideas from front line staff, but always ends his briefings by saying 'but the cuts will be made'. Hardly an open door for staff to come forward with suggestions on delivering more for less.
It must be sensible to look at the council finances over a two year time frame, enabling the council to re organise services over the next 12 months in a way that does not 'fire bomb' our towns key public services by making those same savings in a narrow 3 month window.
At 31st March 2010
General Fund Balances were £11.597m
Earmarked Reserves were £33.996m
Schools Balances were £14.916m
Contingency in the 2010/11 budget is £1.000m
Total reserves at the Councils disposal (excluding Schools Reserves) £46.563Million
£2.2million fund (5%) has been proposed by Councillor Tony Newman as a way to enable restructuring and ensure savings are made in a way that will protect the front line. A way of giving the services targeted by these Tory Cuts a breathing space. Proposals roundly refused by the Conservative leadership of Croydon Council.
The Councils plans, coupled with their treatment of staff leads to one conclusion only: these are ideological cuts on the back of a national picture of 'austerity'. In normal times, there is no way a local council would close libraries and reduce the youth service so substancially.
Difficult times leads to quite extraordinarily bad decisions