Monday, 3 May 2010

Old habits die hard

There's been much talk about the appalling mess in public finances (some of it by me), how the incoming government will have to roll back public sector spend, how we face the age of austerity yada yada blah. Despite the example of Greece now available to us, however, I don't think the penny has dropped yet - or at least, not where it needs to drop. Very likely, nothing substantive will be done until we, like Greece, need a bail-out from the IMF or the EU, such bail-out coming with strings attached which force us to start taking a serious slash-and-burn approach to public expenditure. In a sense, you can't really blame politicians, whether national or local, for carrying on as usual all the time we - the people (bless us and save us) authorise their activity by returning them to power.

All that said, sometimes people do take the piss. Look at some of the jobs available now, from the Guardian:

Contact Centre & Business Support Manager
"Leading the Contact Centre and Business Support Service for Environmental Services, you’ll look to reposition service delivery in a proactive, customer focussed way. This will see you reviewing business processes, streamlining working practices and developing a consistent approach to service delivery. This will be contained within an overall Contact Centre and Business Support Strategy that meets business objectives and enhances links with Nottingham’s communities."
Nottingham City Council, up to £36,313.

WTF does all that mean? Experience tells us that even if it were written in English it would be bollocks. Hands up any Nottingham City Council taxpayer who would vote for this job existing?



Assistant Director Partnerships and Performance
"Your priority in this role will be to transform the way we work and engage with and empower our partners in shaping how we deliver services.You will take the lead on corporate performance and external inspection like CAA and support to Warrington Borough Partnership to deliver Total Place. You will manage a diverse range of other functions including research, consultation, health and safety, land charges and emergency planning. You will be a key member of the Directorate Management Team and a regular advisor to the Strategic Management Board and the Executive Board."
Warrington Borough Council, up to £77,000.

Again we say: WTF? And if the humble 'Assistant Director' gets £77K, what on earth does his or her boss get?

Parking Processing Manager

"We are looking for a talented parking professional to manage our parking processing and concessionary travel services. This role has overall responsibility for representations and appeals, notice processing, debt recovery, and concessionary travel (Blue badges, Freedom Passes and Taxi cards). The role will also have responsibility for the financial management of the service."
London Borough of Haringey, £48,501-£51,414

Comment from me would be superfluous, so I shall content myself with banging my head on the desk at the concept of a 'parking professional'.

Business development officer

"The focus of this role is to drive continuous service improvement and transformation across all our services by:
* Building strong relationships with external partners to harness their potential in delivering excellent outcomes for residents
* Working in collaboration with partners and colleagues to implement service improvement initiatives across all areas of the business
* Developing and implementing innovative service initiatives
* Developing effective organisational plans in response to customer insight data and to meet best practice"
Tower Hamlets, £38-40K

"Customer insight data" is what we used to call complaints. But I must admit it does sound much nicer that way.

Enough, point made, I'm sounding disturbingly like Richard Littlejohn, and such a terrible thought is not one I propose to entertain on my birthday. I'm going to eat some of Mrs QO's beautiful sourdough bread, open a bottle of Rioja, and be happy.

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