Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Inside Out - Department heads and cuts

  • Comment

My leader’s asked me to produce a paper deleting my post. I’ve not started it yet. I’ve been too busy.

What have I been up to? Setting next year’s budgets and making sure plans are in place to deliver them. There are lots of aspects to it.

They play off each other, compete with each other, protect their services and staff, poker play about fairness across the council

The first thing is getting very professional chief officers to cough up savings. They’re not resistant per se, it’s the nature of the beast. They play off each other, compete with each other, protect their services and staff, poker play about fairness across the council (my services are delivering more than his or hers, why?).

Others might struggle to understand how you transform services and save money, or don’t know how to manage a savings programme or deal with resistance among their managers.

So as well as doing all the sums, which is never straightforward, much of the time is spent supporting colleagues or instructing them to play the corporate game. It doesn’t happen on its own.

Then the political process has to be supported, especially working behind the scenes to avoid political problems, or at least warning the leader about what his cabinet members are thinking and feeling.

Finally, comes thinking through the strategic handling of the next wave of misery, from helping the leader get it through his group, to working out the approach to industrial relations and how to tell the voluntary sector and other partners about the effect on them and how to handle the closure of facilities.

It’s a pain and tedious - it strains my patience. But it has to be done. As does the rest of the job - all the emails, at least five meetings a day, phone calls, etc.

I’m not complaining, as I actually love it all. The thing is, it’s making writing this paper on cutting my job harder. I just can’t imagine the leader sitting through a five-hour star chamber dealing with all the passive resistance. Perhaps I’ve made it seem too easy in the past. I shouldn’t have responded to his pontificating with: “So it is said, so it shall be done”!

Find out more or email

The one thing he won’t comment on is his identity…

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.