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Inside Out - Simmering discontent


We are just agreeing the questions for our annual staff survey. I’ve been advised not to put in a question asking if staff think the council should have a chief executive.

Some say only ask a question if you already know the answer. Otherwise you might not like the response. I don’t hold with that. I’d rather know what people think, even if it is bad.

Everyone was worried about money, but we didn’t know then how unfairly the government was going to target local government

I am worried what this survey will say about morale and motivation. I still have my weekly coffees with staff groups and I’ve noticed a change. When the government started having a go at the sector, staff voiced their anger. But there was hope about the Big Society and hope that the community budgets approach would become the norm. Perhaps we could get on and achieve life-changing things for vulnerable people and communities.

Everyone was worried about money, but we didn’t know then how unfairly the government was going to target local government.

Staff in the meetings are now not as open. They are more subdued. I don’t know the psychology behind this change but I’m sure it is something to do with the survival instinct. I’m no different. I’m still working all hours but my mind is often elsewhere. I can’t maintain the anger levels. So calm, grim determination has set in.

I’ve realised that this government does not have a compelling vision about localism and is ideologically driven. It reluctantly uses us to achieve its ends, but it wishes it didn’t have to. So I’ve stopped trying to ‘influence’ anything this government wants to do.

I suppose it is all part of the journey to realisation that we will be shrinking for at least the next 10 years. We have to align ourselves to that new reality. It is hard, but has been made harder by the dissing dished out by the government.

I suspect we now have simmering discontent. It will be stored up and will come out eventually. In the short term, given a safe opportunity, staff will voice their feelings. I’m not looking forward to the staff survey results.

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


Readers' comments (2)

  • I "stopped trying to ‘influence’ anything ...[a] government wants to do" ages ago!

    I just try and deal with the outcomes!

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  • Sounds like you need a Christmas break! I don't disagree with your assessment of the Gov's approach to localism but how can you expect to inspire your staff if you yourself have stopped trying to influence government? What sort of leadership is that?
    If CXs with all their statutory protection and wider vision don't keep argung the case for theri communities they are supposedly proud of then they will quickly follow the Quangos and the Dodo, and not even shared services will save them.

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