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Eric Pickles to go to war on 'council non-jobs'

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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will go to war on “council non-jobs” today in a strongly-worded speech challenging local authorities over whether all their staff are providing value for taxpayers’ money.

Citing recent adverts for posts including “cheerleading development officer”, “audience development officer” and “communications waste strategy officer”, Mr Pickles will suggest that councils looking for savings could scrap jobs like these to protect frontline services.

And he will pledge to put all spending over £500 by his department on the internet - just as he has demanded councils do - so that voters can assess whether it is value for money.

Addressing the Local Government Association in Bournemouth, Mr Pickles will say councils could save money by sharing planning departments, lawyers or communications departments, and by combining their purchasing power when looking for deals with suppliers.

Savings could also be made by preventing duplication of effort by chief executives and executive leaders in the same council, he will suggest.

Mr Pickles will say: “Like the Prime Minister has said, we need to ‘rip off that cloak of secrecy and extend transparency as far and as wide as possible’, so that people no longer think government has something to hide.

“And it’s not limited to spending. Putting jobs on your website not only shows local people where their money is going.

“It will also enable them to question whether those jobs are really needed at all.

“What does an ‘audience development officer’ do? Is a ‘cheerleading development officer’ what taxpayers want? One council is even advertising for someone to spin for their bins last week.

“I wonder whether their residents actually want a ‘communications waste strategy officer’ or whether they’d prefer a few more bin men.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • If local authorities are being thrown down the gauntlet to work together to deliver more efficient, streamlined, and joined up services, does that mean that all Government Departments will be following the same approach and acting as a beacon of joined up working, or will they continue to work against each other and against Local Ggovernment?!

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