Jump to content

33 Million of Cost/Savings Per Annum


icepick239
 Share

Recommended Posts

That I would expect from a cynic, how ever, the fact that most of the staff turn up is a sign of some commitment. Alas though, they all take their allotted time of with sickness. Some also just sit in their vans at the Knab, maybe so. The public will never really want to "shadow" a council employee. When I tell folk what I do in my employment and the responsibilities I have with regard to assets and people, they are quite shocked, especially as I earn about 20% less than I would in the private sector, though I do add that that is used for pensions etc., so, in reality, similar pay and conditions.

 

With the current movement with the Living Wage group, started by parents in the East End of London, to earn enough to lift them out of working poverty and remove them from the benefit system with their claims that subsidise their employers low pay policies, paying a reasonable, living wage is a good thing for the community. Though I agree that some do appear to do nothing for their pay, by those who wish not to "shadow" them, and every employees "gold plated pension" (mine will be about £4,500 at 65) it can seem the privateer may be hard done by. I would like to ask though, what other organisation, on Shetland, has to cope with the many diverse needs you public have with regards to social stuff. The council schools you when you are small, gets you there in some cases, wipes your herse when you cannot, feeds you, gets you from A to B and so on.

 

If you want to start to changing the way the Council works, first you need to find out what it does well at, though I suspect we will usually get the witless comments, sadly, I refuse to fight with unarmed people so they will lay on barren land, though the banter can be good to highlight attitudes.

 

I would like to see folk on this forum conduct an Appreciative Enquiry on the Council and its services though I doubt this will happen. Or will it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That I would expect from a cynic, how ever, the fact that most of the staff turn up is a sign of some commitment. Alas though, they all take their allotted time of with sickness. Some also just sit in their vans at the Knab, maybe so. The public will never really want to "shadow" a council employee.

 

Oh pleasseeeeee don't make me laugh. Ghostie is not being cynical. As Chuck Norris has pointed out, there are some excellent people working for the Council and it's a shame all aren't as conscientious as they are. I can understand CN not wanting to use the whistle blowing policy, especially given that if things were really uncomfortable for them after doing so, it isn't exactly like the Mainland where you could go and work for another LA just a few miles down the road, now is it?

 

Might I suggest you take off your rose tinted glasses and actually accept that there are some fundamental flaws concerning the SIC? Never mind comparing the SIC with other organisations up here; instead, why not compare them with other LAs?

 

Example: SIC Housing allow themselves 28 days to answer correspondence yet other LAs throughout the UK with a larger housing stock, more social, cultural and diverse problems AND with less staff manage to reply within 10 days. So far, I'm aware of at least one live issue which has been going on for over FIVE months. Inept, incompetent - you bet! Ability to follow their own procedures? They don't/won't and appear to adopt an attitude of "if in doubt, make it up and hope no one will notice".

 

And yes, SP, damn right I know how to complain. And yes, I WOULD like to shadow certain Council staff because I'd love to know why they aren't capable of replying to correspondence that has definitely been received. I don't believe it is acceptable within other organisations within Shetland to take 28 days to respond to a straightforward enquiry, let alone take over 5 months, do you? However, if you can name one for me ... :wink:

 

Chuck Norris - good on ya for giving a damn - I ain't a clue what you do for the SIC but it's a shame some others don't adopt the same attitude you're portraying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like most local authorities, there will always be a number of slackers who play the system. I have worked with some of them, but there are also a lot of conscientious workers who do more than they need to. The SIC, in my opinion, has been overstaffed for years, which has added to the problem.

 

Unfortunately, we are now in a position where they will have to cut numbers beyond which is required to run the necessary services efficiently. Lets hope the powers to be, select the right ones to get rid off. :roll:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^^ Good post. Unfortunately as Ironwithin noted regarding the documentary linked to above, often its those who shout loudest who "survive".

 

That would be a disaster for the council. If they are downsizing its the quiet conscientious lot who work extra hours for nothing that they need to keep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another typical post from US. It will be insults soon.

 

Sadly, the perception is, all you do is complain, and have admitted that you are good at it. AI, as used by many councils in projects that have been dealt with with Scrutiny Committees, have scored many a success where there seemed small hope. Sadly, you see little of what the council does, your constant referrals to your past employment, have as yet, added little weight in the debate, as, you are the outsider to the Council now but are a customer so to speak. All authorities have problems, what I do not accept is that any of them are not comparable. The suggestion I made about comparing S.I.C. to any other organisation on the Islands is the fact they are charged with looking after the residents. The residents, who appear to complain about the councillors they vote in and do not lobby said councillors into sorting out the problems. Folk are folk, where ever they are. You an no less special than the persons reading this post.

AI was used by Scrutiny here and it worked to good effect. Turning around a once poor housing estate, the sort of ones that are constantly hammered to prove policies of some groups. AI can be used with any project. If you do not understand the concept of Appreciative Inquiry you could be in danger of complaining some of the good bits away from the council. You can get coughed if you think I see things through any tinted glasses, I have more of a wider vision of things, generally because folk are feeling it all over. Shetland has had a good deal over the years, now the turkeys are having to vote for Christmas and those who have got used to the, what has been described as pampering. are not happy. And fair enough, every one thinks THEY pay enough taxes. To be honest, Shetland has as much to worry about from the rest of the cuts the ConDemNation will be putting on us, especially on the backs of lies as shown to us by a Conservative writer in the Huffington Post.

 

STORY

 

It is very hard to believe mainstream politicians, hence the emphasis of the cuts have been handed down to a local level. Soon, you will be asked about the CCGs as the PCTs and Health Boards go, the reduction of Police Services, the halving of the crews in the Fire Brigade as Daycrew+ is proving to work. While the council is diminished, more will require its services. Perhaps if you start reading pertinent documents, one that springs to mind is Serco's Ethos Journal, the LGA periodicals, Government consultation documents and the like. By the time you get to complain, little, in some cases can be done, you missed the boat.

You could find out if the number of consultants employed by the Health Board has gone down since the levels of 2010 which were 11 and one vacancy, the possibilities that GPs could start getting payments for insulin initiations, at the moment, they are salaried and will not. The drop in Annual training budgets for Children's services of about 25%. Yet, no E-learning is undertaken at present, which indicates less training, or perhaps the dept has already cut as much as they can. Perhaps that may show commitment to the service. You could ask why the Council are using vehicles that only have a MPG of 1.9, that they use a MEWP that has a MPG level of less than 10. Last year, nearly £250,000 was spent keeping the vehicles working. £2,161 to check the work lights on a Mercedes last December, £804 to replace the horn on a JCB, over £500 to fit radios to tractors (2-way I hope), £0 to fit a steering box on a Mercedes? Would that then indicate that labour charges are not part of the sums previously mentioned? All of them, last year using nearly 700,000 litres (I hope, the info I have does not say) to do 2,241,351 miles. Kept down by the use of more economical French vehicles. At the time of writing, there were 213 vehicles.

 

Unless you want to change laws so you can sack folk with out any reason, oops, that is being done already. Just waiting for take overs.

 

The councillors do have the ability to address this, it is within their gift, the problem, is the time factors. If, as has been done here by my friends, the departments were given charge of their destiny with any cutting and given the correct time scale, these committed staff do pull out the stops.

 

US. Your tar brush is far too wide, unfairly so.

 

You could shadow Chuck....alas, you would want payment, it really will not happen even if it were possible. I would suggest you could not afford the commitment according to some of your other posts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another typical post from SP? Most definitely. People are capable, if they so choose, to be educated into how LAs work but many of us already know without it being spoonfed to us. I should have realised it would be far too difficult for you to actually answer the question I posed, namely is taking 28 days to reply to a letter too long, and have it drag on for over 5 months, acceptable?

 

Yes, I complain, as do others. I also seem to recall you encouraging Ghostrider to complain about a certain incident concerning the SIC. Would I complain about a trivial matter and be vexatious? Nope. For every person who complains, it is said that there are at least five others who choose to remain silent. So how does an LA learn from its mistakes if people don't complain? Incidentally, if I receive good service then I'll quite happily praise that too ... just like I did recently on another thread on here.

 

Edit: Charged with looking after the residents? I'd say more like they have a responsibility to provide services. This is not a nanny state, nor is it a state whereby the SIC are entitled to know every single bit of your business. Oh, and CondemNation - given that the previous lot proposed to slash benefits even more, as detailed in a report from one of their Treasury staff, I know who I'd rather have in power. Do people expect the SIC to be charged with providing everything, from cradle to the grave, in order to look after the residents? They don't have to provide housing to everyone. People have a responsibility to do certain things for themselves and not expect the state to provide everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another typical post from SP? Most definitely. People are capable, if they so choose, to be educated into how LAs work---snip---namely is taking 28 days to reply to a letter too long, and have it drag on for over 6 months, too long?

 

Get educated then.

 

The time it takes to reply to a letter or other correspondence has little to do with the vast sums of money that is to be crowbarred from the local economy, it just sounds you have a particular gripe, something only you can sort out unless you want to tell others, though, in theory, you can tell anyone who has signed up to Data Protection, also, anyone signed up to that can, in theory share with another signed up to the same.

 

Yup, a typical post. Thanks for that, you are far too kind.

 

It does seem, however, you are happy to complain anonymously, easier if you get it wrong I suppose.

 

The whole thing stinks in a way, as ever, working folk will be taking most of this on the chin. Calls for less employment protection, pay cuts, longer hours, limited contracts and no help when sick. Bringing folk down to a self employed level it seems, or at least back to the 1920/30s.

This happens every time this group get in, firstly, contracts are scrapped, hitting private industry and its children, then it is those working for councils, as well as those on very low pay who rely on benefits to bring their standard of living up to a near acceptable with reasonable education, nutrition, health, leisure, housing and social care when needed. Money is clawed from the community, the community fights amongst its self for the remaining scraps, thus dividing some. Those shops who's only input to the community is the wage they pay which is subsidised by the tax payer while the profits decorate the boardrooms elsewhere.

 

What is always forgotten, during these times, are the people. You can weed out the slackers, why then go on to cut services further?

 

 

Edit: Charged with looking after the residents? I'd say more like they have a responsibility to provide services. This is not a nanny state, nor is it a state whereby the SIC are entitled to know every single bit of your business. Oh, and CondemNation - given that the previous lot proposed to slash benefits even more, as detailed in a report from one of their Treasury staff, I know who I'd rather have in power. Do people expect the SIC to be charged with providing everything, from cradle to the grave, in order to look after the residents? They don't have to provide housing to everyone. People have a responsibility to do certain things for themselves and not expect the state to provide everything.

 

Your blue blood is showing through your thin skin.

 

Of course, it is always someone else's fault. That is why we can act like complete herses and do what we want, no excuses really. Just because mistakes have been made in the past is no justification to thrash folk to an inch of poverty. What do we have now, Child Poverty, Fuel Poverty, Working Poverty and Regional Poverty. The blame game will not fix those, will they. If Atos was so bad, why are they still there? Why are there protests?

 

As for the part of your post in Bold Type Face, the council should be responsible for the people, it is they[the people] who suffer if they do not. If that is the case, why are millions of pounds being used to prop up industries and apprenticeships?

 

I expect the Council to be there to see that statutory bodies remain free from the need of making profits, to ensure the children are educated to the best degree possible and offered opportunities to become part of a wider community, returning home to continue the work their parents started (in AI, that is the "Dream" bit, or part of), I expect when a person passes away in the meantime to have a decent burial if no one is there to dispatch their shell. Yes, local authorities will always be responsible from the cradle to the grave. Cheezes, get with it.

 

Your rhetoric, appears to be ageing and need to be retired so as to let those who are working on the ground, so to speak get on with trying to make the best of this without the diversions and distractions of anal argument and conjecture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was recently talking to someone with a bit of inside knowledge who reckoned that not only are the upper levels of the SIC riddled with people who do not do much if anything for their high salaries but they also reckoned that a short lived Chief Executive was removed because he intended to identify and remove these people.

 

Now this may or may not be true but it certainly needs looking at by the new council before some of the more drastic cuts in services take place. It took years for parts of Shetland to be built up into the successful places they now are and a short term panic saving millions the wrong way could send those places into terminal decline.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The time it takes to reply to a letter or other correspondence has little to do with the vast sums of money that is to be crowbarred from the local economy, it just sounds you have a particular gripe, something only you can sort out ...

 

Bringing folk down to a self employed level it seems ... What is always forgotten, during these times, are the people. You can weed out the slackers, why then go on to cut services further?

 

On the contrary, SP, the time it takes the SIC to reply to a letter or other correspondence demonstrates, IMHO, that either the staff are severely overworked or haven't a clue how to manage their work hours or have their workload increased due to someone being on long term sick/can't be bothered to deal with it. It is hardly efficient, now is it? Staff are paid to work, to be productive, whether that be to reply to correspondence/collect rubbish/work in a care home/whatever. Now how well they perform such tasks can indeed affect "the people" and individuals - and can, at times, totally mess up their lives, and that's without even mentioning the admin and other costs to the SIC.

 

There isn't anything wrong, incidentally, with people choosing to be self-employed. There's many self-employed up here from builders to decorators to childminders, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can start the ball rolling by calling for some sort of external audit, if enough folk do this, in theory, they have to get on with it. If they do not, still be positive you can achieve this and find other avenues. As soon as the negativity comes into play, you have to deal with that as well. While folk have been claiming their part of the battle, some are quietly working away in the background achieving things, getting things looked at more carefully, away from the bullpoop that can be generated by the bovine that is public (well, those who shout louder) opinion.

It is not about chest beating, it is just about working at it and not giving up, speaking to real folk with real names. There are several who know what other activities I do when I am not on here, although on here I am just Shetlandpeat, I use the information I get from other experiences. I am, off this forum, in the thick of it. All councils are having to make choices, that is the way the current group want it to be. I do not know about Scotland, but here, the ConDemNation want to offer more money to keep Council Tax rises down to 0%. To facilitate this, they want to lower the threshold that requires a referendum on any increase, at present, if a council wants to raise CT by more that 3.5%, it has to ask the tax payers. They want to change it to 2%.

 

I feel Shetland could have far more to loose if these cuts are managed incorrectly. It has a huge budget for so few folk, if it is just compared in that way. Here, the budget, for just over 100,000 folk in the borough is about 12 million, we do have the cushion that is County, which, with a budget of about 170 million, has over a million folk to attend to.

 

My future is in Shetland as well as my past, tis why I get involved, mainly with the real folk.

 

Any comments on the 1.9 MPG of a council vehicle. The vehicle has done 5,000 miles in one year, its make suggests it picks up your rubbish.

 

 

--snip-- the time it takes the SIC to reply to a letter or other correspondence demonstrates, IMHO, that either the staff are severely overworked or haven't a clue how to manage their work hours or have their workload increased due to someone being on long term sick/can't be bothered to deal with it. It is hardly efficient, now is it? Staff are paid to work, to be productive, whether that be to reply to correspondence/collect rubbish/work in a care home/whatever. Now how well they perform such tasks can indeed affect "the people" and individuals - and can, at times, totally mess up their lives, and that's without even mentioning the admin and other costs to the SIC.

 

There isn't anything wrong, incidentally, with people choosing to be self-employed. There's many self-employed up here from builders to decorators to childminders, etc.

 

If everyone was back to self employed levels, there would be more poverty, no safety net, unless you could afford one, and in times of recession, mass hunger and even deaths, so, in this current way we do things, where the self employed have those nets available to them, it may not be a bad thing, though, referring to one of your posts in another thread, being self employed, you cannot afford a trip to the cinema. Not really a good advert now.

I await your FOI Act request on the delays in responding to correspondents or is that another one I will have to write? I am sure however, they post these stats, though you may say they are not truly representative of your own experience. Unless we know how widespread this is, we cannot really deal with it. Alas, as there are less folk to action your correspondence, the estimated maximum response times will have to increase, especially if someone goes on holiday for 3 weeks, or do you want to curtail that as well. Say 3 weeks off, not enough other staff hours to cover, what if more that one person was off, they would drastically fail, can imagine it now, sorry, you have to cancel your £2,000 3 week break because Jane Doe has gone sick and we will not be able to write to everyone in time. Oh, did you get an acknowledgement of your letter or other communication within the allotted time, if you did, they we cannot pursue (no pun) a lack of response. They would have discharged their responsibility in respect of that part of their promise. Let me know the departments and names and I can get on with it if you want. The reason for the request for departments and names is to lessen the cost of the FOI Act request to the public, start as we mean to go on, eh.

 

Time for someone perhaps to step up....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....so as to let those who are working on the ground, so to speak get on with trying to make the best of this without the diversions and distractions of anal argument and conjecture.

 

Peat, God knows what all the rest of what you posted is on about, I really can very much live without giving myself any more of a raging sore head than I already live with 24/7 trying to intelligibly decipher it in to plain English. I am going to take exception to your quoted sign off though, as it refers directly to the point I was trying to make in my previous post.

 

Firstly, let me make it abundantly clear that IMHO there are a very many good, concientious, hard-working people on the SIC payroll, I have said so before at least once on this site, but I'm saying it again just so as there are no misunderstandings whatsoever.

 

There are also, unfortunately a number of people/positions on the SIC payroll the SIC could lose immediately and everyone else would benefit. Whether they be in promoted positions and as such are creating a working enviornment further down the chain that cannot function, or the "on the ground" people themselves who are hopeless, I wouldn't know, but it amounts to the same thing, and I'm working on finding out just where the rot is, and how far it extends. My point being, that in certain sections of certain departments commitment/productivity/output/"getting on with it" already amounts to a big fat zero in real terms, despite there being an amount of (wo)man hours/admin/office costs/stationery etc expended.

 

In one week it will be six months since I made what should have been a relatively simple straightforward request to a council department, despite there having been correspondence exchanged over those months the initial issue has barely been moved forward yet. Why? Because of the correspondence I have sent to them, never once have they yet replied without the necessity on my part to contact them and try to "hurry them up" to do so, consequently no reply has ever been received from them within the "target" 28 days I am given to understand they set themselves as the maximum "acceptable" period that correspondence should be replied to. Their replies, when eventually received have been obstructive, dismissive, unhelpful and generally showing no willingness to progress my query forward to a mutually acceptable conclusion. Whether the intent on their part, as I said, is laziness and they're hoping I'll get fed up and drop it, whether they're just stalling and delaying by making more work for themselves, or are they just plain old dysfunctional and useless, I couldn't possibly know. But, "getting on with it", performing a useful role or providing any value for the £££'s so far expended hasn't happened. Had they been sacked to a (wo)man 6 1/2 months ago, the situation would be no different on the ground today, and the SIC would have had the six months costs they've incurred to fill a gap in some other cut they're having to make.

 

I can't possibly know if similar rot exists elsewhere within the same department or in other departments, but my point is, rot very certainly exists and it isn't just one bad apple, as I've now had contact with several individuals within the section and they've all been variations on the same theme. If only a percentage on the people who had occasion to contact the same department have a similar experience to me, the savings to the taxpayer would be significant if a prompt competent service was provided instead of 1-2+ month - possibly never (I've yet to see how long they take to reply without a reminder, as the issue at hand is an urgent one, but at the moment I'm sitting at 6 weeks and still waiting since I wrote to them) turn aroud for written correspondence. Which when eventually received often makes very clear it has been penned without reference to (or possibly understanding) earlier related correspondence, and raises points without stating what the issue with them is, or what the relevance is to the matter in hand.

 

Savings have to be made, cuts have to be made, but when you're sitting looking at total dysfunctionality that's soaking up cash by the minute and doing no-one that's paying for it any good, savings need to come first and foremost by removing the people who are responsible for creating and sanctioning such an inept and ineffective situation, not the concientious and competent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then leave it up to those willing to try. Carry on Moaning though, seein your posts do please me, unless the southern bell(E) has done you in and is covering the fact by posting in your name, or even visa versa. All the same really.

 

Leave what up to those willing to try?

 

Thankfully, we have some councillors up here who do take matters seriously and don't trivalise, unlike some elsewhere, it would seem. :roll:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...