Savings do not require that efficiencies be recorded net of up-front investment costs i.e. if you spend money to save money, you count the money saved but not the money spent in the process. By this logic, scrapping posts and hiring in consultants counts as a total saving.”
– Matthew Elliot and Lee Rotherham
Efficiencies are effectively savings that come in two kinds: those you don’t necessarily have to be able to ‘bank’, and those that you do. The second being what we might actually recognize as a ‘cut’ i.e. spending less money.
Efficiencies make some accountant’s have wet dreams. Some wonderful paper savings can be made without actually having to go through the tricky process of really spending less. So now that the hammer has well and truly fallen on Folkestone & Hythe District Council budgets, all the accountants have been well and truly prepared.
One such efficiency saving Folkestone & Hythe District Council introduced was the transformation project being undertaken at Council which mean real job losses
In July 2017, iGnite Consultants were brought into the Council at a cost of £62,000:
“to carry out a 3 month piece of work (blueprint) to review current working practices / processes and technology across the whole council, and to recommend a new way forward in terms of the operating model for the council which will bring about substantial efficiencies and savings.”
F&HDC Head of Transformation – Sarah Robson (pictured above) gave a presentation to Cllrs in the Chamber late last year.
We now understand on the 26th March 2018, iESE Limited, who are a “The Public Sector Transformation Partner“ was awarded a contract with Folkestone & Hythe District Council to the value of £462,000.00. The money is to:
Support the delivery of the “Transformation“ project and ensure the project’s objectives are met and delivered against the agreed design principles. Provide change management and transition planning expertise.
Now do remember that FHDC are in their second “transformation (downsizing) efficiency programme“, so stress on staff below senior management who are concerned about losing their job is real, very real. That cannot be good for their wellbeing which These staff are the backbone of the council. They are the decent people.
Regarding the first “transformation programme“: Ways of Working (WoW) a member of FHDC staff is quoted as saying in Report P17-11 – page 22:
we finish one transformation project, WoW and go straight into another. Why would anyone want to commit to staying at SDC (now FHDC) when they have the constant threat of restructure and change over their head.
We already know that some staff are doing three or four different jobs. Council staff should not be treated as jack of all trades and the master of none, it’s not good for one’s mental health.
On the 10th Oct 2018 F&HDC put out this advertisement on their Facebook page.
So we are asking staff below senior management, are you ok? Are you ok? if not do drop us a line at shepwayvox[at]riseup[dot]net and tell us what about your job is troubling you. “It’s good to talk“
The second transformation – currently under way – headed up by Sarah Robson has cost in excess of £520,000 pounds. The Council’s logic in scrapping posts and hiring in consultants counts as a total saving, is no more tenable than Christmas in July. How can that be good for anyones well-being.
However, it is not all doom and gloom, Folkestone & Hythe District Council are focused on cutting budgets and it would appear they are paying attention to controlling costs in at least one area. According to the Council’s payment to suppliers data, temporary staff costs have fallen £200,000 when compared for the first six months of the financial year 17/18 against 18/19.
Whether costs will continue to fall and real savings be made, we won’t know until year’s end, on the 31st March 2019.
We feel for anyone whose job may be on the line because of “efficiency savings“, not just at the council. Losing it and potentially having to claim universal credit for oneself or one’s family could no doubt exacerbate any well-being issue’s one might have.
There is never an easy way to tell someone there job must go, it can’t be easy when you discover a computer system has in whole or in part taken over your job. It makes the annoucement by the Council earlier this year:
“…during these difficult times we [the management] will be making every effort possible to ensure that the impact on staff of these cuts is as small as possible… we will do all we can to safeguard jobs within the authority.”
seem even hollower than it did when it was first announced.
Managing with less will only put more pressure on staff and the processes. Eventually something has to give, we just hope and pray it’s not the mental health of the staff who are leaving or who remain. That would not be an efficiency saving.
The Shepwayvox Team – Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful