More timely reporting from NNJ. It's pretty obvious, and has been for quite a while, that far from 'risking being a failed council', the north unitary is just that already ... but the people running it have just voted to pay themselves more! You couldn't make it up. The words 'noses' and 'troughs' seem totally justified.

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During my time working as an estate manager I found eventually that direct employment of cleaners and catering staff paid dividends.

They have a sense of ownership of their workplace.

There is of course a considerable cost reduction in staffing compared to farming the work out to agencies or contractors.

However the admin burden is considerable but HR & Payroll will be in place already, the direct management will inevitably be in place with the in-house department still extant since offloading the original staff decades ago.

I would say that sickness benefits which lingers from the days of the rainbow pack is too generous.

I employed an ex council worker once to find them coaching my direct staff on how to maximise time off ‘sick’ i.e. come in at 08:00 go sick immediately. That day you go sick from work doesn’t count, take three days call in on day three to say you’ll be in the next day.

So if you start the process on Tuesday you can have Tuesday to Monday morning off without penalty or pay effect.

Needless to say the employee left soon after.

Poor leadership & lazy management are the blight of any organisation. But worse is disdain for the lower scaled (poorly paid) employees these are the foundation upon which any organisation is built.

Finally the ultimate sanction is always in the hands of the employees if you treat them poorly they simply leave.

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Its not only local government. Its rife throughout a vast amount of businesses.

Its not going away anytime soon.

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Should you be interviewing some of the staff who have left to get their take as to what caused them to leave.

This is the source of the reason why there are so many temporary staff coming from agencies.

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This is a story of unintended consequences. A County Council becomes the first in England to go bust. Government inspectors come in and arrange a new system that, presumably made economic and practical sense on paper. But they didn't reckon on the councillors, some of whom had held cabinet office on the old council, trying to run the new like a mega business. I hear stories of micro management and egos of senior members leading them into trouble. Looking after your staff and helping them is sacrosanct. Awarding yourselves 11 per cent increases in allowances while offering paltry rises for staff was bound to lead to trouble - and it will. How long before we are told NNC is in financial difficulty and the cycle gets repeated. All the time the same old faces are there, often with wives, husbands and partners elected alongside them and the voters are expected to suck it up and approve their actions, priorities and spending. The top councillors can't resist a photoshoot and publicity but clearly cannot run the Council. Finally, this situation is a warning about party politics in local elections. We have a council dominated by one party who seem to behave like the central government party. I despair and have no confidence in or respect for this council.

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it is negligent at best, just thinking of all the skills and investment in people that have been lost over the past few years, more could have and should have been done in transition to keep and retain valued members of staff.. view from the bridge is that we have hit an iceberg captain and the ship is sinking.

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