Trebles all round! New city council chief exec, ‘Junket’ Jan Ormondroyd, finally makes her opening gambit down at the Council House with a deckchairs-on-the-Titantic-style senior management reshuffle accompanied by some very generous inflation-busting pay hikes indeed for the same old chosen few.
Shoved very quickly under the noses of the Labour Executive at their next cabinet meeting on May 1 will be Junket Jan’s brilliant new management plan (pdf) for the city council, personally crafted by Jan in fluent Birtspeak.
On the plus side, Jan intends to scrap former Chief Exec Pigfucker Gurney’s pointless Chief Executive’s Department. Set up just four years ago at great cost, this was never anything other than a personal vanity department designed to grab regeneration and central government funds coming into the council and then spend them on marginal vanity projects in the hope they might make Pigfucker look good and look like he was actually doing something important. Needless to say they didn’t.
The second part of Jan’s plans, however, are rather less impressive. In her paper to the cabinet, littered with big, important management-sounding words like “strategy”, “partnership”, “performance” and “delivery”, Jan announces that she is going to give the council’s clapped-out old senior management crew a makeover “based on a strategic portfolio model”.
More waffle explains these “new portfolios are “strategic”, “corporate”, “customer focused”, “performance/value for money orientated” and take into account “future proofing delivery” around forward planning, business transformation, and emerging technologies.”
And in what, no doubt, Jan intends to be a breathtaking PR coup, we learn that the current set of senior officers will even have to apply if they want these posts. Blimey. Is Jan having that long overdue clear out of crap in the Council House?
Unfortunately not. Read the small print and you find that the only people allowed to apply for Jan’s new senior officer posts – with two exceptions – are the current directors! And – in a remarkable coincidence – Jan has devised seven new posts and there’s currently seven senior officers in post.
So what this dismal plan really means is that the bosses who were called “Directors” will now be known as – wait for it … “Strategic Directors” and given a pay rise!
Big deal. The new Strategic Directors will be exactly the same deadbeats that have been failing the city for years.
For instance, the current Director of Central Services, Carew Reynell – who was last seen personally overseeing a £6m overspend on the Redland Green School construction by failing to follow his own financial standing orders and then failing to inform elected members what he was doing – will now become ‘Strategic Director Resources’.
His new job, we’re assured, will be “underpinned by a core set of generic strategic leadership and management competencies [and] will have a formal lead for delivering specified strategic outcomes”.
Fancy sounding shit isn’t it? Although might this be a little beyond someone who can’t even follow a simple set of written financial instructions of their own devising and who needs a consultant to explain to him that budgets are generally monitored on spreadsheets?
Meanwhile Heather Tomlinson, our £125k a year director of children and young people’s services, who has singularly failed to articulate any kind of education strategy or vision for the city whatsoever over the last four years – while squandering millions not doing it – will now become ‘Strategic Director Children, Young People and Skills’.
Why? What for? What’s the point? Is it not patently obvious that Heather’s overpaid, underperforming butt needs to be kicked out of the city? What exactly is achieved by rewriting her job description to include more meaningless management buzz words; handing her a stupid new job title and giving her another unearned fat pay rise?
Of the other posts, Annie Hudson currently called Director of Adult Community Care will become ‘Strategic Director Health and Adult Social Care’.
David “I love a big project, me” Bishop, currently Director of Planning, Transport & Sustainable Development will become ‘Strategic Director City Development’.
And Ian Crawley, the Director of Neighbourhood and Housing Services, who’s currently been seconded to work as New Labour’s PFI accountant friends KPMG‘s office boy, tea-maker and yes-man on behalf of the council with the title Director of Business Transformation will return to housing as ‘Strategic Director Neighbourhoods’.
Which conveniently leaves just two management posts and two managers remaining …
One post is Assistant Chief Exec, currently occupied by the personality-free paper shuffling drone Terry Wagstaff. He is, however, being touted to take early retirement, which may free up at least one post for somebody competent.
But the only current manager who may not have a job is Steven Wray. He currently has the laughable title of Director of Culture and Leisure Services. Although his only noticeable contribution to culture in the city so far has consisted of spending £25m on some ludicrous architects from London to ruin our industrial museum when we asked for an arena anyway and demolishing one of the best modernist facades in the city to make way for a yellow tin shed foyer for the Colston Hall.
Will he go too? Or will he be become Jan’s ‘Strategic Director Transformation’, the KPMG tea-making role, where Wray’s destructive urges might find a useful outlet supporting the privatising accountants as they deliver brutal cuts to the lower paid sections of the city council’s workforce over the next few years?
And finally … What’s the cost to us of Jan’s newly titled team then? Er, between six of them – not including the ‘Strategic Director Transformation’ post – they’re going to cost £1,005,000 a year! Or £167,500 each! Even with the 26% cost of employing them, this still means these new strategic directors will be collecting over £120k a year – or a pay increase of between 15-20%.
What a bargain! And what great news for the 35,000 ordinary Bristolian council taxpayers at the bottom of the heap who’ve discovered they’re now out-of-pocket because the government’s scrapped the 10% tax rate.
And no doubt ordinary city council employees and public sector workers will be thrilled at this news too as they get credit crunched into accepting below inflation pay rises of around 2% this year.
Footnote: The Evening Cancer has kindly published the pay rates of the council’s current management team. Here they are:
Assistant chief executive Terry Wagstaff (paid between £87,581 and £95,849).
Heather Tomlinson, director of children and young people’s services (£115,223 to £127,778).
Carew Reynell, director of central support services (£97,850 to £109,904).
Graham Sims, acting director of neighbourhood and housing services (£97,850 to £109,904).
David Bishop, director of planning, transport and sustainable development (£97,850 to £109,904).
Annie Hudson, director of adult community care (£97,850 to £109,904).
Stephen Wray, director of culture and leisure (£87,581 – £95,849).
Ian Crawley, acting director of business transformation (£97,850 to £109,904).