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The truths they don't want you to read....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

There are cuts and there are cuts

The headline in Hebrides News accurately sums up the tenor of the budget report.
Savage cuts in Western Isles frontline council services
The key word is "frontline".

Let us consider just one small aspect of one of the major cuts planned: education.

With up to 18 schools considered for closure, you might be expecting major savings in staffing costs. Er, no. Teachers are virtually unsackable, and all the staff in any schools that are closed will be kept in full time employment, on at least the same salary, until they retire or resign.

That means that the headteacher, for instance, will stay on a headteacher's salary and pension irrespective of what post they are moved to, or even if they are sent home on gardening leave. The salary bills will only go down as staff retire and the surplus staff are moved into the vacancies.

That will mean very few opportunities for newly qualified teachers.

But one other startling statistic was drawn to my attention this week.

There are more people involved in curriculum development in the Western Isles than there are primary teachers in Uist and Barra. And that is before the cuts in teaching staff are implemented.

So how much can be cut from the bureaucracy now there are fewer schools and teachers to manage?

The Council policy is to protect jobs, so there will be no cuts in administration or central services.

The same policies apply to all other departments too.

The budget strategy is simple: deliver fewer services with the same number of people having less and less productive work to do.



Anonymous said...

it's only fair to note that the Teacher Pay and Conditions/Contracts of Employment issue is a national one being faced by all 32 Scottish councils wrestling with making cuts in their education budgets and not just CNES.

It sould also be noted that there are so many teachers currently engaged in 'Curriculum Development' because the Government has just implemented a new curriculum to all Scottish schools and it needs to be developed and implemented. Considerable funding for these posts comes from central government and not CNES.

Anonymous said...

So the cooncil canot even afford paper payslips? Perhaps they will reconsider the policy where every document in the place is reprinted in two languages- (that will cut the paper bill by half, if any councillors are reading this)

Anonymous said...

How about outsourcing some of their services e.g. payroll, billing, IT. That would create jobs for people who deserve them, would work for a living rather than cosy it up in the white house.

Dr Evadne said...

In addition to the £100k to tart up some bogs etc in a community hall, there is money to be found for the very essential 'Hebridean Archives Project'. £181k plus an additonal £151k from Europe for three people to shuffle paper around. Anyone want to take a wild guess at some names that will be associated with this scam/venture?

Anonymous said...

You guys cannot have it both ways. One minute "they" are a shower of underworked/overpaid the next "savage cuts" to frontline services which inevitably leads to redundancy of CnES workers. The local ecomomy is on the brink of collapse if not collapsed and the Comhairle's 2000+ employees are what under pin it. If they go we all go. What the CnES lacks is Leadership at political and executive levels, Just look at the number of senior staff- directors etc that have shipped out and not been replaced.

Anonymous said...

Disagree with some of it 2.24. The Comhairle workforce is obviously the major one along with the Health Board, but it has protected its own, sometimes at the expense of private enterprise in the community. It is also a flabby outfit that tends to fund its own pet projects rather than encouraging diversity, and has no expectations of efficiency. Money quite frankly, has been squandered and now we are all paying dearly.

Hairy McLairy said...

I work with Councils elsewhere in Scotland and most of them are now making radical cuts to services, reshaping how and why they provide services, but most importantly, taking a huge pruning hook to the corporate centre.

From what I gather locally, the central management of this council is protecting itself and all of the non-jobs that have grown up at the centre to keep the elite Councillors happy and to keep the highly-qualified professionals in their highly-paid jobs.

And when the Council goes bust, most of them will take nice redundancy packages and clear off back to the Central Belt to spend it. The sooner this lot get taken over by someone else the better, I reckon.

Anonymous said...

The school roles have dropped over the years and one can only assume that the schools have had fewer open teaching posts that have reflect the falling intakes.

When the kids move to the centralised schools, one can only assume that some of the teachers will also need to move, obviously there will be efficiency savings (especially from the smaller schools) and posts will be lost. But the bulk of the excess staff would probably be at either end of the scale, head teachers, heads of department, janitors and cleaning staff.

There was a farcical position a few years ago, when a head was appointed to the new Castle school that never materialised. They could not get rid of this ‘head teacher’ who was earning a fortune so he became the highest paid photo copy boy/tea man in the Council. The ridiculous situation went on for several years until after spending a fortune on advertising and (one can only assume) consultants and head hunters they made him Rector of the Nicolson. One may ask why he was not appointed to this position sooner instead of spending all that money…. Well 2 + 2 is 4 as they say.

The above must not happen again, paying someone £50/60/70K per year to manage a photocopier when there are real world cuts in care for the elderly, etc, etc. If a school closes and the staff are not needed then they must go, same as if my company closes an office/branch that I'm part off I loose my job. This culture of a job for life in local government is not sustainable.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't your post title be "There are cuts and there are cu*ts"?

Captain Swing said...

Can any of you imagine how Camerons idea about Local Government etc being run as Co-ops with savings made being divided up between the members of the Co-op as an incentive to be productive and efficient, will work here?

My take on this is that there will no service's whatsoever, but these non services will so efficiently and productively run the membership of each and every one of these Co-ops will be fabulously rich.

I must start work on my CV to get me a Job back in Local Government, it's going to be so much fun and reward me with so much lovely money, and who will care about service levels? This surely is a mandate for the lunatics to finally take over the asylum.

Anonymous said...

On a school note
Part of the reason rural schools are going down the swanny faster than Paul Blakes ebay shop is due to the councils home construction policy over the last few years. At a quick tally, Marybank, Blackwater, back of Laxdale hall, Haldane centre, Balamory flats at old library, donnies shop flats on west view, not to mention the development of sandstreet, newmarket, bakers road, the braighe and others by private owners.

Has anyone done any sums as to how many kids live in these houses and flats? There is every encouragement to move islanders to the enclave of SY, perhaps because a centralised population is far easier to control for less money.

So with monstrous proposed developments at Parkend and the old dormitory (probably shelved for a while) thats more folk moving to the city of Stornoway No wonder rural schools roles are plunging! We keep being told our island is dying, so why is there no a village without a newbuild, why do we need all the extra cooncil houses, are there really that many catapillar boot thieving f*ckwits running away up here?

It is a disgrace to close schools such as tong, a thriving village with a lot of young families having moved there in the past few years. Also Sandwick school, perhaps if parents had more faith they wouldn't bypass it straight for SY primary as the council seem to have turned into ostriches about various problems within the school. Very conviniant way to run it down.

Centralisation in all forms will kill the villages and the morale of the population.

Anonymous said...

Centralisation will happen and is happening in all places. The populations are moving nearer the towns for a variety of reasons.
If you have children and work in the town, it is easier to have the children at a school in the town rather than in the village if you live out.
Depopulation is another reason why people are leaving the countryside. If the population is falling (which it is), there comes a point when having a school open for a few kids is not only uneconomic but bad for their education.
If the council was to build houses well out of town, the cost of travelling to work has to be looked at and for many it can be uneconomical.

John Macleod said...

cut back on islands allowance. I mean come on, what the hell is that all about. Council employees already have the cushiest jobs with the best conditions, terms pensions etc. every one of them has a yellow van, or arnol motors hire van. Free fuel, free mobile phones, all the tools and supplies you can make your line manager believe you actually need. Why on earth do they all need a wee booster like islands allowance. Crooks the lot of them, milking our taxes dry

Anonymous said...

John Macleod.....
A fantastic idea. You are back to speaking sense.

And maybe an average salary pension so their actual contributions have a chance of covering it before it becomes unsustainable.

John Macleod said...

Thank You 12:33

There is more than one John Macleod in these islands. Dont mistake me for the other. Perhaps I should go under the alias JM II

On the other hand, if it gets the attention of the public and gets people talking, im happy to be a pretender.