In the recent article below:
I explained that Lib Dem Leader of Northampton Borough Council Cllr Brian Hoare told us recently that we "might like" the efficiency savings they were making in this years budget, but that we were unable to judge at the time whether or not we would like them ,because there was no details given! What did they entail we asked?
"Things like savings on electric and gas" shouted Perky (Cllr David Perkins) as answer to what these efficiencies were. The audience at the time however not convinced with Perky's explanation asked how many redundancies would be involved, No answer was forthcoming.
Well now we know, after a trawl through the various "efficiency and reorganisation and restructuring plans we can reveal that at least 94 posts are proposed to be removed from the Councils workforce.
These are being 'Consulted on' with staff as we speak and some of those consultations finished on Monday and others continue right up until the day the Cabinet Set the budget next Wednesday, meaning that as Councillors we have to respect the privacy of those consultations by not revealing which posts are under threat.
So next week we will set a budget, the results from the public consultation, which took place in limited form won't say much because the Public were not told much. Alternative options from opposition Councillors will be few and far between because like the public, we have also mainly been kept in the dark, trying our hardest to glean information here or there but being told. "There are no redundancies planned as yet, only consultations"
Now don't get me wrong here, I never thought for one moment that the Council would be able to balance its books without some reductions in the workforce, and if asked I have plenty of suggestions as to what could be cut (The West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit for a start)
But Councils are supposed to be about elected members meeting to take part in full and robust debate on a range of options where we can make real choices and all strive to do what is best for the town.
They should not be about the ruling administration colluding with officers on secret plans, not disclosed to the public which are then presented as a Fait Accompli to backbench councillors and the public let alone the staff who may lose their livelihoods in the process. A Council is the whole sum of all its parts, administration and opposition, and on important matters such as this we should do more to act as one rather than the ruling party trying to play party politics by revealing the good news to us all whilst hiding away the bad from our eyes and ears.
I still can't tell you which jobs will finally go, as that would breach the confidentiality of the information which I have gleaned from the Council but expect less staff to be maintaining our housing stock next year, and less working in our parks and our cemeteries, and less cleaning of our streets, expect less neighbourhood management and less partnership working with the police on the anti social behaviour which troubles so many of our communities, expect less staff working on the recovery of our local economy, and expect less staff to manage our museums, expect less staff to manage or look after our community centres and expect at some time in the future for many of these services to be hived off to the private sector now that they have been made "procurement friendly" by hiding all of the on costs of managing such services.
But the Liberal Democrats will tell you that everythings fine, the public won't notice the difference, and then they will ask you to look at the marvelous new fountain on the Market Square and the not so shiny new paving slabs in Gold Street as proof of their "Improving Council"
It doesn't wash with me, and I don't believe it will with the public either because they didn't have the decency to inform them, instead you have to learn about it here, and wonder why they bothered in the first place to hold public consultations if they were hell bent on keeping the details from us.
If they had been upfront and honest then maybe there could have been some agreement between us as to how to proceed, maybe we could have put some alternative suggestions up for consultation? but their actions have been underhanded and their deception of the public unforgivable.
This lot are not Liberal and they are certainly no Democrats, they shame the very basis of their national parties founding aims and objectives, and those within their fold who know that what is not being said, but being done in their name should have the courage of their convictions and be as critical as the opposition are in their responses to next weeks budget, not just in their group meeting but in the Council chamber as well.
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