It has far too many jobsworths
THE recent wrangle and politicking over the mayor's and council leader's salary levels should not blind us to the fact that many Bristol City Council staff are very well paid in comparison to their private sector counterparts and are in more secure jobs.
As someone who has worked in both the council and the private sector, I can say there is a massive difference in mindset with many council employees. The council is a big beast and a big bureaucracy. It has some great staff who are committed and hardworking. But it also has far too many jobsworths who simply stick rigidly to procedures and process and who cannot "think outside the box". It is not dynamic and creative, and it is not a wealth-generator. It does not have to compete to stay afloat – it has a captive taxpaying audience, us.
The council's ethos and structure also militate against effectiveness. Too often, staff minds get turned to serving their own interests (maintaining the status quo) rather than trying to do something better or more effective. The emphasis of far too many staff – whether they are aware of it or not – can be on maintaining their job and position, not on serving the Bristol public and taxpayer in the best possible way. Most often it is not the frontline staff who are at fault, it is the layers of "strategic managers" and bureaucracy behind them.
To keep costs down there should be a continuous pay freeze for those above average earnings and a pay comparison review. Public sector pensions are excessively generous and hard-pressed taxpayers simply cannot afford to go on paying for them. We need root and branch review and, if necessary, tough job cuts on backroom managers, not those at the frontline delivering things. Council staff who are not effective should be dealt with as they would be in the private sector – sacked.
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