Downing Street has teams of armed police. Barack Obama has a small army of secret service agents with him. Even Harry Potter came up against some sort of many-headed dog/dragon/beast from hell in one of the early books/films.
Here at the Council we have Dave.
Okay, his name isn’t Dave, and there are more than one of him, but for the sake of argument and in the name of anonymity let’s call all of our security staff Dave and be done with it.
Dave generally does a stand-up job. Not a good one, mind you – he literally stands-up just inside the front doors. In theory his job is to stop each and every person who enters the building to make sure that they have official business there, and to ensure that nothing unsafe gets into the hallowed halls of power. Oh, and to stop people using the stairs of course…
I received an entertaining e-mail from a colleague at another local authority this morning and thought I must share:
The council in question had decided that they had a problem with there being too much e-mail.
As the council said:
Recognising this, our senior management team asked the ???? communications network to consider ways of reducing email traffic. In response, the network members have developed an email protocol, that has been endorsed by SMT, which all staff are requested to follow
Then followed their most amusing e-mail protocol which I reproduce in all it’s bureaucratic glory… Enjoy:
Local authorities are trying very hard to find ways to save money and one of the wheezes many are currently investigating is sharing services; or in other words merging departments with other local councils.
But here is the question: What do council’s lose or gain if they share services?
The gain is obvious: and is loosely described as economies of scale which lead to a more efficient service. As an example, if you have five accountants in one authority and five in another it might be that the work can be done by 9 accountants and cover the work for both.
You might also be able to put all the accountants in one office and save the costs of renting two. Finally, you might be able to develop new charging techniques which enable the accountants to ensure they are acting in the most efficient ways.
The problems are more philosophical and address the relationship between the authority and the electorate.