Meetings more meetings cannot live without them!

Quoting Amit Kalantri: In meetings philosophy might work, on the field [in real life] practicality works.

In a dream the Guardian met head honcho [he who must be obeyed] we found his suite in the Town Hall where a personal assistant ushered us into a waiting room. Here all the CMBC’s committee chairs were already assembled quietly waiting. When we were directed to pre determined seats in the Council Chamber we saw CMBC’s head honcho Mr. R Tuddenham, sat on his throne, gazing down upon us

We noticed the committees chairs sat in pre arranged groups. As the meeting commenced we sat together. Working his way round the Council Chamber head honcho Mr Tuddenham allowed each committee chair 3 minutes to justify their Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA), i.e. their position. He then announced his judgement, there were 3 possible results

  • Thank you please sit down    
  • Sit down, but please improve, do better
  • Go home now, hand your resignation to my PA as you do

We were taking a keen interest in the proceedings, and having realised the committee chairs sat in 6 pre determined groups, we saw the chairs in one group were preordained for the chop! Guess which one

  • 1 Cabinet Committee Chair
  • 2 Committees / Working Parties with “proper” jobs Use of Resources Committee, Audit Committee also Licensing, Planning Working Parties & Others
  • 4 None Essential Committees Many and various
  • 5 Redundant none essential Committees Standards Committee, Halifax Centre Working Party and others
  • 6 Scrutiny Panel Chairs

We thought: We don’t know a chair including Cllr Tim Swift and his crew who, if they cannot remember the past [decisions made] will be not be condemned to repeat their poor decisions.

Our conclusion? Professional meeting minutes will be the salvation of CMBC when just one scrutiny panel chair, seeing the light has the courage; intelligence to adopt and use them.

See: What prevents CMBC producing Professional Meeting Minutes Nov 15.   

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Change on the way, just Patience required & Member’s Committees Cont’d

Introduction – Change on the way  

We notice the Tax Payer’s Alliance [TPA] recent announcement concerning Local Government amongst other things, we quote:

Our new Grassroots Campaign Manager, Tom Banks, has been hard at work as to how we can build up our fight on the ground. With over a thousand responses already received, we’ve had some great suggestions of how we can ramp up our involvement in towns and cities across the UK.

The Guardian already knows and is in touch with Tom Banks, we also intend to co-operate with the TPA in their efforts, to ensure these include CMBC.

Photo_1The increasingly effective Guardian’s CMBC front line team currently comprises, two commercially experienced gentlemen neither as yet held back by their advancing years. They set and adjust our strategy as needed. One is also the Web Master and Principal “Legal” Proof Reader, the other our Chief Reporter. A lady completes the team, our Chief Researcher, knowledgeable over a number of years and up to date concerning events [the reality] within CMBC. Therefore just continue to watch this space!

Introduction – CMBC Member’s Committees continued

See CMB Committees, aka keeping Cllrs busy August 2016

This is where we covered Scrutiny Panels, in our opinion the principal management committees [facility] through which Cllrs “could” hold CMBC’s Operating Executive to account if they were allowed to do so. We also said we would cover our thoughts later as to other CMBC committees and working parties, essential or otherwise, so here it is!

The following and our previous scrutiny panel detail may not be a complete list of all CMBC committees and working parties. There are too many to shake a stick at, at least 48! [We think 4 less than in 2011.] Quite clearly there is scope for CMBC cost saving and further rationalisation here! This list is those we feel are important or has caught our eye!  Should any Cllr see their favourite, most important committee is missing, please tell us

CMBC Member’s Committees and Working Parties, our Comments continued    

The majority of CMBC Member’s Committees, including scrutiny committees do not use or maintain meeting minutes suitable for purpose, [a responsibility of the committee chair.] As many of them miss attending all their committee meetings it may be very difficult for them to respond to questions about their committees. Thus it is even more difficult for the outsider to ascertain the effectiveness or otherwise of CMBC committees. We assume this is intentional, as it provides an easy life for the Cllrs involved?

Important Committees covering the whole of CMBC Scrutiny Panels covered previously

1 Governance & Business Committee: Cllr Robert Thornber

We know these points have been made to Cllr Robert Thornber;

  • There are Cllrs who do not respond to questions about issues that come before their committees. Professional meeting minutes would resolve this issue. In the meantime this is an issue for this committee and Cllr Robert Thornber!  
  • It is a fact some Cllrs find it is quite acceptable not to respond to emails or other messages anyway despite having equipment, supplied by CMBC to do so. This is certainly an issue for this committee, unless;     

There is a process for making a complaint concerning a Cllr’s performance, say via the Head of Democratic & Partnership Services, an appropriate statistic i.e. measureable data, to be included in the new Cllrs Annual report [This issue cannot be one for the Standards Committee, see later]  

“Complaints and Local Government Officers” was a recent [5th August] agenda item for G & B so perhaps this issue is now well on the way to being resolved. If this Committee cannot resolve this issue, which committee can?

2 Audit Committee: Cllr Stephen Baines

We hope an external none voting audit professional is included?

3 Use of Resources Committee: Cllr Michael Jon Payne

Council financial procedures: Directorates are required to report to Scrutiny Panel [the Resources Panel] on their overall revenue monitoring position, 3 times per year and to forecast any services controlled variances.

24th August, a 6 page report including a 9 line data table, the rest mainly bureaucratic verbiage from the head of finance was on the agenda. At 31st May the council was under spent by £47,489 ie .0007 of the budget [£661,449,000.] Do I hear what superb financial management! If so, it isn’t, it is the opposite. A loose global budget always [usually] ensures expenses can be fitted to the budget [the figure first thought of!]

As a temporary measure we propose this committee accepts Scrutiny Responsibility for the Human Resources (HR) Department in order commence a speedy reduction of the current, unacceptable Staff Absenteeism Rates. See the Conclusion, CEO’s Back Office Scrutiny Panel    

4 Standards Committee & its Sub Committees: Rev’d Barber

  • Standards Committee Assessment Sub Committee
  • Standards Committee Hearings Panel
  • Standards Committee Review Sub Committee

Meeting only 3 times a year, [last meeting 22nd August] they can hardly be “important,” the presence of its part time top honcho [chair] cannot be guaranteed and following a change to the Localism Act this committee is no longer a CMBC statutory requirement

CMBC should immediately close it down, (**) bank the savings made and transfer any requirements to develop or discuss CMBC standards as they arise, to the Communities Scrutiny Panel, Chair Cllr Graham Hall. The Communities Directorate is currently [but incorrectly] responsible for CMBC Human Relations, (HR) CMBC standards belong here

(**) We believe the Governance & Business Committee, Chair Robert Thornber have already met more than once to “look at the future of the Standards Committee.” Surely the common sense solution here is blindingly obvious! Save at least £750 to £1,000 pa  

When HR is returned to the responsibility of the CEO or preferably given no CEO, when a new Senior Administration Manager responsible for HR answering to a Finance Director is appointed, a new HR Scrutiny Committee should be created   

5 The Health and Wellbeing Board

Should this still exist the Guardian suggests its duties and responsibilities are handed over to a “regenerated” i.e. a 9 member Adult Health Directorate Scrutiny Panel chaired by Cllr Marilyn Greenwood. See the Guardian’s committee quorum (5) proposal, CMB Council Committees aka keeping Cllrs busy August 2016  

Current principal CMBC Working Parties

E & O excepted as the lists which follow are based upon our current knowledge  

Most Important Working Parties

  1. Calderdale Children’s Social Care Improvement Board
  2. Children’s Services Support Team
  3. Corporate Parenting Panel
  4. External Review of Children’s Services Scrutiny Group
  5. Fostering Panel
  6. Academies Working Party
  7. Post 16 Education
  8. Pupil Referral Unit Management Committee
  9. Regulation 33 Visits
  10. Care Homes for Older People Review
  11. Procurement
  12. 12 Adoption Panel

“Less Important”  Working  Parties

In this context: Less does not mean these working parties are not important. From the working party titles’ following it is clear there is [perhaps considerable] scope for rationalisation here, disbandment of some and amalgamation for others   

  1. Area Forum Steering GroupCalderdale Economic Task Force
  2. Calderdale Compact Steering Group
  3. Calderdale Tourism Board
  4. Community Engagement
  5. Community Services
  6. Grants Panel
  7. Constitutional Matters Development Group
  8. Capital Programme
  9. Elland Civic Centre & Library Local Development Project Steering Group
  10. Halifax Centre
  11. Halifax First Delivery or is it Development? Group
  12. Member Development [Cllr training, well overdue a rethink!]
  13. Museum’s Collection Advisory Group
  14. Todmorden Town Centre Regeneration Board
  15. Civic Advisory Group
  16. Employment Committee
  17. Employees Forum
  18. Employees Forum (Education Staff Unions)
  19. Appeals Panel
  20. Licensing Sub Committee
  21. Licensing & Regulatory Committee
  22. Planning Committee

A final comment

We have come across a Waste Treatment Procurement Steering Group. Given recent events in this directorate E&E, then our proposal, should this group still exist is it be immediately disbanded. Any members [Cllrs] still wishing to remain within the CMBC committee fold to be made subject to immediate re training. Watch this space

Conclusion

New Scrutiny Panels required

  • HR Scrutiny Panel. An essential panel to lift staff morale
  • CEO’s Back Office Scrutiny Panel. Another essential panel to commence effective none value adding overhead management

Additional Working Parties required

  • Office Location Development Plan. (Due to the continuing reduction of officer numbers)
  • None Mandatory Services Privatision Planning Group. E.g. Cultural and Sporting Services
  • Volunteers Working Party Group. The talent, experience of volunteers must be encouraged as these could replace ineffective CMBC officers! Volunteers should not be used as low grade, unthinking labour by overpaid senior CMBC officers! E.g. CMBC now has a mandatory duty to create a Local Access Forum, (LAF) an ideal task for local volunteers, this task is most probably still on the to do list. Local volunteers will know Calderdale better than many officers! Thus from start to finish the LAF should be a voluntary operation overseen and administered by one competent E & E Secretary
  • Bureaucracy Reduction & Use of Plain English Working Party

Finally

CMBC should create one specific area on their website for all  Committee details including fit for purpose professional meeting minutes and a timetable [schedule] of committee and working Party Meetings covering the next calendar year

This simple action alone could kick start the administrative management improvements required in CMBC! See What prevents CMBC producing professional meeting minutes? November 2015

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Holding Councillors to Account

It would be good if the electorate each year could measure the performance of their ward councillors. It would also be a good idea if Cllrs could measure at least once per year the performance of their principal officers, the top 18 senior officers aka the fat cats. The annual salary bill for this group and their personal support staff is about £4M – £6M

We know the idea of measuring personal performance in CMBC is anathema, this would require individual targets and publicly as to how or if the target was met!

Perhaps change is on the way with Cllrs being the first guinea pigs [victims] should they cooperate. (We believe on 4th April 2016 it was agreed a Cllrs annual reporting system would be introduced with a target publication date of August 2016)

Basically the idea is each Cllr will complete for publication by August each year an Annual Report. The proposal contained a template with six headings

003

 

 

 

 

Cllrs were, are also supplied with

  • A one page guidance as to the completion of their report
  • A sample report, written by a neutral! The mayor, Cllr Blagborough, 3 pages

There is nothing here of course that can actually be measured but if anything comes of this then at least it is a step in the right direction!  

Conclusion

We wonder, of our 51 Cllrs how many have now completed and submitted their annual reports on time, have any responded “not for me” providing the equivalent of a nil return!

Based upon this template we wonder if any Cllr will have the guts, the courage to design a similar template suitable for use by the 18 senior officers, the fat cats plus a document to go with this to provide a motion for the next full council meeting.

Perhaps no progress whatsoever has been made! Quoting an email from CMBC Democratic Services Officer Peter Burton 30th April 2016: Unfortunately owing to limited resources, it has not yet been possible to establish the new arrangements so no reports are yet available for publication watch this space!  

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CMBC – Team Players?

Introduction We dream, our fantasy football team,  

Dejected at half time troop off the field, veteran [Cllr Stephen Baines MBE] is exhausted; clearly he will not take any further part in this game. On contract until 2018 a smaller club may make an offer, any offer!

The spectators [voters] decide the team’s defender [of the status quo, Cllr Janet Battye] is replaced. A players committee [council members] decide team captain [Cllr Tim Swift] despite the team’s inadequate performance will retain his position  

The new manager [Calderdale Guardian] gives a half time team talk making the point the team’s tactics [system] and captain need to change. Changing the system takes time as does finding a stand out, effective captain!

The team still dejected wander out for the second half; the spectator’s growl not more of the same! The manager pulls his cap down and turns up his collar. As the spectators growl louder, an open goal missed, [discussing flowers rather than a timetable to save £15M,] the dream now changes to:

The Calderdale Guardian Manifesto. The list is “endless” a decent council would:         

  • Commence to make the £15M savings already identified by the Guardian
  • Drop CMBC’s regional management model [upper, lower valley etc concept]
  • Reduce the ratio of managers & administrators from 30% to less than 15%
  • Reduce the number of Directors by two, include their staff
  • Reduce the current unacceptable staff absence levels by 50%
  • Centralise purchasing, reduce 300 plus purchasing officers to 15 maximum
  • Reduce use of external consultants, pass this work to CMBC Directors
  • Implement conventional meeting minutes thereby empowering Scrutiny Panels
  • Activate the potential for Senior Management Earn Back. [Management Targets]  
  • Consider localism, encourage positive opposition, all parties to be involved!     

The Captain is fragile he criticises a spectator for using bad language, mafia. (**) His team spend games in their own half, perhaps to prevent embarrassing home goals such as the Halifax Car Parking Muddle [£1M plus] still no apologies. They are rabbits caught in the headlights of a car not knowing which way to go to avoid the pending disaster!

(**) Mafia a noun, a group of close friends, there are numerous alternatives we could have picked e.g. insiders, ring, clique, comrades.  

No doubt Cllr Tim Swift and his acolytes consider their CMBC involvement to be a full time job in which case they should concentrate not on politics but concentrate upon doing a proper job. Should they not be able to do this, let someone else try!    

Conclusion

The teams owner Roman Abramovich, or is this Calderdale Ratepayers, will be amazed at the change, the new positive results being achieved as the team, CMBC climbs up the table to our mutual benefit!   

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Calderdale MBC Committees, aka keeping Cllrs busy

Introduction

After passing any ward members issues to council officers what do Cllrs do to earn their corn, they disappear into the Council’s committee meeting system. Some Cllrs “not committee addicts” just disappear. [A CMBC committee, normally a group of Cllrs who as individuals can do nothing but as a group decide nothing can be done!]  

All CMBC committees should be value adding but a majority are ineffective political point scoring shops. This is due to the continuing grip of CMBC’s controlling mafia, the minority ruling elite Cllrs Tim Swift, Barry Collins and their acolytes’ who for various reasons are content to retain the status quo and their well paid positions   

All Cllrs should account to the voters as to where they have spent their time and exactly what they have actually achieved during the past year. (**) This would bring into the open the poor value of CMBC scrutiny panels and many other committees. Membership of under achieving committees, interesting to Cllrs is a complete waste of time and money, Cllrs know this, especially council leaders!

(**) To date Cllrs do not have to account for their council activities watch this space!

If Cllrs expect to obtain value for money from the hours spent in committee meetings they need to develop, implement, adhere to and use professional meeting minutes, see: What prevents CMBC producing Professional Meeting Minutes Nov 2015   

CMBC minutes are unfit for purpose [facilitating management.] Minutes normally list the decisions made allowing members to be held to account for their actions or lack of action. Anathema within CMBC! CMBC minutes are useless! Perfect within CMBC!

Continuity of operations should be the norm such that outstanding items from the last meeting or before are always brought forward at the next meeting. Thus progress, given CMBC, slow progress but progress none the less will be made!

The Governance and Business Committee has recently agreed, we quote:

(b) The Head of Democratic and Partnership Services be requested to amend Part 4, Rules of Procedure in the Council’s Constitution to include ‘Apologies for Absence’ as a standing item. It would appear this may now have been interpreted to apply to meetings listed on the official CMBC calendar [adding complexity, why?] members arriving late and leaving early should be noted except for full council meetings, why?

This has been implemented but just for some meetings. This is the major management issue preventing progress, quite pathetic! Cllrs read the article mentioned above then get a grip; do what we pay you to do?

In order to facilitate continuity of operations the political substitute system must be replaced by a Quorum system. Increase Scrutiny Panel members from 7 to 9 [KISS.] No quorum (5), the meeting cannot start. Quorum lost during a meeting, closes the meeting

Finally using Tyndale’s language [1526] Verily, verily I say unto you Committees beget Sub Committees! Delays decisions, creates further work for dedicated members but attracts others into the fold, those who missed the initial call. Watch this space!

 2016/17 CMBC Committees

In 2012 there were about 21 Committees and 38 working parties, say a total of 59 more than sufficient for our numerous Councillors (51) if invited, to occupy their time

In these Guardian’s early days we explored the council’s committee system to get an initial feel of the reality that was CMBC. We are wiser today and we can include various comments and points received from our readers during the past year

Scrutiny Panels

1 Adult Health: Chair Cllr Marilyn Greenwood

Through experience the writer is aware the make and model of the key safe provided to its users by CMBC’s Adult Health, “Gateway to Care Service” is unfit for purpose, it is so easy to open with no knowledge of the PIN. [Key safes are used by the old and or infirm to allow access to their homes for their health service providers. [YouTube even had a video showing how to open CMBC’s Key Safe!]

The writer emailed the full details of this to his then Private Health Provider and to CMBC Adult Health Director Bev Maybury and CEO Merran McRae [9th January 2016] asking:

  • Is your management already aware of this problem as a result of my conversation with your employees, yes or no?
  • What are your intentions / your plan concerning this?   

As we expect from CMBC there has been no acknowledgement, let alone a response.

Cllrs Marilyn Greenwood, Tim Swift a “small” issue here for your Scrutiny Panel? Should a reader know someone who uses a key safe provided by CMBC, further details are available from the Calderdale Guardian

2 Children & Young People: Chair Cllr Geraldine Carter

Cllr Geraldine Carter and her Scrutiny Panel must examine the ratio of administration and management officers, 30%, [an annual cost of £6M plus] to the total officers employed. This current ratio is just not good enough, it needs to be reduced!

3 Communities: Chair Cllr Graham Hall

Has Cllr Hall drawn the short straw, chair of the Scrutiny Panel for this huge operational directorate incorporating HR, ICT Business Change & Support, all in effect “managed” by the actual head of CMBC! Who as we know is Mr Robin Tuddenham?

The Guardian’ best estimate as to the number of FT communities officers based upon March 2012 figures reduced since then by 4% pa is 708

Cllr Hall may, just may be assisted by the Cabinet Member responsible for Business Change & Support: Cllr Lisa Lambert who we believe, previously got her head around the problems of the Middle East! We hope Cllr Lambert will find with some cabinet assistance it is a good deal easier to improve progress within business change in CMBC!

4 E & E: Chair Cllr James Baker.

There are also 2 Cabinet Members holding some responsibility here, namely Cllrs Barry Collins and Daniel Sutherland. Watch this space, we will return to E & E

5 Public Health: The CEO

This small directorate 20 / 25 FTE officers does not have a Scrutiny Panel, quite possibly this will be the most mysterious, bureaucratic directorate Cllrs have. In a rational CMBC this would be a department within Adult Health  

6 CEO’s Back Office: The CEO

The Guardian’s estimate of the number of FT back office employees, based upon March 2012 figures reduced since then by 4% pa is around 450. This does not include HR or ICT officers as these are currently part of Communities, a big mistake!

Within the CEO’s directorate these 450 officers are hidden away rarely scrutinised there being no Scrutiny Panel in this area. There should be at least two Scrutiny Panels here, one covering Finance and Purchasing; with the Audit Committee being a subcommittee of Finance, the other panel covers the rest!       

Conclusion

Scrutiny Panels are the principal management committees through which Cllrs “could” hold CMBC’s Operating Executive to account! Having covered all the principal CMBC operations requiring close attention of a Scrutiny Panel, following this article will be our thoughts as to the other CMBC committees essential or otherwise

If Cllrs were in charge of CMBC the Guardian would suggest creating a further Scrutiny Panel within the CEO’s Directorate, Democratic and Partnership Services, a Plain English Introduction and Bureaucracy Reduction Review Panel

Finally, Cllrs Competency Certification

  • Question 1 What is the purpose of CMBC Scrutiny Panels?
  • Question 2 Do they currently achieve this purpose, if so give examples!  
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Selecting a Starting Place

Introduction

Apologies, whilst this is not difficult to read or understand, alas it has a lot of words. It is recommended reading especially for Cllr James Baker and his Scrutiny Panel Members as the Guardian sets out the background for the thinking we propose they develop!

We commence, Cllrs you all know, will have your opinion, as where to start, start what you might ask, implement professional management in CMBC! You will appreciate this starting place, a directorate, ideally should be the biggest and best basket case CMBC has to offer. Based upon a recent Freedom of information [FOI] request to CMBC one directorate above all others stands out  

Question 1 Have any changes been made to the management structure of this directorate or has a new director been appointed with the management structure remaining as before?

Response 1 An interim management structure is currently in place which is different to that which was in place before.

Comment: This does not answer our question! [The answer must be a secret] This really doesn’t matter much, at best it illustrates a lack of attention to detail, at worst it illustrates the arrogance, even the ignorance of CMBC  

Question 2 Has any reduction in FTE officer numbers been made since June 2015, are any further FTE officer number reductions planned to be made up to March 2017?

Response 2 Two FTE officers have left since June 2015 due to redundancy.

Comment: We presume these will be the two non performing senior officers previously in charge of this directorate.

We do not hold any information as yet on any planned reductions up to March 2017. A number of savings are being implemented in 2016/17 which will lead to reductions in staffing numbers.

Comment: There is little long term planning in CMBC. However there can be little doubt the CMBC employees at risk will know senior managers are safe but will not know if they will escape forth coming cuts. No wonder staff morale in CMBC is low!  

However, the availability of capital investment for a number of projects (including flood recovery and flood prevention investment), and the need for technical staff to deliver those projects, is a counter balancing factor.

Comment: Bureaucratic flummery [a filler little to do with our question] an illustration of CMBC’s lack of forward planning and its obsession for secrecy, no figures available!

Question As there can now be no need to keep this information confidential, what were the costs incurred with the Halifax Car Parking Problem, broken down between

Question 3 a) value of charges waived during the period when none were collected

Response 3 a) £555k an estimated figure based on the approximate [understated?] loss of Pay & Display Income during the period of non-enforcement/suspension of charges.

Question 3 b) Cost of resolving, verifying the legality of the issue and then resolving it:

Response 3 b) Information not held. Officers do not allocate the time spent on individual projects this includes the correction of the RTO’s [Road Traffic Orders] and related work.

Comment: CMBC have no activity costing system thus they have little or no idea as to the actual direct cost of providing their services, let alone the cost of resolving unexpected issues such as this! Our intelligent guess, estimate of staff costs, for legal work, advice of legal consultants, time taken to calculate and refund charges made, to set in place, and manage the introduction the new RTO’s is £500k  

Question 3 c) Cost of the charges refunded

Response 3 c) £12,487.25

Question 3 d) Cost of verifying and refunding these parking charges

Response 3 d) as per answer 3b, Officers do not record the time spent on individual projects.  We received a total of 25,425 refund claims.

  • 12,652 P&D tickets were accepted and refunds made.
  • 12,773 P&D ticket claims were rejected.
  • Each claim took approximately 3 minutes to assess and respond to.

Comment: We calculate 33 weeks, then allowing for a 25% rest allowance, tea breaks etc say 42 weeks, then add the “standard CMBC administration and management support required” 30% say 55 weeks, at an average total salary cost of say £35,000 per officer, the total salary cost of this exercise we estimate will have been around £38,500

Cost summary Question 3  

3a) CMBC estimate loss of Pay & Display Income £555,000

3b) Guardian estimate, intelligent guess for setting up to RTOs etc £500,000

3c) CMBC cost of charges refunded £12,487

3d) Guardian estimate cost of resolving P&D ticket claims £38,500

Likely Grand Total cost of the CMBC Great Halifax Car Parking Muddle £1.1M

Question 3 e) The job title of the officer/s responsible for this issue

Response 3 e) Head of Democratic & Partnership Services and Head of Planning & Highways

Comment:  Senior Officers Ian Hughes and Ian Gray. Mr Gray used his finely tuned Darwinian abilities and long ago moved on to be Interim Director of Service Delivery with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Yes Service Delivery!  

To the best of our knowledge not even an apology has been offered by these senior CMBC officers or by Council Leader Cllr Tim Swift or his Cabinet for this £1.1M loss  

We have been talking about the Economy & Environment Directorate.

Readers will recall when the news of this administrative disaster, a debacle, broke and after the ineffective E and E Director and his principal assistant departed, April 2016 CMBC’s CEO woke up to create a Task and Finish Highways Development Board. [Bureaucratic speak, a real mouthful] meaning, unlike other tasks, this task will be finished! See our article at the time, Economy and Environment Directorate

This Board we are told has completed its work. But quoting Cllr Scott Benton, Brighouse Echo “Inside the Council” June/July 2016 Highways Service is unfit for purpose. So who will be aware of the current situation, perhaps the E and E Scrutiny Panel Chair, Cllr James Baker? However we now continue to review our FOI request

Question 4 What adjustments, proposals of the Highways Task & Finish Group (HTAFB) have been adopted?

Question 5 What adjustments, proposals of the HTAFB have still to be adopted?

Response 4 & 5

  • The appointment of a new Head of Service and creation of four Corporate Leads has largely replaced the standalone items within the Task & Finish Group. The task and finish group served to highlight that a number of specific issues and historic challenges were preventing the service from moving ahead.  The approach of that group – 12 months ago – did not fully take into consideration the merits of different leadership and different investment strategies (i.e. recent investment in LED technology to reduce service failure versus employing more resources to fix defects).
  • The recent ‘Pothole Blitz’ was an example of the new approach which the Task & Finish Group never considered. This sought to reshape service delivery response to tackle potholes during the spring rather than wait until summer to fix them
  • The service is in a period transformation and whilst the detail of each aspect  of that Group has been fed into work programmes and cultural change – rather than being a project in its own right The following are however examples of some areas where improvements continue to be made.
  • Street Naming and numbering have been transferred to planning, along with one ½ FTE
  • Handheld devices are being trailed with Safety Inspectors and with the intention that they will be rolled out to other mobile workers over the coming months.
  • Review of the procedure for overhanging vegetation and highways trees is taking place in collaboration with Safer Cleaner Greener
  • Email alert to members on utility works in their ward has been in place since Autumn 2015

Comment A: CMBC admits the CEO’s Group [HTAFB] failed to achieve its objectives, this issue in E & E remains “largely” [CMBC’s word] unresolved

Comment A1: How clever, a “Pot Hole Blitz” i.e. list all the pot holes Calderdale has and then go off and fill them in, ticking them off the list until no more remain, a brilliant idea

Comment A2, 1 – 4: Bureaucratic flimflam gives the impression we have a plan [a minor one, nothing mind blowing] this will succeed; we know what we are doing! No reality here

Question 6 What external consultant’s proposals have been adopted?

Answer 6 Not applicable no external consultants were appointed. The Board was an internal group with no external parties.

Comment 6: We dispute this response to be a clear, intentional misreading of our question! Tying this question together with our previous question/s concerning CEO’s Group HTAFB [Highways Task and Finish Board] reveals CMBC to be what it is, an untruthful self serving bureaucracy!   

Question 7 What external consultant’s proposals have still to be adopted [are still outstanding?]

Response 7 See question 6

Comment 7: As at August 2015 the height of the panic, external consultants were crawling all over the Economy and Environment Directorate [we know this following a previous FOI request.] External consultants may still be present today or their recommendations may still be awaiting implementation!

Question 8 What external consultant’s reports are still awaited, and the dates these are expected

Response 8 See question 6

Comment 8: See previous

Question 9 What is the current strategy of this Directorate and the tactics [tasks] required to achieve this Directorate’s strategic objective?

Response 9 Directorate strategy and objectives are delivered through the management structures and embedded where required in personal objectives with relevant Officers

Comment 8: An absolutely pathetic non answer to the question asked, confirms CMBC’s untruthful self serving bureaucracy.  Reality is the E & E Directorate appears be short on leadership it is near rudderless, so what is its strategy, does it have one?

Should this not be a fair comment no doubt Cllr James Baker E & E Scrutiny Panel Chair will correct this, so the Guardian can bring its readers up to date?     

Conclusion

There may have been a new director recently appointed, perhaps Mark Thompson a CMBC insider, previously Head of Housing Environment Renewal. Mr Thompson was appointed temporary director a year ago to 30th June 2016 at a salary of £119.000.

If so he may prove acceptable should he adopt new ways of working i.e. commercial management practices. If not CMBC must open a door for him allowing him to walk into the real world preferably taking with him any team of like minded acolytes he may have!  

Responsible Cllrs: Cabinet, Barry Collins & Daniel Sutherland, Scrutiny, James Baker

So what next for this Directorate, this basket case it surely cannot be the Economy and Environment Directorate is responsible for waste collection? Watch this space!      

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Councillor Education

PhythagorusThe Guardian no longer accepts the excuse popular of many Cllrs, I do not understand Accounts. Unfortunately, a lack of ability in the fine art of accounting [logical thinking and mathematics] prevents a Cllr taking part in facilitating the changes required by CMBC.

Once elected to the Council unless previously involved with local government bureaucracy, what education is on offer to help Cllrs with their new life outside the normal world they may have previously inhabited?

We discussed this topic in October 2014 see: A case for Training Councillors. We are not aware of any progress made since then but with our increased knowledge of the reality that is CMBC we are now in a better position to consider this. In 2014 following a FOI request the training available was a Member (Councillor) Development Programme

  • Planning for Ward Councillors – Key issues concerning Planning Applications
  • Corporate Parenting – Councillors are Corporate Parents for Children in the care of CMBC
  • Introduction to Licensing – For Licensing & Regulatory Committee Members
  • Dealing with the Press – To give an understanding of the positive news value of activities of the Council [no training needed concerning negative news!]
  • Introduction to Local Government Finance [no mandatory attendance here!]
  • Making the Speech in the Council Chamber [reality is better learnt by observation in the council chamber]  

This schedule designed by Senior Officers helps retain continuity it does not help councillors to facilitate their management role within the council. Senior Officers those in charge of CMBC have no interest in allowing Cllrs to be involved in council management as this could threaten the status quo, their overpaid comfortable positions!

All councillors should take a full part in managing the council therefore in addition to “knowledge of the council’s operations” what are the main attributes, potential training needs Cllrs need to help them do this:

1 Confidence to insist upon the use of Plain English

Albert Einstein stated those who use bureaucracy do not understand the topic in question, he was right! Fortunately written bureaucracy is relatively easy to overcome. A bureaucratic, difficult to read and to understand document received by a councillor/s should be simply returned to its originator, “Please rewrite in plain English”

A bureaucratic speech or statement made in the council chamber should be halted with a simple repost; this is difficult to understand, please use plain English! Councillors are easily duped by this Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome, if necessary hand this issue over to the CEO!

2 Logical thinking: an ability and competence in basic mathematics, the creation and use of simple formulae, the understanding of averages and percentages. There is always a problem here with CMBC’s principal set of figures, the Annual Council Accounts. This huge bureaucratic document, normally 80 plus pages, is always prepared and presented to prevent Cllrs and any other normal person understanding it!

Example: CMBC’s 2014/15 Draft Accounts – Freedom of Information Request

Our Question:

Concerning the 2015/16 CMBC Annual Accounts Draft – see page 17, can you please provide the following information?

  • A detailed line by line value analysis by department of the expenditure items making up the £900k not distributed costs
  • An explanation and the detail of the £8.895M Impairment of Assets.

It is normal practice for those keeping accounts to create “waste baskets” aka black holes in which to dump the bits and pieces not warranting their own named slot. In CMBC bits and pieces can build up to be very large totals, these two total £9,795,000!

These dumps are useful locations to hide embarrassing expenditures and other mistakes made during the year, hence our FOI question clearly asking to be given specific answers, that is a detailed line by line analysis of each total

The CMBC officer who picked up this FOI request [Ian Hughes Head of Democratic and Partnership Services] ignored our questions and resorting to bureaucracy responded as follows, we quote:

Answer Q1 None distributed costs are technical pension accounting entries for past service. They reflect the increase in pension scheme liabilities for service rendered in the past rather than in the current year. These charges are stripped out elsewhere in the accounts and therefore are not met by council taxpayers.

Comment: Why CMBC receiving a charge, for past years or not, then strips these from the accounts escapes the Guardian’s understanding. (At some time CMBC [ratepayers] will meet these charges) But revealing the Officers in receipt of retrospective pension increases and their individual amounts we guess could be embarrassing

Answer Q2 During 2015/16, over £250m of the Council’s assets (land and buildings) were revalued. Where the value of an asset goes down, it is written down against any gains (upward revaluations) previously recognised. Where there are insufficient gains, any excess is written off to the income and expenditure account. The £8.895m relates to a number of such assets, principally cultural and related service assets. As above, although these charges have to be accounted for, they do not have to be paid for and are therefore stripped out before determining the amount chargeable to council taxpayers

Comment regarding: “Any excess is written off to the income and expenditure account” [the purpose here is to hide this from view, CMBC does not wish all and sundry to be aware depreciation is not managed as it should be

“The £8.895m relates to a number of cultural and related service assets. Although these charges have to be accounted, they do not have to be paid [who can supply this info?] they are therefore stripped out before determining the amount chargeable to council taxpayers” [Bureaucratic nonsense, a plain English explanation is required. What expensive, ineffective, convoluted no value adding accountancy does this hide?]

Being CMBC Smoke and Mirrors these responses are not an answer, unless the proper place for a Ratepayer is a blacked out room without a torch. Senior Officers and the Council Cabinet playing the CMBC political game no doubt find this amusing, it is not!

Come on Mr Ian Hughes, despite the fact CMBC has no decent commercial accounting system you must be better than this? Arise, answer the questions we asked!

Note: there is a definite need to change the presentation of CMBC’s local government annual accounts to a format which for the first time allows Cllrs and the Electors to see the detail of when, where and how the money is actually spent! Which Cllr who knows this will pick up this challenge?

3 What should Motivate Cllrs

The need to show electors they are providing value for money, i.e. all are fully involved in council business for the first time in years accepting the fact professional management is needed to change the status quo! Creating a council model where the Cabinet is happy to review new ideas for resolving major long standing problems is the norm, a Cabinet which welcomes a positive opposition!  Watch this space

The Cllrs challenge is to: overcome the previous ineffective and unsuccessful old guard, those members happy to waste £15M and more each year. Nothing to do with politics, everything to do with implementing modern commercial practice in CMBC

Conclusion

Cllrs be aware sorting out CMBC is not difficult it is not as it has been made out to be by your past ineffective and unsuccessful political leaders. The power lies in your hands, just get a grip and seize it!

The Councillors and Scrutiny Panel Chair Responsible

  • The Mayor: Cllr Howard Blagborough
  • Party Leaders Cllrs: James Baker, Scott Benton and Tim Swift
  • Governance & Business Committee Chair: Cllr Robert Thornber
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Council Meeting Wednesday 20th July – Matters Arising

The Guardian has been informed at the full Council Meeting, 20th July, after 5 years of effort; we very nearly succeeded in getting an “honourable” mention not by any councillor, but by the great unfortunately ineffective Cabinet Leader Cllr Tim Swift  

Free thinking Cllr Colin Raistrick made a short speech encouraging the three main parties to put their leadership credentials on the line and begin a new spirit of cooperation. The repost from Cllr Tim Swift intending to retain his tight mafia like grip on power, the status quo was – he thought Cllr Raistrick had changed into me, he must think Cllr Raistrick is no longer his own man just my clone!

Why does Cllr Tim Swift refer to the Guardian’s Chief Reporter and not the Calderdale Guardian? He must think this will avoid releasing the genie from the bottle, the reality that is CMBC, a bureaucratic costly and ineffective council, for years under his leadership, lacking modern professional management!

Politics is a nasty unproductive business but accusing a Cllr of being a clone of someone else is a clear sign of defeat! Cllr Swift knows he cannot refute the case as it has been developed over the past few years and then put forward by the Guardian. In Calderdale cooperation is the way forward confrontational politics the status quo, has failed.

Cllr Swift, not just a Councillor but also the Council Leader, we know is happy to continue playing this ineffective political game indefinitely, with no opposition to speak of he is good at it, the best by a mile! Unfortunately in the opinion of the Guardian and others it is time he removed his head from the sand bucket. Even if he may be financially dependent upon CMBC, he should accept a simple fact, cooperation and professional commercial management not confrontation and bureaucracy is now the way forward

Where is the Opposition to Cllr Swift’s costly ineffective Ruling Elite?    

An impossible question to answer at the moment, except for occasional ineffective sound bites, political sniping, the Guardian cannot detect any opposition positive or otherwise  

In the immediate past Conservative and Liberal Democrat Cllrs have kept quiet hiding behind the excuse, “we can do nothing, we are not in power.” They are also happy to play the great CMBC political game whilst Senior Officers remain in charge of CMBC keeping all Members in line to preserve their ineffective bureaucracy, the status quo.

Given two new leaders Cllrs Scott Benton, Con. and James Baker, Lib/Dem. there was, perhaps still is, a hope some positive effective opposition might develop

It is now clear the hope these two young lions might cooperate, might even remove the ineffective Ruling Elite was to say the least naive as it seems the great CMBC political game takes precedence over any thought of service to the Calderdale Community

The question remains, will there be a positive overt [public] opposition to CMBC’s ineffective Cabinet, the Ruling Elite and if so what are the potential possibilities

  • A Conservative Members Group looking for efficient professional management
  • A Liberal Democrat Members Group looking for more consensual management
  • Two CMBC Independent Members looking for some common sense
  • A possibility of at least one noticeable even effective Scrutiny Panel
  • The Calderdale Guardian continuing to reveal the reality that is CMBC

There is so much scope for improvement within CMBC that not to have a positive opposition is a near criminal act. CMBC has a complete lack of any Commercial Management associated with modern commercial rules, everywhere you look you find bureaucracy standing in the way of progress! 

If you do not believe this, study the table we have prepared and answer this question [a Guardian “GCE O, perhaps A Level” examination question for CMBC councillors]  

Introduction: The Children and Young Peoples Directorate has employees scattered between at least 15 locations. Question: How would you bring efficient and effective management to this organisation? The Challenge: 131 managers and administration officers to manage 297 workers is not acceptable, reduce this ratio by 50%, to 65

Change is difficult none more so than here as any change will be opposed by those actually in charge of CMBC, overpaid Senior Officers. Obviously C & YP and Adult Health should be the last directorates subject to major change, the implementation of Professional Management therefore we suggest Economy & Environment go first!   

Unfortunately, C & Y People is the only Directorate where the Guardian currently has the information needed to show how a directorate’s FTE Officers are actually spread across the Borough, namely: The C & Y People’s 17 departmental organisation charts, 428 FTE [Errors & Omissions on these charts excepted]

Also see our previous article: A need of Professional Management – Cut Bureaucracy and its excessive costs  

CMBC – THE UPPER, MID & LOWER VALLEY MANAGEMENT CONCEPT – STAFF LOCATION – CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLES DIRECTORATE

002

C & Y People’s Directorate: Scrutiny Panel Chair & Cabinet Member Responsible  

  • Scrutiny Panel Chair: Cllr Geraldine Carter and Members
  • Cabinet Member: Cllr Megan Swift  

Finally an interesting point [rules are rules]

The Guardian has been told the special responsibility allowance cut off point for payments to group leaders and deputy leaders is the group must include at least 10% of CMBC Members. The Lib/Dems now have 5 members, as there are 51 members in total the Lib/Dems 9.80% now falls below the SRA cut off point.

If this is correct savings should now be made in member’s special responsibility allowances [SRA] and a saving should also be made of one Political Assistant Officer.

However if the Guardian’s recommendations concerning political assistants are adopted and eligibility to their services is extended to the two Independent Members the Guardian would be happy to retain the existing 3 political assistants

See, The CMBC Political Assistant, 22 July 2016

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A Need for Professional Management – Cut Bureaucracy and its Excessive Costs

Introduction

The Guardian has spent time thinking through comments made following a recent article where we mentioned the CMBC upper, mid and lower valley management concept. Follow up – Annual Accounts Advantages given less Bureaucracy.

The Guardian proposes professional management is introduced to CMBC so as to reduce the excessive number of admin and senior management officers employed by the council. We do not accept any reduction to front line staff, those who provide CMBC’s mandatory services especially children’s social services, quite the opposite

This upper, mid, lower management methodology distributes officers throughout Calderdale. E.g. C & Y People’s Directorate require 31% of their officers to manage the officers who deliver the service, these being spread over at least 15 locations. (See **)

An annual salary cost of £6,955,000 reduced by half, 131 officers to 65 would save about £3.5M pa, money which could be spent upon improving, extending children’s services! An uncomfortable fact for a Cllr or CMBC Mandarin! [Expert bureaucrat]

(**) The comments made following our article mentioning the CMBC upper, mid and lower valley management structure concerned this methodology as applied to C & Y Peoples Services. We now summarise our thoughts based upon these comments

The reality of change, based upon C & Y Peoples Services

Change is always difficult none more so than here, as any change will be opposed by those actually in charge of CMBC, overpaid Senior Officers. [Recent successful operational changes resulted from OFSTED and CMBC Scrutiny Panel pressure]    

1 Before Pods all social workers had individual case loads, each social worker had a manager, but generally did most of their own administration. This reduced time available for actual casework. [We agree]

2 Post Pods, the social workers have shared case loads this improves continuity of contact for the young person. If their named social worker is away there is at least someone familiar with this child’s circumstances. [A change for the better, the writer discovered this when a volunteer in CMBC’s Young Offenders Team (YOT) but in 7 years he could not persuade CMBC this should be so!] The research shows this is to the enormous benefit of the young person. [We agree, obvious common sense]

3 By specifying a [POD] administrator, this allows the point of contact to be always available, and reduces the time spent by the social worker on admin. [Note: a named social worker per child enables the Social Worker to better organise their diary, the majority of their administration!] again to the young person’s benefit. [We agree]  

4 The whole set-up is referred to as Systemic practice, [aka a standard procedure] was pioneered by Cambridge Council. (The only council to my knowledge that jumped two grades, from unsatisfactory to good, in one inspection.) The Pod manager is always a senior social worker [We agree, this is essential] and this structure allows newly qualified social workers to be placed in Pods to encourage and supervise their work. Again a great benefit in terms of child safety and staff morale. [Again we agree]

5 There were senior social workers before, but you [the Guardian] are now counting them as managers. [We disagree, a senior social worker job title we count as a social worker whilst a manager job title must be / is a manager?]

There was a social worker collective before, but you [the Guardian] are calling the reorganisation a different department. This is plainly wrong. [Again we disagree: a reorganisation dividing a department between different physical locations does by its very nature create more departments, perhaps identical, but each requiring to be managed, in CMBC by another manager. See the directorates POD organisation charts. The question should be, how are these different locations managed]

6 As to the other issue about lower, upper valley etc, I must say these two issues are completely separate, although you [the Guardian] are mixing them up. [We agree they are separate issues, but the lower, upper valley etc set up in CMBC does create new departments each requiring to be managed, in CMBC by another manager. The question should be, how are these different locations managed]

In a department such as highways, waste collection or any other department looking after fixed assets where demand is constant then you [the Guardian] have a point. Parks, street cleaning etc also Libraries, museums, facilities management do not need regional departments. [We agree: how many regional departments here are just not required! Departments creating no value adding managers, i.e. financial waste?]

7 But, the clue to CYP organisation is in your [the Guardian’s] article when referring to schools. Demand for social workers is, to some extent unpredictable, [we agree] and continuity of personnel in relationships is important [We agree, essential in the writer’s experience] this is best done regionally. [This is debatable, see the following]  

  • Is it better the social worker visits the child and parents in their own environment or the police cell should the child be there, rather than asking the child or the family to attend a council office?
  • If there is a case for social workers to be spread over numerous locations, at least 15 which we doubt. The question should be, how are these different locations managed]

8 The road doesn’t care who fills the pothole or if it’s the same person who fills it the next time, the vulnerable child does care who fills their void. A school needs confidence in the social worker not constant change, a hospital likewise regionality, is about relationships. Where relationships don’t matter don’t have it, where they do it’s a must. [We agree]

Conclusion

The Guardian proposes professional management is introduced to CMBC but the C & Y People’s Directorate is probably amongst the last areas we propose would be involved. However it is clear, to the Guardian at least, current bureaucracy must be replaced by professional management and political adversarial tactics be replaced by cooperation.

To facilitate dismantling the council’s inefficient upper, mid, lower management structure [methodology] will require the council to have an activity costing process. CMBC may also require to review its communications (ICT) ability to ensure its managers, if they get out and about, can remain in touch with their front line colleagues

Currently the biggest issue [problem] is: The councillors!

  • Far too many cannot see the necessity of fundamental changeAre there any Cllrs capable of both leading and implementing such change
  • Are there too many council leaders happy with the status quo
  • Are too many councillors financially dependent upon CMBC

To overcome this issue the services of an external consultant will be required  

The second major issue to resolve is to change the attitude of senior managers that is, persuade them to accept their responsibilities, thus enabling councillors to measure their individual performance. Cllrs unaided can arrange this, themselves!

Changing a senior officers’ attitude to accept individual responsibility will not be difficult. 2017 Pay Policy Statement, amend paragraph 6.2 to include the use of earn back. Also amend Annex A – Earn Back Statement, for the 18 senior officers to read: The element of base salary which is held back dependent upon performance. Then implement this by setting 18 individual targets concerning staff absentee rates!

Finally:

When applicable the Guardian has decided to publish the names of Cllrs we think should be involved with the subject/s in question. Many Cllrs simply ignore the uncomfortable facts the Guardian reveals, facts illustrating the Reality of CMBC! In this case a potential excessive management cost of £3.5M pa in just one Directorate

C & Y People’s Directorate: Scrutiny Panel Chair & Cabinet Member Responsible  

  • Scrutiny Panel Chair: Cllr Geraldine Carter and Members
  • Cabinet Member: Cllr Megan Swift  

When considering wasteful bureaucracy we need a management team based upon Cllrs working in cooperation [not unproductive political point scoring, a complete waste of time] and no confrontation as proposed during the recent full council meeting 20th July  

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Follow Up – Annual Accounts Advantages given less Bureaucracy

See CMBC Annual Accounts Advantages given less Bureaucracy July 2016

Amongst the responses received following this article was one from a well respected Cllr “who took us to task” concerning comments we made about the Children and Young Peoples Directorate, we quote: factual inaccuracies undermine your case going on to say: The 11 Pods you refer to are not separate departments. They are simply a way of organising social workers into teams which give considerable benefits to both young people and the social workers themselves. So you could say they are just one department. We could say this in fact we endorse this as we know POD members do great work but, the issue here concerns the definition of what is a department.

The Guardian defines a department is a group of employees who work under the direction of a manager in CMBC normally the responsibility of a manager with an administrator and perhaps a secretary. C & Y Peoples PODS [regional departments] are separate departments, each one requiring a manager and administrator!

The Guardian’s current thoughts on this topic

CMBC is a small to midsized service organisation tasked to provide mandatory local government services, example social services. Despite CMBS’s small operational area West to East, Todmorden to just beyond Brighouse 18 miles (50 minutes), South to North, Ainley Top to Queensbury 8 miles (25 minutes) the council scatters its operational management and service delivery throughout the entire area.

This concept of separate service delivery teams for the upper, mid and lower valley is clearly applicable for CMBC controlled education, in this case staff based in each school. But this organisation [concept / model] is far from applicable or essential to the delivery of care to Vulnerable Children, Adult Health Social Care and Public Health in general.        

The no value adding bureaucracy [additional management, administration salary costs alone] needed to keep this failing model afloat is outrageous this is before increased office costs are even considered, rentals, leases, office cleaning, maintenance, security!  

The 17 organisation charts of the Children and Young Peoples Directorate make fascinating reading heaven for CMBC Senior Officers but in reality a complete Council Tax Payers nightmare, 428 FTE employees scattered between 15 locations. What if any common sense does this organisation structure contain? Who can bring efficient and effective management to an organisation set up like this? No one!   

No standardisation of departmental organisation charts; all are different why, to create more labyrinthine complexity, facilitating confusion! Being multi coloured they are nice to look at, but expensive to print remember, bull**** baffles brains!

In this directorate how can we separate management salary costs from the salary costs of the officers who provide the essential front line service, those who actually meet with and help vulnerable children and their parents successfully overcome their problems?

Using the information we have, i.e. officer’s job titles, we consider a job title including manager, POD practice manager, or support etc will be involved with management and administration not direct service delivery. This information is on these charts, available in plain sight for those who have the motivation to analysis, assemble it

From the Children and Young Peoples Directorate’s Organisation Charts we can see there are 297 frontline officers directly involved with service delivery and 131 [yes 131] management and administration officers. Management and Administration Officers make up 31% of the whole number.

Conclusion

We have previously stated: what if any common sense does this directorate’s organisation structure contain. [A directorate using the well established CMBC inefficient and expensive practice the Upper, Mid and Lower Valley Concept] None at all! Setting up efficient and effective management given this organisation model is not possible!

It is a simple fact requiring 31% of your total team to administer your operation is unusual to say the least. The Guardian can only see there may be a justification for this ratio if CMBC were responsible for the building of a nuclear power station!

Cllrs what is the justification for this ratio other than retaining the practice of the Upper and Lower Valley Management Concept? If this is the reason, please tell us the specific advantages for Calderdale Residents resulting from this concept!

In April 2016 the directorate had 579 FTE officers, a salary cost of £22.487M pa, an average cost of £38,855 each. 30% of these [that is 193] are managers, administration and support staff, costing £6.955M pa. A cost of £6.955M to administer and manage this directorate is not sensible or affordable!

Cllrs continuing the Guardian’s theme, you have all had plenty of time to consider this:

  • Any comment on CMBC’s [your] annual waste, £15M? A figure not including the salary cost of excessive management in CMBC’s [your] Operational Directorates.
  • Why to date, have you all avoided answering this question?
  • Are you too nervous or too financially dependent upon CMBC to ascertain why CMBC is organised as it is? Why not review / critique CMBC from top to bottom?
  • Are you not capable of the intellectual work CMBC requires from you?
  • Are you just too happy playing the great but ineffective political game, Look, I am a CMBC Councillor?
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