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News and Comment May 2012

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15 May (Part 1) - Council jobs to go. Not Tuckley’s obviously

Will TuckleyWhen it was announced last month that Will Tuckley was the sixth highest paid town hall official in the country a Bexley council spokeswoman sprang into action to defend the waste of money by claiming that the council is the biggest employer in the borough with a turnover of £500 million a year. I found it rather depressing that the biggest industry in the borough was bureaucracy, but just how big is it? Previous attempts to put a number on the pen-pushers were inconclusive. While Teresa O’Neill was claiming 2,279 Tuckley was claiming 8,198. As has been said before, don’t expect consistency from liars.

Another search of Bexley’s website produced another new figure. A month after O’Neill wrote to the Evening Standard with her 2,279 figure, the Human Resources’ contribution to the General Purposes Committee meeting of 3rd November 2011 was “Clearly, with an establishment of around 1,600 staff and a total salary bill of £63m.” It was further explained that some of the establishment was fulfilled through job sharing so the number of people involved was 1,933. That's quite a lot of part-timers. “The level of savings required under Strategy 2014 cannot be achieved without planned staffing reductions” the same document proclaimed.

They will presumably be planning to get rid of more staff than in the previous year when the total was just 37. Maybe they have a cunning plan.

My aim is always to provide supporting evidence and links for what is written here but occasionally it isn’t possible without betraying sources, but I hear that behind the scenes the following is being progressed.

• Statutory Services to be merged with Croydon and Bromley by Autumn. So if you have a noise complaint or a problem trader to report, join a longer queue. £100,000 saved, except that it will need more IT to runs the show.

• Licensing issues to go the same way. I thought we already had quite enough complaints from publicans without moving their points of contact to another borough.

Fewer staff to run the whole show presumably but further degradation of services almost inevitable. Those who will lose their jobs will be consoled by the thought that Will Tuckley will have even less to do. There is still no sign of him doing any job sharing. In the words of the three Lesnes ward councillors and 2,219 petition signers, “he is paid too much”. Incidentally, Danny Hackett, who was denied an answer to his question by the filibustering Teresa O’Neill at last month’s council meeting has had a one word written answer from the council leader. It is “No”, she doesn't agree with the ward councillors for Lesnes Abbey. Nice to see dissension in the ranks.


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