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One difficulty with re-applying for jobs is that presumably, the current positions have to be declared vacant, i.e, the present incumbents are redundant and therefore entitled to compensation. Might see folk taking the generous contractual redundancy package and then applying for similar posts elsewhere.

Churn rather than genuine change?

Ken Stevens has hit the nail on the head. The other problem is that surely this would simply lead to the reappointment of people to unnecessary posts that remain highly paid - we need to reduce the number of such posts, not just attempt to appoint to them all at slightly smaller salaries.

I also think we should give serious thought to closing the loop-hole which means some of the mega rich pay less tax than their cleaner.

However, we should steer clear of their plans on pensions.

Unfortuantely tend to agree with Ken, Sounds good, certainly some of these jobs are questionable, but unintended consequences come into play. Also those posts that are useful can be hard to fill, what would be the impact, do extra people have to be employed or does that service end up with no leadership? Do political reps start having to fill the gap trying to interfere in day to day detail and do we have more central interference/target chasing?

Great Con Home article and very good comment from Ken Stevens. Thank you.

There are no quick fixes to the corruption of our public life, are there?

Have I come to Socialisthome? I am shocked to see this on this site. Our Councils need to be run by the most able. We probably need to pay more at the top not less.

The key problem for Councils is the burden of Govt dictat and regulations that add a swathe of unnecessary jobs to their operation.

Well, I guess its better than taking up their ideas regarding education and the curriculum...

Ken you are right! Now come and join the Conservative Party :-)

"Have I come to Socialisthome?"

We're talking about reducing state-sector salaries funded by the taxpayer, not private sector salaries.

>Golden goodbyes handed to poorly performing executives would also be taxed to stop them exploiting loopholes aimed at protecting workers redundancy payments.>

Daily Mail (Today)

Seems that Clegg has catered for the churn or at least made incompetence less lucrative. I also like the proposed cull of management consultants operating in the public sector (BBC R4 Today).

Speaking as an ex-consultant I can confirm that consultants are mainly used as a means for abdicating from decision making and as a smokescreen for unpopular organisational changes.

HF - don't worry this is still a Conservative idea! It promotes competition by keeping people on their toes. If you thought you were going to have to re-apply for your job you'd up your game, wouldn't you?

Presumabely these jobs exist and are well paid because there is a need for them, probably due to needless targets, rules and regulations.
If you just got rid of all the workers then the pointless work still needs to be done, so they'd have to spend on firing and rehiring for nothing.
Get rid of the red tape and the posts will become redundant.

Half of Cable's idea are v good.
He has been ahead of Osborne in understanding that the times are very tough.

I agree with this. It's time to put downward pressure on all public sector salaries (and pensions). Perhaps we could start with MPs?

...not least the dangerous attempts to raise green taxes and taxes on the allegedly wealthy

The allegedly wealthy? So, you support more taxes for the actaully wealthy?

HF. While I agree that we need able public servants and that they should be well paid, the problem is that there are now too many of them and a lot are overpaid. Is it right that the Chief Executive of Surrey County Council is paid more than the Prime Minister?

All conservatives can agree that we want the best people in the most strategic public sector jobs but we should all agree that more needs to be done to ensure that inadequate people aren't being paid too much.

Surely Boris's approach of having an audit and working out exactly how many of these kind of jobs are actually needed is the right way to go?

If we create an enormous gap between the pay in the private and public sectors we would never be able to attract the most able people to run vital services. Isn't the problem today that we have too many highly paid under-achievers rather than a more desirable smaller number of (even better paid if need-be) over-achievers?

The allegedly wealthy? So, you support more taxes for the actaully wealthy?

You can't be truely wealthy until you're happy and loved, or so the saying goes.

So tax those people who say "we're poor, but we're happy" and tax people with more money less as money can't buy you happyness, apparently.

We can't be brash and jump into these things without giving it some thought. When/If the party gets into Downing street independent reviews should be commenced and on the basis of that information go about trimming the fat. Just blanket chopping jobs and salaries is short sighted and could cause more problems that it would solve.
Warning should be given to the people that we might be rehiring for the same jobs, as it's decidedly hard to fire people in the public sector, and having pissed off workers is a recipe for disaster. Also! If some jobs are directly competing with private sector positions they will undoubtedly have to be paid well so we'll have to expect some public jobs to be in the £100,000s and above. If you don't offer the right incentives and importantly salary the only employees that will come forward to fill the position will be the ones no one else wants and a huge staff turnover rate, no one wants dummies running things to be quickly replaced with another dummy a little further down the line. Reactionary bad, informed good.

Maybe Cable and Clegg are nibbling around the edges of the idea that job specifications at the top of numerous public sector organisations need to be revised in order to bring them up to date. Its failed service delivery that really sickens so many of us - its our money that they waste while not delivering what they should be delivering.

Given who our prime minister is, it doesn't seem to me necessarily wrong that the chief executive of Surrey should get more.

The Lib Dem "all must re-apply" is a recipe for chaos. A review of the need for every such post (or not) is more sensible. After all, for instance we need an Ambassador to the US and we need to be paying him or her more than £100,000 a year, so making the present incumbant reapply is a waste of everyone's time and effort.

However, where the Lib Dems are right is on the final salary pensions of the well paid public servants. Even if for union reasons it has not yet proved possible to cut these down materially for the lower and middle ranks (who anyway are often poorly paid and it is their one perk), it should be a condition of entering the senior ranks (which brings with it, in my view rightly, the opportunity to earn performance ralated bonuses for instance) that there is no more final salary pension accrual - or at least that there should be a maximum salary -perhaps say £80,000 - on which final salary pensions can be based. The balance of the pension entitlement would then be money purchase. This has a higher immediate cash cost but with the minority of public servants involved it would be bearable and would allow the reform to be moved down the scale as time goes on.

However, the Lib Dem's other idea to remove higher rate income tax relief for employee contributions to any pension scheme (including money purchase ones) is out of the Gordon Brown book of stealth taxes and is totally wrong. If we are moving away from DB pensions the last thing you want to do is make it more difficult to build up a decent DC/money purchase pension pot - particularly as their proposed tax grab would hit disproportionately people whose employer contributions are sufficienly low that they have to contribute a lot themselves to secure a reasonable pension. It also rewards those who don't bother with paying into pensions compared with those who do. I find it hard to believe that Vincent Cable doesn't realise that this is a really bad idea and he should be challenged to defend or disown it.

Here are some shockers. The total public sector wage bill is £161 billion per year with a pension liability having grown from just under £300 billion in 1998 to £725 billion.

It is also useful to know that when discussing remuneration that you can add 12% to every public sector salary for the added value of the solid gold ring-fenced pension.



Why do we need so many administrators? There seems to be an endless ability for the bureaucracy to replicate on a multiple-fission basis everytime a new proposal surfaces to do the same old thing done by fewer people previously.

Is every new regulation the justification for more staff?

Most of the time, the taxpayers don't even know about it. Or maybe those that do are the ones in those jobs!

As a postscript this article notices that the Outlook for the world economy is "bleak". I'm glad this bit of the blog has noticed, as Cameron obviously hasn't. The world economy and our own government are both collapsing and it is the DUTY of the leader oif the opposition to speak for the country in such a crisis (not just "reflect on his recent visits." Talk mabout fiddling whiler Rome burns!
And Edward Huxley asks " Is it right that the Chief Executive of Surrey County Council is paid more than the Prime Minister?" Yes if he means THIS prime minister!!!

Ken is of course right and this proposal is a non-starter.

Councils could review the posts as they become vacant but councilors have agreed the terms and conditions up to now, which is why we have these expensive non jobs. So don't hold your breath for significant improvement.

A better idea would be to elect the council directors of service directly, instead of appointed cabinet members. Then the real power in the council, the head of each bureaucracy (with control of budgets and power to hire and fire staff) would be under democratic control. Councilors could do planning and licensing where you don't want bureaucratic control. The problem with cabinet members is that the salary is too much to waste on part timers and not enough to give it full time attention that it deserves.

An effective CEO is essential, however, definitely review all management roles.

Interview and ask:
1. What is your job?
2. What benefit do you bring to the community you work for?
3. Why should you remain in post?

I wouldn`t give the present Prime Minister a job as a tea boy. Point I was making was to compare the two jobs. Surrey`s CEO gets £195,330 a year, plus another £6000 "to oversee service provision" whatever that is. Plus gold plated pension and other benefits of course.

Since coming to office in 1997 Labour has overseen a large increase in the number of those in the public`s employ. This has created a group of people who owe their secure jobs to successive Labour administrations and any hint of a reduction in numbers will give those employees cause to think hard about where to place their vote next time. We are talking about nearly one million people who are on the electoral roll, as well as their dependants who are in addition to this total. Their political affiliation will therefore have a significant effect on the result.
However many of the suggestions above have made it abundantly clear that there is a pressing need to reduce government expenditure in all areas of its operation. It might be worth remembering that the size of the pre-independence Indian Civil Service was, I believe, in the order of 40,000; and that was to administer what have since become Pakistan and India.
Despite other proposals above, the last thing we need is an independent enquiry into the need for many of the posts in question. History shows that such a beast will take a long time to report and it might well recommend an increase!
I remember being present at a meeting in a military Headquarters where all the staff were present. The GOC told every tenth person to stand up. He then said that this was the number by which the size of the Staff would be reduced, and within the next three months! Brutal, but necessary.
The way forward is for the Conservatives to plan now for the size of government when they come to office; the governmental role and its manning. Having done that it will be necessary then to decide how quickly the reductions required will be made. The private sector have to grasp this nettle on a daily basis; try working in a travel and leisure group, or a bank, or a building society today; the latter once having been thought of as offering a safe employment from day one to retirement no longer do so. Financial imperatives make this the case and there is no need to apply a different rule for the public service. A latter-day Beeching is now needed, otherwise any need for retrenchment will stagnate.

I should of course have pointed out that the total of one million employees referred to above is the additional number recruited since Labour came to office. Who knows what the total number is?!

Mr Cable is not correct about everything. For example he thinks the Bush Administration is "the most right wing in recent history" and is "ultracapitalist".

Actually the Bush Administration, even exculding military spending, is the most wild spending one since that of Richard Price Controls Nixon (another person who never met an entitlement or other scheme he did not like). And the Bush Administration (very unlike the Reagan Administration) favours "anti trust" regulations and other absurdities.

The real cause of the present banking crises (the many years of credit/money expansion by the Federal Reserve) goes unmentioned.

Also Mr Cable seems to think that higher top rates of tax will bring in more revenue - he is living in a dream world on that one, higher taxes on "the rich" will mean less revenue not more revenue.

Still on government spending he has a point.

For example, it is utterly absurd that anyone working for government should be earning one hundred thousand Pounds (or even more).

Government is NOT a business and saying that "top managers bring top results" is, in the context of government, a myth.

In local government there is no evidence whatever that "Chief Executives" do a better job than the old Town Clerks used to do - if anything the evidence is the other way.

Cable's idea seem like a blunt instrument to me and not worthy of someone of his reputation. It's dog-whistle politics.

This policy could be the flagship policy of a wider commitment to public sector pay restraint

It could also be portrayed as a Salem style witch hunt. "Get those nasty undeserving 100k a year earners".

I quite agree we need to cut public spending but would suggest this be done in a far more discriminatory and intelligent manner.

Relatively worthless public sector bodies should be scrapped. Others should be opened up to direct democracy where appropriate (high profile public funded services such as the BBC) with the key players being elected.

Others can be 'restructured' or merged or returned to their parent departments substantively changing their roles so people have to reapply for their roles (facilitating what Cable so clumsily suggests).

There are numerous ways to achieve these goals without using such a simplistic prejudiced approach. Mr Cable has gone down in my estimation considerably. If this is an example of his business and financial acumen I am thankful the Libdems will be nowhere near power!

Thank you Freedom4All
Excellent and to the point, I quote: -
"An effective CEO is essential, however, definitely review all management roles.
Interview and ask:
1. What is your job?
2. What benefit do you bring to the community you work for?
3. Why should you remain in post?"
I would cap all salaries for paid personal at £50,000.in government and industry,No man or woman is worth more than £1,000 per week, we hear the argument that they would go elsewhere if the salaries did not match foreign levels. My answer is let them go, we would be well rid.

"No man or woman is worth more than £1,000 per week"

That would be funny if I didn't think some people believe that.

Why £1000, why not £722, why not £286?

So if you were offered a job for £55k, you'd refuse it as it doesn't match your communist ideals?

It's just a gimmick. It'll never happen.

I haven't got a problem with 'pinching' good policies from the Lib Dems or, for that matter, any other party.

We should support what works. Besides, the Lib Dems are never going to be in a position to implement anything

@John Selby

Fool Whut You Talkin Bout? haha

We should concentrate on reviewing whether all posts are necessary but what is essential that the morale in the public service is improved. Under Blair and Brown morale has sunk to an all time low.
Good morale amongst the staff is essential in any service business.

Liberal Vince Cable, makes a lot of sense
in a lot of the political aspects, as a conservative supporter it is hard to say, so
how about enticing him to the Tories, Osborne is good, Cable is the best thinker.
Now lets get rid of the human rights laws
as they now stand, then deal with the loaded quangos this shower have created, the alternative is huge redundency payments
which gives no benefit in kind, to dumping
these committees on the scrapheap, the problem will be a headache for the Tories
if an when they take over.

Charlie Francis

A Much Better Idea would be a statutory cap on public sector salaries, particularly those in Local Government, I would suggest it be set at £100,000.00 per year. This needs to go hand in glove with a total ban on the contracting of "consultants" to fill high level posts that ought to have a permanent incumbent.

At present many Councils have high level jobs being done by ex local government officers at massive cost simply because they were allowed to leave the public sector and set up smoke screen consultancies via which they then charge outrageous fees to do jobs that they previously did for the Council salary. This is the worst abuse of all and IT MUST STOP!

I thought that paragon of the nation of shopkeepers had the answer. So if advice is needed on how to redefine jobs and pay less without incurring huge expenses, apply to Tescos. A quote from an ex-employee in 2006 (but I remember this happening in the early 90's)
"It was only recent that middle managment was downgraded and team leaders were placed in, at a lower wage, so department managers had to re-apply for their own jobs but with lower pay!"

Mr Angry, having said that I saw that happen often in the private sector as well. Indeed waste on consultancies generally started in the private sector and then spread to the public sector along with some of the silly theories.

I think the point is that the Lib Dem idea is largely a gimmick to roll out at a conference. Of course there is waste, we all know that but any Govt would have to enable councils to get to the bottom of how they wish to run themselves more efficiently.

There is no point in getting rid of senior officers if the culture still relies on Govt initiatives and bureaucracy. When the structures and culture are revised so that staff lower down are empowered to get on with their jobs(trusted to do their jobs and rewarded or if they don't, sacked) then there will be no progress.

There surely must be scope for a fairly hefty cull of public sector senior posts. Just today I noticed that Ofcom is advertising for a new Chair. £200k for "up to" 3 days a week, principal qualification is having been a chair of another quango. Ludicrous.

Implementing these reapply-for-your-job programmes is much harder than it sounds. I know because I've done it.

To stay within the law and avoid a rash of claims you have to have a watertight process. Most public sector organisations just don't have the expertise to design and manage a process like this. They'd have to call in consultants to run it!

They haven't really thought this through.


I can see the attraction of it, but fear this is a headline.

Perhaps we shouldn't have so many of these jobs at ludicrously high salaries in the first place, rather than harassing people who do deserve to be there.

I'd need to think it through better.

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