Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thanet sidestep employment protection

People often think, that in this modern society jobs are protected by law, well this is simply not the case as Thanet councils proved by sacking six of their visitor information centre staff.

Apparently after receiving advice from the Kent tourist alliance, existing staff were forced to reapply for their own jobs, now any decent employer, would retrain existing staff, if they needed new skills which according to Kent tourist alliance they did.

According to the report in today's Thanet Times newspaper, the council renamed their job title and it's goodbye to six staff members.

Just imagine the upheaval, at Thanet district council, if it were possible to add the word "competent" to management titles (and expect the current occupants to re-apply for their posts).

Those who run the council, forget that many members of the public, have higher standards of ethics and decency than they do.


  1. It's odd how one's views of an organisation change when one is forced to recognise the challenges from the inside rather than pass criticism from the outside.

    To be honest Tony, I've only been impressed with the level of commitment and effort I've seen coming from TDC officers now I have to work on the inside. Nothing is perfect and never can be. Thanet has immense problems to tackle and very little money.

    Please try and find a seat at the next election and I promise, your views, like my own, will change very swiftly!

  2. Looks like the spin's worked on the Doc, then!

  3. Spin has nothing to do with it. A little less in the way of fatuous comment and a little more in terms of constructive suggestion might be more helpful. Local government can only work within its budget and resources, which I wish was unlimited, like Qatar or Dubai even!

    Thanet is a different story, on a par with Bradford in terms of deprivation alone. I see people working very hard to try and improve things and a great many problems to try and solve. If you believe, as you surely must, that you can make a positive contribution, then roll-up your sleeves and become involved.

  4. Dr. Moores hasnt said how he feels about this issue, is it right or is it wrong?
    Clearly if the incumbent staff were not up to the job they should have been offered retraining to equip them to do the job. But to make them re-apply for their own jobs and then fail them at interveiw is a kick in the teeth, to rub salt into the wound they have been asked to train their replacments!!

    Cllr Mike Harrison.

  5. All Councils are under pressure to be more efficient Yes it wrong,but then Councils still have alot to learn from the commercial world outside. Councils accoss the country have reappraised workers salaries, some have had increases, others have had severe deceases, this demoralises staff. The Govt has introduced too many new laws and the traditional role of Council and their reponsiblities has been lost in enacting the new laws, and this is diminishing the respect of the general public towards Councils. Anyway, One wonders if Thanet's Parking Dept should be offered abit of retraining as recently had to ask the attendant to cancel my parking ticket, and he stated he wasn't aware of the restrictions etc and after these were explained to him, he made a phone call the ticket was cancelled.

  6. My whole reason for commenting on this sad little affair, is to highlight the appalling shortsighted and insensitive handling of staff By Thanet district council

    Should TDC be taking advice from Kent travel tourism alliance, as they have apparently worked closely with Kent County council, on their highly controversial Virginia project, which has seen the county spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in the apparent wild hope that some of business will be attracted to Kent.

  7. 'but then Councils still have alot to learn from the commercial world outside.'
    As a public service employee I think you'll find the reverse also true at how efficiently we work with little resource.

  8. From personal experience you can bet this was done with UNISON's, the supposedly local government union, full backing.

  9. Yep, the charm offensive's definitely worked on the Doc.

  10. As an ex employee of a certain theatre, I know only too well how to work with 'little resource' just get on with it and use what you've got the best way you can! (imagine my feelings when I discovered that the marketing budget to reopen said theatre is half of my total budget for last year!!). I have also had dealings with changing job titles to get people made redundant...but that's another story!

    As I previously had over thirty years in retail and retail management, and for the past five years through my job, got to know many of the hoteliers, tourism attractions and tourism staff in Thanet, I applied for one of the management and also 'counter' staff jobs. This was on the basis that with my retail and local tourism knowledge, I fit the criteria of the new style 'Tourism Shops'. I wasn't expecting to be handed a job but thought I'd at least get an interview, based on my experience! Well guess what, I didn't even get a reply!!

    But to now see many of my tourism friends being treated this way, perhaps I'm glad I didn't get the job.

    Experience and enthusiasm don't seem to matter any more, they come second to paper qualifications.

  11. Or, to spell it out, seeing as the Doc is still bathing in the warm glow of naivety that comes from having just been elected a councillor:

    If I was a senior council officer showing a new boy the ropes, wouldn't it be in my best interests to play up the terrific hard work I do, whilst at the same time bemoaning my lack of resources? Dedication under difficult circumstances, now that's a powerful combination that the Doc's clearly found it hard to resist.

    I'm not talking about the people who do the real work in the council, many of whom clearly find it demoralising, judging by the numbers who drift off every month.

    While he's being schmoozed, the Doc might also care to ask why the three most senior council officers don't actually live in Thanet, preferring, instead, balmier climes further west.

  12. Anon 8 14, the first UNISON knew about it was from the report in the paper. The fact is that apparently non of the affected staff were members of any union at all, so any fight at an Industrial Tribunal will be costly. They would of course win hands down and probably walk away with substancial compensation for unfair dismisal.
    Any self rspecting employer would pick up on under performing staff at their annual appraisal and an individual training programme should be put in place to address any shortcomings. This clearly hasnt been done so dismisal is automatically unfair.

    You now have the ammunition so go for it boys and girls !

  13. Observer,
    I think even if they had been in UNISON the outcome would have been the same.

  14. The current method of public spending and budget allocation is so wasteful, i.e no dept spends under it's budget and then spends any surplus funds before the new budget is set. Road improvements seem to step up a gear before the Councils year ends.If the money is not spent, next year the dept's budget is cut and jobs lost etc. The surplus should be more effectively redistributed to other areas that are clearly under funded. Then there is the problem of Councillor's + Govt changing the priorities and in other Council's a newly elected political party are changing direction and wasting money on reorganistaion etc. No Commercial business would survive on this criteria, long term planning is key.How can staff be motivated to perform their job when nobody knows what the next changes will bring. The Parking dept looks a safe bet as it raises revenue!

  15. Nothing to do with any charm offensive I'm afraid. I'm not as naive about local government as you might think. Being a member of the audit committee, I had to approve the council's last set of accounts this month, which means I'm directly aware of the resources challenge, human and finacial.

    As for balmier climes further west, I would direct you back to my own Blog entry on 51 degrees of separation. As Thanet doesn't have much of an east to talk about, unless you count the coast of Belgium, then it's not unusual to see people living within commuting distance of Margate, say 12 to 15 miles, which places them in neighbouring towns. That's their decision and not really any of our business.

  16. Getting back to basics the treatment of staff by this adminstration is despicable.

    It just show's what insensitive people we have in local government.

    Pity Latchford couldn't take part in this discussion.

  17. I would have thought Bromley was a bit further west than 12-15 miles.

    And the rest of it sounds like the old Thanet defeatism to me, Doc. 'Even the geography's against us!' For heaven's sake!

  18. Mike Harrison has a slightly myopic view of this, The previous administration gave the then new Chief Exec permision to hold a reshape of the council's work force.

    The end result was the same as now , people applying for their own jobs, a common scenario now.

    I don't like it, but the I don't like income tax.

  19. To Drmoores as a member of The
    Audit Committee did your use of the word finacial mean financial or farcical?

  20. If Thanet's employees contributed at least SOMETHING towards their free parking in the Margate car parks, consevatatively costing the taxpayer 250K then there would not be a Budget issue at present.Why then are they also provided with subsidised public travel, does any of them use this additional perk not looking at all the employee's cars parked.