Our council talks a lot about its so-called “transformation plans” which are supposed to make it leaner and meaner – doing more with less. Except, of course, for its relocation plans, which get more and more bloated with every passing week (“doing the same with more”?).
It trumpets its plans – nay strategy, here:
There are objectives in it such as “WorkSmart”, “centred”, “clear”, “simple”, “fast”, “organised” and “rational”. As if our council was currently WorkDumb, off-centre, opaque, complex, slow, disorganised and irrational was the alternative. Hhhmm – let’s not go there!
But one word is missing – SAFE.
In the light of the Grenfell Tower disaster, we have seen that ALL of the above can impact directly on council tax payers to make them less safe – as cost-cutting (the REAL meaning of transformation plans) is the major driver.
The London Borough of Newham is so concerned that it has paused its transformation plans on hold saying:
“… Inevitably…in a programme of this scale there are certain areas which have associated risks to delivery both in timing and quantum. Due to the sheer complexity and scale of what the transformation programme is trying to achieve, there are risks attached with the programme being able to deliver fully against its target. Therefore, an adjustment of c£2m has been made to recognise potential non-delivery of savings/income shortfall for 2018/19.”
So, we (and EDDC) must ask: how far is too far?
And is the council’s relocation being done at great expense, when that money ought to be ploughed back into services that have been cut to the bone and may be much less safe for us all? In its race to be bottom of council tax bills has it also been a race to the bottom for our safety?
This is, of course, a national problem – driven by austerity cuts. But have our councils (DCC and EDDC) and other institutions such as the NHS been too passive or even too welcoming of these cuts and too conveniently blind to see their consequences?