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We’re moving to Hatfield!

Goodbye Welwyn Garden City, Hello Hatfield!

Yes, Red Potato are moving to the heart of Hatfield at the wonderful Great North Business Centre, close to historic Hatfield House.  The good news is we are staying in Hertfordshire and our new premises serve great coffee!

Hatfield is only 20 minutes from central London and is home to the University of Hertfordshire.  We’re looking forward to our new home!  Do give us a call, and come over to see us.

Where are we moving to?

Our new address is

Red Potato Limited

Great North Business Centre

North Place, 82 Great North Road






Welwyn Hatfield Alliance

Welwyn Hatfield

The Welwyn Hatfield Alliance (LSP) is based in Hertfordshire, England.  Members of the Alliance include key public sector organisations, businesses, community groups and voluntary groups who have a shared vision: to improve the quality of life for all in Welwyn Hatfield.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has a key role in economic development and supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Alliance.  The focus of the council is to provide strong community leadership.   This includes helping local people to compete for local jobs and supporting local business at a time when demand for services has increased and budgets are under pressure.

Welwyn Hatfield Council selected Red Potato to develop a 12 month work programme which would attract the involvement of local partners such as Colleges, Housing Trusts, DWP and the LEP. Red Potato project managed the work programme, including coordinating partnership work, communicating progress and demonstrating long term outcomes.

“Red Potato enabled the work programme to happen; by ensuring we stuck to our original vision, building strong relationships with the partners, and communicating with clarity”
Chris Conway Director of Strategy and Development, Welwyn Hatfield Council

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2014 UK local government employment “snippets”


For a number of months we have seen a steady drip feed of information on cuts in jobs at local authorities and new jobs in other private sector businesses.  To keep track of things Red Potato will provide regular updates here on this blog. It is a snapshot and not a statistical analysis!

  • All data is sourced from public sources,  thanks especially to the LGIU for their daily briefing reports
  • We’ll try to keep things up to date, but please feel free to make corrections, amends or updates
  • It is worth remembering that behind the figures are real people, whose lives will be changed for good or ill.

11 Jan 2014
Council to cut 162 jobs

North East Lincolnshire Council has said that 162 jobs are to be cut over the next financial year in order to meet government spending cuts. Council taxpayers also face a 1.9% rise in bills – the first increase in four years. Council leader Chris Shaw said an “unjust” settlement from central government has forced them to find £18m savings on top of what was already expected.
Yorkshire Post, Page: 4

15 Feb 2014
Torbay Council has approved budget cuts of £22m.
BBC News

London keeps creating jobs
A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that London’s economy is creating nearly eight jobs in the private sector for every one lost in the public sector. The report showed a 380,000-job rise in the capital’s private sector from the start of 2010 to mid-2013, or 9.3% of total employment. This contrasted with a 50,000 fall in public sector employment, or 1.2%, based on the same measure.
Evening Standard, Page: 6

18 Feb
Glasgow takes issue with figures

The FT reflects on figures from the Centre for Cities which said Glasgow had lost 7,800 private sector and 6,800 public sector jobs between 2010 and 2012. Glasgow City Council contested the figures and said it had lost fewer than 500 private sector jobs in the period. The paper compares the Scottish city to Liverpool, which reportedly added 12,800 private sector jobs.
Financial Times, Page: 4

19 Feb
Job losses expected

The BBC reports that up to 2,000 jobs will be axed by Wolverhampton City Council because spending cuts are “worse than previously thought”. The council has increased the figure from 1,400 jobs because it says it needs to make £123m savings over the next five years. Meanwhile, the Yorkshire Post reports that some 650 jobs could be lost at Bradford Council as a result of the Government’s cuts.
Yorkshire Post, Page: 1 The Guardian, Page: 8 BBC News

20 Feb
Further fall in jobless

The number of people unemployed in the UK fell by 125,000 to 2.34m in the three months to December, according to the ONS. The unemployment rate now stands at 7.2%, but the ONS cautioned that the improvement in the labour market could be slowing. Overall employment now stands at more than 30m, a rate of 72.1%, which is an increase of 0.6% on a year ago. Meanwhile, more women are in work than at any time since records began, at just over 14m. Average earnings have also increased, by 1.1% in the year to December. However, George Osborne has said the economy is too reliant on consumer spending and that businesses need to invest more and export more.
The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 Financial Times, Page: 2 The Times, Page: 1-2 The Independent, Page: 10-11

22 June 2014
State jobs face axe
The Telegraph reports that Government ministers are drawing up plans which will involve widespread privatisations, resulting in at least one million public sector workers being removed from the Government payroll by the end of the decade. Meanwhile, in a separate move, Eric Pickles will step up his assault on “exorbitant” salaries for public officials this week by ordering councils to share senior executives across local authorities and stamp out high pay deals. Mr Pickles said: “Councillors now have the powers to stop exorbitant pay deals – they should use them.”
The Sunday Telegraph, Page: 8 The Sun, Page: 2

2 July 2014
Lincolnshire budget cuts
Budget cuts at Lincolnshire County Council could result in 500 job losses, a union leader claims. The council is proposing to cut a further £90m from its budget after an earlier cut of £125m in 2010. Conservative leader Martin Hill said some job losses were expected but added it was too early to give an exact figure.
BBC News

9 July 2014
Southampton cuts threaten 200 jobs
Budget cuts at Southampton City Council could result in nearly 200 job losses. A report due to go before the authority’s cabinet on 15 July is proposing to make the cuts to cope with “a significant funding shortfall”.
BBC News

5 Sep 2014

Thurrock confirms job losses
At least 200 jobs are to be cut at Thurrock Council as part of its £37m three-year savings plan.
BBC News

9 Sep 2014
Council plans cutbacks
Wirral Council is proposing to remove some school crossing patrols and to reduce community library opening hours as part of a further £45m of cutbacks. The council has already made £100m of cuts and announced up to 500 job cuts. It has to save £18m next year and £27m in 2016-17.
BBC News

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Welwyn Hatfield Alliance Annual Conference 22nd November “Strengthening Partnerships”

Strengthening Parternships, preparing for change Annual Conference at the Focolare Centre, Welwyn Garden City

22nd November

Full Programme details below


Registration and refreshments




Speed dating!


Welfare Reform & Universal Credit briefing:

Gary Vaux

Head of Money Advice Unit

Herts County Council

10.25 Round table responses

Map key issues and themes

11.00 Coffee & Networking


Thriving Families presentation

Sue Chapman & Gareth Morgan

Operational & Programme Managers – Thriving Families

Herts County Council

11.40 Workshop sessions

 Debt & housing

 Health

 Economy & employment

 Key theme from morning session

12.20 Facilitators feedback


Lunch & networking

The Welwyn Hatfield Alliance

invites you to its free

Half-Day Annual Conference

‘Lets talk Welfare Reform’

Strengthening partnerships, preparing for change’


22 November 2012

9.15am to 2.00pm


Focolare Centre,

69 Parkway,

Welwyn Garden City,

Herts AL8 6JG

To book a place at the Annual Conference

Please complete the tear-off slip and return to:

Sue Cave, Alliance Co-ordinator, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council,

Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE.

Or you can email:

Job title:
Tel No.: Email:
Access requirements:
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Starting a business – Week 1

Red Potato started trading this week and it’s been a great week.   What does that mean?  Well, it meant the business became central to everything we do – building the brand, identifying sales opportunities and firming up the products we offer our customers.

The challenge is to continually show value to customers, and be able to help customers in these uncertain times.   At a recent event a representative from the Bank of England discussed his views on the Economy – in essence there were many “headwinds” and not many “tailwinds” to propel the economy into prosperity.   My own view is that we will remain prosperous country compared to many in the world but that it will feel different to the 1980s & dot-com era prosperity.    I love that quote that the Netherlands have been in decline since the 1600’s but things still feeling pretty good in Amsterdam.

In these uncertain times, it is important to seek and act upon the advice from friends, contacts, and equally share information with the networks.  This is how we learn, refine our offer to meet the needs of others and run a successful business.  One door closes, another opens.

One door closes, another opens

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Rearranging the deckchairs – keeps the local economy ticking over

We’ve all heard the phrase “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titantic”.  The definition on Wiktionary is

“To do something pointless or insignificant that will soon be overtaken by events, or that contributes nothing to the solution of a current problem”

Many local councils are faced with an office estate which was designed in the last century, if not before and now frankly doesn’t really meet the needs of the business.  However the buildings are often local icons – and if councils don’t occupy them, not many businesses would want them either.   So we are left with a situation of reconfiguring a building when the inevitable staff and structure changes are made.

Once staff know whether they are keeping their job and where they fit in the new organisation chart, the next most important thing is where they will sit.   At a time of great uncertainty knowing where we spend our working time is some comfort.   Now you’ll remember that the stated reason for these changes is often the need to save money, but that didn’t take account of the building work, nor costs of redundancy, nor most importantly the changes in front line operations.     So now we have a situation where untold staff time is spent worrying about their future (including worrying about the distance to the kitchen and who will maintain the tea fund), costs for putting up new partitions, costs for moving and testing kit, costs for building more “pods” for managers who “need” privacy and lots and lots of meetings.

Someone, somewhere should check whether all those savings really do materialise.  A job for Audit Commission – hmm, maybe, but that’s been abolished! The only option left is the “Armchair Auditors” armed with their FOI requests!

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Change is tricky

OK so you’ve got this great idea – it hits the “green” button, it will reduce costs to your organisation and provide greater insight into how the organisation works. Simples, all you need to do is tell your boss what you plan to do and then wait for the plaudits from the Chief Executive.

How wrong can you be?

Thing is that what you may see as a change for the better, will have unintended consequences across the organisation.   Those vested interests will do their best to frustrate the changes, hence the importance of taking the time to build a strong coalition of people who see change in their interest.  Also having a clear vision and sticking with it.    And finally keeping the common touch, while inspiring all to greater things.   Easy really!