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!