.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


The claim by a Civil Service Trade Union that the Assembly Government plans to cut 1,200 jobs over the next three years came as quite a shock to many people yesterday. This was especially so as it was backed up by minutes of a private meeting within the depths of Cathays Park. The Government was having none of it however even though they refused to deny it.

I tried to raise it in Plenary yesterday during the Business Statement. The Business Minister said that she does not intend to respond to a press story based on a leaked document. So I asked her if it is not true would she say so today. If she could not, then would she schedule a statement at the earliest opportunity so we can ask the relevant minister questions about it.

Jane Hutt replied: “It would be a full time job to rebut all the stories in the Western Mail… we do not recognise these figures at all.” The government’s non-denial denial can give little confidence to civil servants in Wales. Still it was not as bad as the gobbledook that the First Minister came up with in his press briefing earlier in the day:

He told reporters, "This is based on an allegation or a kind of conversion figure done by civil servants based on departmental running costs. All I can say is, there is never a time in which we don't exert downward pressure on departmental running costs.

"In a week when the Beecham Review (on public services in Wales) is published, we will be very conscious of the fact that we have to show the same amount of leadership as local government does and as the NHS does, on reducing the overhead costs of providing public services, because everybody wants the maximum level of conversion from money spent on the overheads into money spent on front line services.

"You can't make any kind of conversion therefore of any reduction in running costs, meaning a reduction in civil service jobs, because it might be a reduction in the number of civil service jobs in the departmental running cost line and an increase in the number of civil servants - there could be the same civil servants with the appropriate amount of retraining working on programmes, they'd be switched to the front line, as it were.

"But we have always said, for instance, post the mergers, we never said there would be no efficiency savings arising from the mergers, but we have said we thought it could be managed without any compulsory redundancies, so there is nothing new or newsworthy in this story."

So that is clear then. They are making cuts and the story maybe true but they cannot say for certain yet. I am sure that all the affected civil servants are as confused as we are.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?