Tag Archives: public sector

Teacher workload – a concern north and south of the border

Yesterday, Nick Clegg gave a speech to public sector workers. His specific focus was on teacher workload. Everyone thinks that teachers work short hours and have long holidays. Yet everyone who has a child actually at school will know how much effort goes in to preparing lessons. And everyone who knows a teacher knows that they spend a lot of their supposed “off-duty” time thinking of interesting lessons or, more likely these days, filling in interminable paperwork. We know that children need to be kept safe and their progress checked, but I get the feeling that the bureaucracy is overbearing and unnecessary. Let’s just give you a small example from my own experience. Every time my child sets foot outside the school we have to fill in a consent form. It’s A4. It has all sorts of medical info on it. It even asks how far they can swim unaided, a skill which is unlikely to be needed when representing the school in a maths competition or reading stories to 6 year olds in the local primary school. We can be filling in one of these forms twice a month. If it’s a mild inconvenience for us as parents, what’s it like for teachers who have maybe 30 of them to collect for each class? Why can parents not fill in a standing consent with all the info which covers the whole year?

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: New law needed to tackle millions wasted on public sector redundancy and rehiring

Those of us who exited the NHS as whistleblowers, given the bum’s rush and no cash, would not be expected to have much sympathy for the small army of re-tread NHS managers who have been ‘made redundant’ and then re-hired, sometimes doing essentially the same job in essentially the same area, having recently received a small fortune for notional ‘redundancy’.

3,950 NHS staff were made redundant between May 2010 and November 2013 and later re-hired, 2,570 of them on a permanent basis and 1,380 on fixed contracts. Last week’s published Department of Health accounts show that the average cost of redundancy …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

An idea to put a stop to those public sector strikes

Don't Work and Fight BackSchools, libraries, the Welsh Assembly and other government offices were shut or operating a reduced service day because of a strike by several public sector unions in protest at their falling wages, increasing pensions contributions and longer working lives.

David Cameron has a totally wizard wheeze to stop all this from happening. He wants to shift the goalposts so that a certain threshold have to turn out to vote in favour of strike action. Oh, Dave, really. If you start questioning the legitimacy of elections with low turnout, …

photo by:
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Next week in the Lords: 8-11 January

Whilst rumours of a list of new Peers swirls around the Palace of Westminster, the Lords returns to work on Tuesday, and a somewhat lop-sided week continues through to Friday in order to fit in the postponed debate on Leveson.
 
Never let it be said though that the Lords needs a gentle warm-up before asking the difficult questions. Tuesday sees oral questions on airport capacity in London, housebuilding in South East England and the effect of the ‘fiscal cliff’ solution on the UK economy, before the Growth and Infrastructure …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

In defence of Jeremy Clarkson. Yes, really.

Jeremy Clarkson is an attention-seeking controversialist. That’s his stock in trade. He’s about as close as the British have come to embracing America’s shock-jock cult.

And he was at it again yesterday — seeking attention, being controversial — when he appeared on BBC1’s The One Show and suggested striking public sector workers should be shot in front of their families. Cue VT:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 73 Comments

Opinion: Why today’s strike action is wrong

Today in England and Wales, tens of thousands of public sector workers, many of them teachers, are expected to strike. Currently public sector workers largely enjoy more generous pensions than their equivalents in the private sector and the Coalition Government has acknowledged the growing difference in approach between the private and public sectors. The private sector long ago realised the rising cost and substantial risk involved in offering final salary schemes, based on years of service and end of career earnings, made them unsustainable.

The Coalition Government has a responsibility to ensure that pensions in the civil service are both fair …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

Opinon: Osborne should not belittle public sector workers

As a public sector worker I was extremely disheartened and have to question George Osborne’s analysis of the public sector which he dismissed in an arrogant and superficial manner. This is the organisation that will have to implement the policies of any incoming government and George, for all his political ambition, does not appreciate the sector’s commitment to duty and society.

The ‘low morale‘ that he refers to among 40% of public sector staff is directly as a result of the uncertainty that we are all living under as to whether we will have jobs still in the …

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#ldconf podcast: Vince’s speech

There are now many ways of getting your brain around Vince Cable’s keynote speech. Read it on the party website. Hear our podcast below. See what ePolitix thinks – or the Guardian, for that matter.

vince-speech

There was much that was really important that jumped out at me from the speech – here are my favourite bits:

We should not be taken in by the hysterical nonsense about the country being bankrupt. It isn’t.

The Tories are currently getting a free rein to slash budgets. Tories like …

Play
Posted in Conference and Podcasts | Also tagged , , , and | 17 Comments

Deputy PMQs: Vince tackles Harriet on bankers’ bonuses

Y’know I’ve expressed my general contempt for the pantomime which passes for Prime Minister’s Questions on many occasions: it’s theatre, mirage, insubstantial: all performance, no content. But we discovered today there’s something worse than the usual rowdy PMQs: when there’s both no performance and no content.

It’s hard to remember that William Hague once had a fearsome Commons reputation for being the best, sparkiest, wittiest debater on the block. Perhaps all those after-dinner speeches have dulled his senses – or perhaps he reckons he’s not paid enough to waste all his best lines on Parliament – but today’s performance against Prime Ministerial stand-in Harriet Harman was lame and dull. To put it in context, he made Harriet look actually quite good. She wasn’t – she was anodyne and frequently out-of-her-depth – but the comparison was to her credit, not his. Still, at least Mr Hague was better than Gordon Brown.

Vince Cable rose, as is traditional, to cheers from all-corners of the house. He started with a dry, slightly obscure, joke in Harriet’s honour – “may I express the hope that when she was briefing the Prime Minister for talks with his friend Signor Berlusconi, she remembered to enclose an Italian translation of her progressive views on gender equality?” – but then stuck to the touchstone issue among the public at the moment: how can government ministers talk of the need for public sector pay restraint when they are signing-off large bonuses for executives in banks currently majority-owned by the public? Harriet made a half-heartedly fierce show of sounding tough while committing the Government to nothing.

In a low-scoring contest, Vince edges it both for injecting (a little) humour into proceedings, and (more importantly) for asking a question that matters to the public, on an issue the government can do something about, and where his own party has something distinctive to say. Mr Hague, take note.

Full Hansard transcript of Vince and Harriet’s exchanges follow:

Posted in Parliament and PMQs | Also tagged , , , and | 3 Comments

Why Danny Finkelstein is wrong about the Lib Dems and the public sector

There’s a distinctly odd posting by The Times’s Daniel Finkelstein over at his Comment Central blog today, Our poll and Nick Clegg’s strategy, focusing on the result of the latest Times/Populus opinion poll which breaks down party support according to the public and private sectors as follows:

Lib Dems: 23% (public sector), 17% (private sector)
Labour: 26% (public), 29% (private)
Tory: 38% (public), 45% (private)

Here’s Danny confusing (and confused) analysis:

Nick Clegg’s party does much better among public sector workers than among private sector ones (23 to 17 per cent). This must put a further question mark over his strategy of arguing

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments
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