Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today was not a happy day.  When I visited my mother this morning it was noticeable that the atmosphere in the home wasn't nearly as cheerful as usual.  The reason was soon obvious - a much loved longstanding resident had died and neither staff nor residents could disguise their sadness.  This was the staff at their best - sharing their sorrow and consoling the residents with a hug here, a squeeze of the hand there, sitting and chatting with someone else, just doing what came naturally to them.  You can't put a value on that behaviour and it means a lot to know that such caring is there.
This afternoon's meeting was about play provision and the cuts that will happen because various grants aren't available any more.  Yet at the same time there are opportunities for other grants to do different things like refurbish play areas.  Such is the world of lottery funding.
And then came Cabinet.  I'm not a member of the council's cabinet which takes most of the decisions on running the council, and this was one of those occasions when being an observer was quite enough.  In an effort to avoid more compulsory redundancies than absolutely necessary it's been proposed that perhaps the redundancy packages should be a bit less generous than they have been.  That's not to say they are particularly generous at the moment, certainly not by comparison with the high profile figures who hit the news from time to time.  Our staff currently get 2.2 weeks pay for every year they've worked for the council, not the kind of payout which is going to provide a comfortable few years till the economy picks up.  So a proposal to cut that to 2 weeks pay is a worry to those who are under threat of redundancy, but might give a lifeline to someone else.  Definitely the judgement of Solomon needed!  Calls for a general invitation to volunteer for redundancy were countered with claims that we need to do it service by service to ensure a skills match.  Eventually cabinet agreed to consult on the proposed changes.  We knew they would of course - all their disagreements are aired at pre-agenda meetings and reports are tailored to ensure they can be agreed.  At least at the Parish council meeting this evening there were no budget decisions to take, just lots of technical discussion about standing orders - dry but important.

No comments: