Two years ago Gordon Brown announced that the governnment intended to £21 billion of public money by getting rid of 80,000 civil servants. No government department, quango or local authority would escape the Gershon axe, we were told. Regular updates were given by the Chancellor trumpeting first of all £2 billion of savings, then £6 billion and most recent of all £9.5 billion. The trouble is, no one, least of all the National Audit Office can work out where he is getting these figures from. Radio 4's PM programme highlighted the issue yesterday.
This report prompted a reader to email me with some very interesting information regarding Camden Council in London. I have spent much of the day trying to get to the bottom of it, and being passed from pillar to post within Camden Council. This is what my correspondent said...
A few months ago, I was chatting to a senior IT work contact at Camden Council, who told me everyone was having to re-apply for their jobs, and undertake interviews. I'm not sure if this was council-wide, or just the IT department. Of course, all we're 'successful applicants' and were re-hired under a new job-title/contract. When I asked why, I was told it was to meet Gershon targets, as by firing/re-hiring the 'lost' jobs counted towards Brown's job cuts.
If indeed it is true what Camden are doing you can bet your bottom dollar that it is happening in other Councils and quangos. Sadly I can't spend any more time trying to find out the truth, so I post this in the hope that someone out there can shed more light on it and dig a bit further than I have been able to.
NOTE TO CAMDEN COUNCIL PRESS OFFICE: Are you always this useless?
UPDATE: 5.35pm At last Camden Press Office has got back to me. They are looking into it and will ring me back.