George Osborne launched a revolution in local government as he abolished the regional development agency and placed local councils in charge of boosting the West Midlands economy, in an emergency budget that slashed spending and drove up taxes.
Dear Editor, Your report on mental health problems amongst local government workers on page 12, Monday, August 10, and the relevant comment on page 2 , that day barely scratches the surface of the different facets of cost with regard to absenteeism in the public sector.
New figures identifying a sharp jump in the number of local government workers off sick with mental health problems are certainly reflected in Birmingham, where depression, stress and tiredness are the main drivers behind a ludicrous absenteeism rate.
And anything called Total Place launched by Ministers with such a surfeit of exaggerated claims – the most radical local government reform ever, slashing bureaucracy, making money work harder etc, etc – is setting itself up for a spectacular fall if the lessons of history are anything to go by.
Local government moves in a mysterious way, its wonders to perform, but there will be people in Birmingham today wondering about the wisdom of the city council handing its chief officers contracts of employment requiring only three months’ notice of intention to leave.
Local government officials from across the world are making a point of visiting Birmingham to discover how once-failing public services have been transformed, city council leader Mike Whitby has claimed.
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