A jobs freeze is NOT an efficiency saving – the Conservatives are still fudging on their economic policy

David Cameron and the Conservative Party are still fudging their economic policies and being deliberately misleading over their so-called public sector efficiency savings.  Peter Gershon, who is advising the Tories on their policies, has told the Financial Times that 40,000 jobs would be cut over the next year by a public sector recruitment freeze.  (This is the same Peter Gershon whose firm will benefit from NHS cutbacks.)  This was reiterated by Cameron in the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning.

But a recruitment freeze is NOT an efficiency saving.  Quite the opposite: it makes services less efficient.  Job vacancies occur all the time – staff move on or retire – and most of them are doing work on which others depend.  Some will be front-line and some will be providing support services that are vital for front-line workers.  When a post is frozen, either the work of that post is not done or others have to cover that role to the detriment of their own work.  You end up with a Swiss cheese effect and services are delivered less efficiently or there are random gaps in the service.

So just imagine what it would mean to a local community where the local health visitor has retired and the neighbourhood police officer has been promoted, the dustbins cannot be emptied because the person who maintains the refuse collection vehicles has gone on long-term sick and cannot be replaced ……

Welcome to a Tory Britain.

2 thoughts on “A jobs freeze is NOT an efficiency saving – the Conservatives are still fudging on their economic policy”

  1. The other salient point with a jobs freeze is that the vast majority of staff turnover is at the lower end of the salary range – under £20,000 a year and therefore the level of savings anticipated is in proportion to that. Add in the risk factor that if the Tory policies produce a growth in unemployment, turnover reduces and there are fewer vacancies to freeze.

    You might also usefully add that in an office environment, the jobs that will be affected are in most cases, the jobs that make things happen so the iron law of turnover comes into operation – higher paid people do lower grade work because it has to be done – so if you lose the clerk, the manager has to spend his time photocopying because there’s no-one else to do it.

  2. for more years than I care to remember any half decent manager always will look critically at any vacancy that arises to assess whether that post needs filling, or if it does, does it need to be the same or different? a vacancy often allows the flexibility to examine how you can better respond to your customers needs, but once you’ve made that assessment you have to respond, more than often with a slight change to what is wanted to better reflect current circumstances. If you just avoid responding by having a default position of don’t fill vacancies you will be assured of letting down the customer and reducing the quality of service, without paying heed to what is seen to be required. Something those of us who have dedicated the majority of our working lives to public service seek to avoid.

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