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Dispelling the myths

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  1. Dispelling the myths Jo Miller Deputy Chief Executive

  2. The state we’re in…

  3. Huge media appetite for council bashing…

  4. Myth: senior pay • “It's time for well paid chief executives who have been resisting cutting their salaries to do the right thing and take a pay cut. They must do this in order to help protect frontline services.”

  5. Reality • There are 346 council chief executives in England, and their average salary is £134,880. A reduction in their pay bill of 50% would only yield 0.35% of the savings needed to fill the £6.5bn funding gap councils are facing for 2011-12, and equates to only 0.05% of total employee expenditure. Even if every authority reduced the entire senior management team pay bill by25%, the savings would be £157m

  6. Myth: non jobs • “Crazy non-jobs like cheerleading development officers and press officers tasked with spinning propaganda on bin collections provide no value to the public. Getting rid of the bloated bureaucracy that has grown in some elements of local government will ensure local authorities can protect front-line services.”

  7. Reality • Councils are responsible for providing 800 different services, and many of the posts denigrated as 'non-jobs' reflect a lack of understanding about the complex nature of the vital work local authorities do. The local government workforce is composed of a very large group of mostly part-time female workers earning below £18,000 per year, and a diverse group of specialists and professionals

  8. Myth: Council reserves “I'm sure many residents would be shocked to find local authorities still have over £10 billion in their piggy banks when they are hearing weekly scare stories of service and job cuts”

  9. Reality • Unlike the Government, councils have to balance the books and cannot borrow in the event of an emergency. Reserves can help reduce the extent of cuts, but this will not protect frontline services and they can only be used once

  10. Myth: bins • “It’s a basic right for every English man and woman to be able to put the remnants of their chicken tikka masala in their bin without having to wait a fortnight for it to be collected”

  11. Reality • There is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works in an inner city suburb won’t necessarily work in the countryside, so councils have to work with residents to find the best solution for them. In the last decade household recycling has more than trebled to 40 per cent – helping the environment and saving council taxpayers millions of pounds in landfill taxes.

  12. Myth: sharing services • “By sharing back-office services, councils will be able to protect the front line”

  13. Reality • There are over 200 examples of where councils share services – and these authorities cannot make the same saving twice. It takes time to share, and the level of spending cuts far exceed what can be delivered from such savings

  14. The impact • 43% of people think councils are exaggerating the impact of the reduction in funding, and if they spend wisely the cuts need not be severe • 35% think the reduction in funding is as bad as many councils are suggesting, and severe cuts are unavoidable (YouGov Feb 2011)

  15. The impact • 39% of people are not satisfied with the way their council runs services – an increase of 8% since last October (LG Insight, Jan 2011)

  16. How do we…

  17. Proactive • Promote the positive ways councils are changing services for the better

  18. Proactive • Placing national stories about the popular things councils do that make a difference to people’s lives