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Bonkers Blog July 2014

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22 July (Part 2) - Want a job? Ask a friend

General PurposesAs councillor Peter Craske’s General Purposes Committee meeting droned towards a conclusion, a conclusion that would see the public flung out while, I think Peter Ellershaw’s Golden Goodbye was up for discussion, I scribbled a note to Mick Barnbrook sitting alongside. He had just raised his hand intending to comment on the inaudibility of most of the speakers but Craske steadfastly ignore him. I was struggling to hear too and my ears aren’t showing their age too much yet. There didn’t seem much point in staying.

Something that caught my eye at that meeting and which came up for discussion just before we left, was the proposal to get council staff to recruit their friends and family to jobs at Bexley council. It seemed a bit odd that on the one hand they are looking to cut jobs and save money and on the other are planning to hand out £250 to any current employee who entices his mate or mother into the fold.

There was another reason for believing it wasn’t a terribly good idea for which I have to indulge in a little of my personal history.

About 30 years ago I was in charge of what I shall call a factory for want of a more detailed description and it employed more than 1,300 people. I also had an interest in some smaller units dotted around the country which didn’t get as much attention as they probably should. One day I got a rocket from the Department of Work & Pensions or whatever its equivalent was in the 1980s for employment practices at one of the provincial units.

It turned out that the local management had decided to save money by ignoring London’s instructions and stopped advertising for new recruits and merely asked existing staff to tell their friends of vacancies instead. There was no monetary payment involved, it was just an informal attempt to keep things in the family and save spending money on wider advertising.

Things were rapidly put back on to a legal footing and my company narrowly avoided prosecution. Things may have changed in 30 years but I do wonder whether Bexley council knows what it is doing here. But there again we have seen over and over again that Bexley council is immune from the consequences of criminal activity so probably they have no reason to be concerned.

Note: I try to be pedantically correct with meeting reports and it is possible someone with access to the Agenda will point out that the employment bribe proposal is on the very last page of the Agenda so I couldn’t have left before the Golden Goodbye came up for discussion. In fact chairman Craske altered the running order so that the public would not have to wait outside and then return for the final agenda items. Considerate of him eh?


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