Local Government Menopause

Every Local Authority will go through a period of significant change at some point in their lives, but at some point during 2011 or 2012, all authorities will encounter the Local Government Menopause. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 Local Authorities will experience quite significant symptoms leading up to the menopause, and of those, 87% will find those feelings difficult to deal with.

Causes

The Local Government Menopause signifies the end of the fertile phase of local government life. It is the start of a process that will result in the inability to reproduce. During the last few months there have been so many cuts, both deep and far reaching, that local government has been bled dry. The continuation of service delivery must be passed on to the “private” generation.

Symptoms

The Local Government Menopause can bring about a great sense of loss for many authorities, with reports of hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and irritability.

Irrational behaviour is commonplace in authorities experiencing the change, and has resulted in 65% of services reporting having their pocket money either cut or stopped completely. At least 20% of services have been grounded indefinitely.

The feelings caused by the Local Government Menopause have also been described as “empty council syndrome”, where one or more of the services  “leave home”. Similar feelings may also be encountered when these services “marry” services from other authorities, with the role and influence of the parent authority often becoming less important.

Treatment

A common approach taken to relieve some of these effects is Hierarchy Replacement Therapy (HRT), however this treatment is really only a temporary diversion, should only be used on a short-term basis and can lead to further complications.

The Coalition, Big Society and Ghostbusters

The night the Conservatives didn’t get elected was a strange one. As the skies darkened over Warwick that evening and the clouds swirled ominously, it was more than a little reminiscent of Ghostbusters. Looking back on the situation, it would appear that was no happy co-incidence. It’s easy to spot how the film ties in with what’s happening today. There is no need for me to add anything to the following quotes from the film, they speak for themselves:

“This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.”

“You know, it just occurred to me that we really haven’t had a successful test of this equipment.”

“There’s something very important I forgot to tell you….Don’t cross the streams.”

“I’m worried, Nick. It’s getting crowded in there and all my data points to something big on the horizon.”

Nick to Dave: “I don’t have to take this abuse from you, I’ve got hundreds of people dying to abuse me.”

“Yeah, it’s a sign, all right – “Going out of business”.”

“There’s definitely a *very slim* chance we’ll survive.”

“Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable.”

And perhaps this is the future of the Coalition?

Dave: I think we’d better split up.
Nick: Good idea.
Dave: Yeah… we can do more damage that way.

An artistic commission

Just a quick post to show off my fabulous header image, a specially commissioned piece of work by the very talented Linda Scannell who can also be found on Twitter. She must have good taste as she was the one who gave me my job at Warwickshire County Council!

Linda is a really talented photographer, as well as a clever IT person, so much respect to her all round, and many thanks for “capturing me”!! You can see more examples of her work on Flickr.

Sherbert Fountain and Turkish Delight

Sherbert Fountain & Turkish Delight