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.

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