Friday, 14 December 2018
24 February 2011

From an anonymous employee of Slough Council

Frightened council staff speak-out

• 7 March 2011 •

Slough Borough Council's chief solicitor and Head of Legal Services Maria Memoli attempts to censor this letter. Everyone knows Mrs Memoli was taking orders from council chief executive Ruth Bagley

Maria Memoli writes:-

I should inform you that the letter you have published on your website is inaccurate, misleading and potentially defamatory and I would therefore ask you to remove the offending material from your website forthwith.

Despite 17 years experience as a solicitor, shy Maria refuses to state which parts of this letter she thinks are "inaccurate, misleading and potentially defamatory".

This is the second occasion council chief executive Ruth Bagley, salary package £185,000 per year, has attempted to censor items about Slough Borough Council.

Read about the latest censorship attempt.

A message to Ruth Bagley & Rob Anderson

An Alarming Tale of Profligate Council Expenditure

I have been a Labour supporter all my life but I am really bemused by the actions of this current Labour administration in particular.

Not only do I live in Slough but I have worked loyally for years at SBC.

On a weekly basis my colleagues and I are subject to 'all user' emails from our chief executive Ruth Bagley and from our council leader Cllr Rob Anderson telling us about hard times, cuts and job losses.

Whilst we are all acutely aware of the difficult financial situation of councils up and down the country, it is very difficult to stand-by and watch the apparent hypocrisy of our Leadership team.

This is a message to Ruth Bagley and Rob Anderson.

I hope they will take a moment to reflect on what is being said by an ordinary member of staff who is also a Slough council tax payer.

I, and everyone I work with, are fed-up attending your staff briefings where you tell us that you can not help or avoid the redundancies because of the financial settlement received from the government. Meanwhile your profligate senior management team continue to waste money.

Here is one example of many. Finance staff at SBC are currently undergoing a restructure as part of an ongoing programme of cuts. A significant number of jobs are being lost as a result. The total 'savings' are approximately £400,000.

But guess what the Strategic Director of Finance & Resources Julie Evans is doing at the same time?   Using consultants to cover one absent Finance Assistant Director's job and it is costing more than the savings the council is making. Just to spell it out for Ruth Bagley and Rob Anderson, currently Julie Evans is employing:

  • One consultant at £200,000 a year (£17,000 every month),
  • One Housing Finance specialist at £160,000 a year (£13,000 every month),

and just to make sure these two very expensive consultants have not missed anything and have done the work properly, Julie Evans is also employing:

  • Another consultancy at £1,500 a day to provide additional expertise.

Has the senior management team at SBC gone stark bonkers? How much do Ruth and Rob think all this extra expenditure adds-up to ???

Like many other people working for Slough Council I would rather have the extra jobs for Slough people. Instead staff have to witness the senior management team embark on a ridiculous and unjustified spending spree rewarding expensive consultants living many miles away. We could, and should, employ and train local people to do the work. You know it makes sense.

In well-run organisations, when a staff member is away the manager covers. But not at SBC where the unelected and unaccountable directors can do whatever they please - all at the expense of other peoples jobs. It is neither fair, decent, justifiable or acceptable yet no one genuinely holds to account the council's senior management team. Search the council's internal web site (intranet) and you find nothing about this wasteful and frivolous expenditure. Where is the transparency and open and honest local government Labour promised everyone?

33 out of the 41 councillors have no executive power whilst the remaining 8 are executive councillors with neither a clue nor the interest or ability to ensure our borough is being run properly, decently and effectively for the benefit of the public who, one way or the other, pay all the council's bills.

Councillor Rob Anderson will do his best to justify this seemingly wasteful use of public funds by saying its a time of great change and it requires a great deal of skills and expertise to get through and we should bear the pain because long term these harsh cuts, firings and other job losses will deliver a great deal of savings. That is simply not true especially while Julie Evans and her fellow directors continue to splash-out the money saved.

Savings achieved by cutting the jobs of junior staff, are lavished on ridiculously expensive consultants. I think its crazy behaviour by anyone let alone the Leader of Slough Borough Council, the chief executive Ruth Bagley and the section 151 Finance Officer resources director Julie Evans.

Sorry Rob. All this misleading nonsense you are spreading around just does not add up. Everyone can see through the waffle, including me and I am not even an accountant!

If this council is looking to deliver savings of £7 million to £8 million, and every council department has a few examples of these excesses, than as far as I and many others are concerned, we may as well pack-up and go home because you are throwing away the savings made by sacking loyal hard-working council staff on over-priced atrociously expensive consultants who should not be be here in the first place.

You cut jobs then throw away the savings. This is doing nothing to support jobs for Slough people, nothing to safeguard the council tax payers hard-earned money, nothing to really help Slough.

You have a nil confidence vote from a me, a life long Labour supporter.

An Anonymous member of staff,
Slough Borough Council.

We have published this letter because it makes claims we feel the public have a right to know. At the moment the claims are unsubstantiated.

On 24 February 2011 we asked Rob Anderson, Ruth Bagley and Julie Evans for a comment.

On 28 February 2011 we again asked Ruth Bagley and Julie Evans for a comment. However they declined to respond.

We asked for their comments, because we want to be fair to both sides in this serious matter.

We told Rob Anderson, Ruth Bagley and Julie Evans we wanted to publish their version of events.

Reference: SOLA 010584