Criticism over city council’s £200,000 leadership training scheme

September 3, 2010

The Nottingham Post reports that “Nottingham City Council plans to spend almost £200,000 on a “leadership programme” for ten councillors and 90 senior managers.

 The council says the training is “critical” to ensure members and officers have the capability to lead the authority through a “difficult economic period”.

 But the decision has been criticised by opposition parties and the public sector union, Unison, who question whether taxpayers are obtaining value for money at a time when the Government is cutting council funding.

 In the past four years, reports have highlighted weaknesses in the leadership of the council. The latest expenditure is aimed at increasing leadership skills, creating a greater understanding of expectations, better use of resources and better morale in the workforce…

Council chief executive Jane Todd said: “These programmes for senior and middle managers and executive councillors work out at £500 per person. “That’s a value-for-money investment in the people who are involved in making tough decisions about how we continue to provide services to the citizens of Nottingham in the coming years.”

I actually agree with the need for good quality training for senior managers and Councillors. However, as one person pointed out, it doesn’t look good that Jane Todd has got the figures wrong. The training is actually going to cost £2,000 per person, not £500 as quoted.

Follow the link below to read more.


Jon Collins Update

June 28, 2010

Jon has apparently emailed every Nottingham City Council employee criticising the Government’s budget and the impact budget cuts will have on services provided by local authorities.

You may not agree, but this seemed a pretty party political move and not appropriate for someone who is the Lead member of Nottingham City Council.

Jane Todd on the otherhand, the Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council, sent a general email to employees talking about the need to work together during difficult times.

Now that is appropriate.

Nottingham City Council dysfunctional

February 27, 2009

The Evening Post has obtained a secret draft report into the culture of Nottingham City Council. On the report’s front page it says “this council is dysfunctional.

“Among the many problems identified by Hardmoor Associates were a lack of vision, no strategic direction, an overload of initiatives, poor project management and little project management so staff have operated without clear priorities.

Senior managers were subject to withering criticism. “The Strategic Management Team is seen as totally ineffective…It has not provided clear leadership, it is not joined up, it is unfocused and lacks any dynamism,”stated the consultants.

The leader of the City Council Coun Jon Collins, and the deputy leader, Coun Graham Chapman, were “seen as meddling, wanting to micro-manage the organisation and act as officers”, the consultants claim.

Coun Collins was viewed as “a solution to the council’s problems but also the creator of many of those problems” due to his desire to bring about change, which resulted in him playing an “interventionist role”.

He gets upset and shouts at staff if things are not done, even if his expectations are unrealistic, the consultants claim.

Labour councillors were criticised for wanting to micro manage officers and “meddling” to promote their own “pet schemes or ward issues”. They were accused of deflecting officers from their priority work.

Follow the link below to read more.

Nottingham Ambassadors

February 20, 2009

Some of Nottingham Evening Post’s readers may have wondered about the statement below.

“Jane Todd, the council’s chief executive since May 1 last year, has issued a statement to a group of movers and shakers called, Nottingham Ambassadors.”

That makes it sound much grander than it is. The Nottingham Ambassadors are simply key people in the public, private and voluntary sector that Nottingham City Council target with positive stories about the City.

The positive stories can come from the private, voluntary and public sector and the role of Nottingham Ambassadors are to spread good news stories about the City. So Jane Todd sent her email explaining why the top secret report into Nottingham City Council was not made public, to all the Nottingham Ambassadors.

Please see below to read more about Jane Todd’s email.

Jane Todd’s promotional emails

February 20, 2009

Its always worth reading the comments on the Evening Post’s website. They sometimes reveal bits of information that certainly I didn’t know.

“Andy, how dare you! Jane Todd is doing a great job. And every week she emails all staff and posts on the intranet to tell us all just that. The other week she was on holiday, this week she’s at some random lunch / dinner thing.

Not sure when or where she finds the time to do work between composing the “This is what John and I did this week” then posting her response to this new shambles saying what a great job she’s doing blah blah blah. Must be a hard life.

Any chance of doing anything useful? Makes the staff in my office SICK to read her ramblings. I worked out on her salary, if she’s a quick typer, it probably cost £150 per weekly email. That’s nearly £8k a year that could be saved!”

The comment has now been deleted from the Evening Post website.

Jane Todd’s email

February 19, 2009
An email has been circulated by Nottingham City Council in response to the Nottingham Evening Post’s article about a secret report that Nottingham Council are refusing to make public. The email says:

You may have seen the front page of the Evening Post on February 18th referring to a report about the management of the City Council which the paper said the authority had refused to publish. 

 The Post offered to print a response to the story from the Council’s Chief Executive Jane Todd but when one was provided the paper was not prepared to print it.

The full response is provided below for your information.


 Sometimes I wonder what it will take for the Nottingham Evening Post to recognise that things have changed and continue to change – for the better – at Nottingham City Council.


The front page story headlined City’s Top Secret File, on which the council was not even invited to comment, is so wide of the mark and so out of date that many readers must be beginning to wonder if their local newspaper has it in for their local council.


No-one would deny the media’s legitimate role in holding public services and public servants to account in the public interest.  But where is the public interest in splashing on the front page a story that dates back to 2006?  Well before I was Chief Executive.  Before even Michael Frater was Chief Executive.


It seems the Post may have its iPod stuck on shuffle and it’s playing one old tune after another.


It’s been acknowledged that relationships between senior Councillors and senior managers previously – but no longer – employed by the council did not work as well as they could.  But things have moved on.  I’ve been here since 1st May last year and I think it reflects on my time here that the Post has been unable to date any of its “Trouble at the City Council” stories later than June last year.


What will reflect even more upon how things have changed will be the Audit Commission’s next Comprehensive Performance Assessment Direction of Travel report due to be published in March.  I don’t expect it to say everything is perfect but I am confident that our significant steps in the right direction will be acknowledged.


To be very clear, we have not released an old, draft report to Councillor Sutton because, on balance, our legal officers and advisors do not believe it to be in the public interest to do so.  I must emphasise that councillors have had no role whatsoever in making this decision.


It strikes me – and I know it strikes people I talk to – that the Post seem to be seeking to denigrate the City Council at any opportunity – no matter how old the story – and I think people deserve better. 


It does Nottingham no good and the Post no good if we’re raking over old coals rather than pulling together, particularly in these difficult economic times, in the interests of Nottingham and the people who live here.


Jane Todd

Chief Executive, Nottingham City Council ”


Put your questions to the city council

January 14, 2009

“READERS (of Nottingham Evening Post) can put their questions to the top brass at Nottingham City Council about the proposals to axe hundreds of jobs.

Leader Coun Jon Collins and chief executive Jane Todd have agreed to answer Post readers’ questions after industrial action was threatened by union members.

The council is looking to shed 350 positions in a bid to save £12m to cover a shortfall in the 2009/10 budget.”

Reproduced below are some comments/questions posted on the Posdt’s website. However, even in the short time I was on the website, some comments were removed.

“depts with huge losses due to bad management should be looked at. eg the youth service, the play service, radford community centre, issabella st. certain school organisations eg pru’s. they employ unqualified staff at vast wages. agency workers, if they are good employ them. why pay agency fees. why employ associate heads at £650 a day?”

“whilst the Council has stated that the £42M lost in Icelandic banks would not have an impact on the council as it’s not money relied on for day to day running costs, wouldn’t it be handy at times like these?”

Follow the link below to read more.

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