It’s accepted practice to give anyone who works for local authorities abuse and criticism.
The picture of petty bureaucrats and people who are not good enough to get jobs in the “real world” is rarely challenged.
When I met recently with David Spilsbury, our Head of Corporate Finance, to discuss issues relating to the education budget I asked him why he did his job – given the amount of stick it generates. David’s answer was disarmingly simple and sincere – he is committed to the notion of public service. I think this is actually more common than people might imagine and runs through the core of the majority of people with whom I work, and with whom I come into contact during my day-to-day work.
David agreed to come out to a school with me today to look at how his work in managing the council’s finances is translated into public service at the sharp end. We both really enjoyed our time at Preston Lodge and I hope it helped him to understand the challenges we face in education whilst we were also able to gain an insight into the many competing demands for a limited council budget.
I will certainly challenge anyone in the future who casually lobs a criticism the way of our finance colleagues without trying to see the bigger picture.