Climate Change Officers, Political Advisors, Diversity Officers and European Officers cost taxpayers £41 million a year.
The TaxPayers' Alliance today reveals new research on the cost of unnecessary staff at local councils. These non-frontline workers are doing jobs that could be cut, without putting frontline services at risk. Their report reveals for the first time a full list of how many Climate Change Officers, Political Advisors, Diversity Officers and European Officers are working at each council.
This is just a sample of the four roles that we requested information about; the true cost of unnecessary jobs is much higher and represents a large sum of taxpayers' money that can be painlessly saved.
The findings reveal:
- 141 full time equivalent council employees worked as Political Advisors at a cost of nearly £5 million in 2009-10.
- Nearly 183 full time equivalent council employees worked as European Officers at a cost of £6 million in 2009-10.
- 543 full time equivalent council employees worked as Diversity Officers at a cost of nearly £20 million in 2009-10.
- 350 full time equivalent council employees worked as Climate Change Officers at a cost of over £10 million in 2009-10.
- The UK council with the most staff in these positions is Birmingham, at a cost of over £2 million, which included the employment of 28 Diversity Officers who accounted for nearly all of the cost.
- The council in Scotland with the most staff in these positions is Glasgow, at a cost of nearly £350,000.
- The council in Wales with the most staff in these positions is Caerphilly, at a cost of nearly £450,000.
- The council in Northern Ireland with the most staff in these positions is Belfast, where the cost was over £250,000 in 2009-10.
Chris Daniel, Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance, says:
"Councils need to cut spending and start delivering value for money to hard-working taxpayers, but not all spending cuts affect frontline services. Many household budgets are under huge pressure and council tax has doubled in the last decade, but this money isn't necessarily going on the services households rely on most. Cutting down on staff doing unnecessary jobs is one way councils can save money without affecting those frontline services. These jobs are all the result of councils going too far in following the edicts of central government, instead of focussing on local priorities; or chasing grants that are, in the end, more than paid for by British taxpayers. Over time, we should move towards a situation where interference from Whitehall doesn't encourage this sort of waste. But right now councils can deliver better value for money by cutting these jobs."
The full report is here. It should be noted that lots of councils don't employ anybody in these posts. For instance Bromley employs no Diversity Officers. This should help explode the myth that such posts are a statutory requirement.
Camden employs a staggering 13.5 full time equivalent members of staff as Climate Change Officers. Windsor and Maidenhead employ none. But they have installed smart meters causing council energy consumption to drop by 15 per cent overnight.