Nov 03 2016

Mutual Backslapping: The Local Government Chronicle Annual Pissup

harrow_council_broken_2It’s the time of year again, when councils up and down the country are telling themselves how wonderful they are for being shortlisted for the Local Government Chronicle Awards 2017. In a swathe of categories – such as Children’s Services, Community Involvement, Digital Council of the Year – councils can spend time (and residents’ council tax money) on putting together snappy applications on why they should be shortlisted for another glass award to sit in Chief Exec trophy cabinets up and down the country.

In reality, we suspect that there’s something rather different going on. In those 19 categories, there are around 5-6 councils shortlisted, so plenty of good news to go around. And, of course, if your council is nominated, you absolutely have to be there to pick up your award, so that’s a table for ten you’ll need to book straight away. No prices are mentioned, but if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. Judging is by a motley crew of other council Chief Execs and sponsor big cheeses, including all five foot nothing of our very own Paul Najsarek who’s now in Ealing following his brief sojourn in the north.

Oh, where is it, you say? That’ll be the Grovesnor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane – what Google describes as a “grand hotel with gourmet dining.” And what, after a night of telling your fellow Chief Execs how great they all are, perhaps you’d like to stay over, which will cost you around £300 per room (including breakfast) for a Deluxe King room, and knocking on for £500 if sir would like a suite. For those chief execs partial to watching badgers, we hear the Hyde Park Rose Garden offers unrivaled facilities a mere 11 minutes walk away.

So, what did Harrow get shortlisted for? Being “entrepreneurial”, apparently. Which has bugger all to do with sweeping the streets and emptying the bins. And “innovation”, which has nothing to do with protecting kids from abuse, supporting victims of domestic violence or helping the homeless. Which possibly says Harrow Council is pretty crap at all of that, but does run a mean MOT bay.

The other element of this, of course, is that it’s sponsored by all kinds of public sector names: Grant Thornton, Capita, Reed Employment, and so on. So it’s looking like a thinly veiled marketing scheme, designed to introduce those sponsors’ top sales people to a number of inebriated council decision makers, who’s only aim is to pass their CVs around, and see what job vacancies there are in other councils where they can come in, change their mind about moving house to be in the local area, and then get a fat payoff to bugger off back down south again.

And those councils who didn’t get shortlisted for anything? We’re sure your time will come: either hire our Sir Lockwood to fill in a few forms, or keep on booking tables, and who knows what might happen.

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  1. red mirror

    by entrepreneurial does that translate into xxxxxxx on everybody’s head to achieve a certain predetermined target or sum of money?regardless of whose lives they blite or ruin oh how lovely jolly good show chaps after you have taken your thirty pieces of silver enjoy the opulence and grandeur of your soulless evening but remember one cannot serve god and mammon for what would it profit a man to gain the whole world but loose his soul to eternal damnation the day is fast approaching when youre gold and silver will be cankered and useless .MARANATHA.

  2. red mirror


  3. Someonewhocares

    Unfortunately there are often ‘misplaced accolades’ like this for Organisations making excuses to give themselves awards whilst actually having a neutral or negative impact on their ‘customers’!

    – Perhaps there should also be a public “Name And Shame” Event immediately after this whereby the affected residents reveal the reality behind the situation? Just a simple ‘Monies Saved/’Jobs Lost’ graph might suffice?

    “Here are the nominations for the ‘Doing Something Quite Unpleasant And Nasty And Dressing It Up As Something Positive For The Masses’ Award”?

    – Or how about the “I’m Alright Jack – You Can Tell By What I Am Paid Even Though I Am Completely Inept But I Don’t Care As I Don’t Actually Have A Conscience Anyway” Award? Probably a Big List of nominations for that one!

  4. Smithy

    Whilst I can understand why people don’t like this sort of thing, pretty much every other industry has awards and ceremonies. Are we saying that those in the public sector should never be congratulated for anything?

    1. red mirror

      so mr smith in what capacity are you employed by harrow council?ONLY an employee could ever defend the indefensible .

      1. Smithy

        Not employed by them. Sorry I didn’t realise this website is nothing more than a hate echo chamber. I’ll leave you lot to it. Dj

        1. Someonewhocares

          Ok, Guessing you actually work for one of the sponsors etc then?

    2. red mirror

      well how about a big old cheer for the humble sweeps who are up at 4 in the morning emptying bins of vomit nappies human feces etc etc being sworn at threatened ignored underpaid looked down upon as scum by people who (if)they were honest have complete contempt for these hi viz garbage warriors will any of them get an invite to the hilton?not xxxxxxx likely if you want to lionize the public sector SMITHY at least lionize those that truly earn their corn AND make a REAL DIFFERENCE SORRY FOR THE ECHO PROBABLY BECAUSE IT IS BOUNCING OFF DEAF EARS.

  5. Someonewhocares

    Not sure we can include Councils as ‘industry’ *per se* but it all depends if there really *is* something worthy of genuine celebration or not; For instance can anyone tell us exactly what was more entreprenurial about Harrow Council though (as compared to other Councils)? Or is it all a ‘secret’ only to be shared at such (expensive invitation-only) shindigs?

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