The CEO speaks: council outsources management of staff

Inside Croydon is delighted to bring you the latest from the desk of Our Great Leader, council CEO Jon Rouse. He’s certainly not losing any sleep about the possibility of losing his job, because thanks to his enlightened leadership, he’s been able to sign up to a website.

  • This week’s missive from the CEO’s internal council blog shows an aspect of the £200,000 per year man’s hitherto unseen character: his caring, sharing side. After overseeing 200 staff redundancies in April, Rouse hints that there will be more job cuts to come, as Croydon Council provides ever diminishing services, despite no cut in the amount of Council Tax it is charging its residents. Nor any significant reduction in the amount it pays in salaries to Rouse and his team of handsomely remunerated “directors”.

Rouse in action with the council’s online counselling service: “Have you tried switching it off and back on again?”

Of course, some of the services still provided via Croydon – care homes for the disabled and elderly, or school buses for disabled children – have been taken over by outside companies with tremendous, err, efficiency. So it is only right in Jon Rouse’s caring, sharing Croydon Council that it should provide advice and counselling for its own staff who face losing their jobs through an outsourced, online web service, what he calls an “Employee Assistance Programme”. It even offers an option for department managers to phone a number to get a complete stranger to call a member of staff to break bad news to them.

Rouse himself has tried it, and it is not in the slightest cold, impersonal or remote, he says.

Here’s his explanation, in his own words:

Within the last two weeks you would have found on your desk a small booklet entitled “your Employee Assistance Programme” with a business card giving a free phone line to “Workplace Options”, our new staff support provider. This is in our awareness that we have been going through a period of significant change and will continue to do so for some time.

I have been looking at the Workplace Options website to test out for myself the service they provide to support staff going through change and found it extremely helpful.  Not only did I find a website with useful hints and tips in short bite-sized articles covering such things as career transition and all the considerations associated with it, but it also covers monthly topics such as sleep management (May’s topic) and ageing (June’s topic). Issues of well being are addressed along with areas of personal concern such as debt management.

For staff in need of personal support, you can click on to the ‘live connect’ button with an earphone and speak to a counsellor on line, or you can click “contact a counsellor”, ensuring that someone rings you back to speak to you.  It is also possible to telephone the helpline direct on 0800 XXX XXX [redacted by Inside Croydon] to speak to a counsellor immediately. They will provide up to six face to face counselling sessions without you having to ask your manager’s permission.

If you are a manager, you can also ring the number above and ask them to speak with an employee, and with agreement, establish milestones for them and the employee.

Rouse: caring if not sharing

What is interesting for me is that the website covers things you may not have expected such as assistance to those with caring responsibilities and issues outside the workplace that are a major source of stress for people and which may impact on your worklife.

If you want to explore the free provision we have put in place for you, you can log on to www.workplaceoptions.co.uk and click on the member login.  Type in xxxxxxx for the user name and xxxxxxxx for the password, and let me know what you think.

Of course, Council Tax-payers and residents of Croydon can email Jon Rouse and let him know what they think of his management here: jon.rouse@croydon.gov.uk, or by mail to the Chief Executive, Croydon Council, Taberner House, Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 3JS.

  • You can comment on any of the stories posted on this site (although we discourage anonymous comments), or you can write your own article, suggest a subject for an article, or even send us an email: insidecroydon@btinternet.com
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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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