Rosemary Sloman, the head of adult learning and skills at the council, in charge of Croydon Adult Learning and Training, or CALAT, left her office for the final time last night, as the cuts now bite into the adult retraining services that have provided courses for as many as 20,000 people a year.
According to one insider, Sloman’s sudden departure is indicative of the disarray over council cut-backs at CALAT.
Sloman made the announcement, “with mixed emotions”, in an email to her colleagues sent on February 25, and reveals that budget cuts will probably see even more jobs axed in CALAT’s senior management team – SMT in councilspeak – though these further changes have yet to have been planned.
CALAT has been operating since the 1945, and according to Croydon Council’s own website, its courses “enable people to improve their existing qualifications and skills … We provide vocational and job search training and deliver training in the workplace for specialised workforce development opportunities.”
Sloman had worked in Croydon for 12 years. She was in charge when CALAT opened its centre in New Addington five years ago, in an effort to take relevant training courses to areas of the greatest deprivation.
At a time of high unemployment locally, reducing or withdrawing retraining opportunities as offered by CALAT seems likely only to prolong people’s dependence on benefits – which are about to undergo fundamental changes, too, with an expected increase in poverty.
In her farewell email, Sloman said that her departure was due to changes in some council departments and “budget pressures”.
She had been in “considerable discussions” with Paul Greenhalgh, the six-figure salaried “executive director” of Croydon’s education department and one of his senior staff, Sylvia McNamara, since last July, in which one significant factor was “the need for the service to achieve a higher level of savings than anticipated”.
According to Sloman, “CALAT Senior Management Team are being formally consulted and the some of the proposed changes”. Further redundancies were expected to be announced.
“My post as head of adult learning and skills will be deleted from March 31,” Sloman told her staff, “but I will then stay with Croydon Council on 3 days a month contract for 6 months (May to October) in the first instance to maintain the outward facing role for the authority.
“This also allows me to pursue new career opportunities (which I have been pursuing since July last year when it became clear my post was at risk due to the proposed changed role, reducing responsibilities and budget savings.”
Due to untaken holiday, Sloman’s last day in office was yesterday.
It does not take much reading between the lines that Sloman was wanted to distance herself from her bosses’ schemes for other job losses among her managers, which she said would be announced this week.
Sloman wrote: “Sylvia and Paul are considering the proposal presented to SMT colleagues about the ongoing senior management team and leadership arrangements but until the discussions are completed, the final structure can not be released. Sylvia intends to tell SMT colleagues the outcomes of the consultation meetings they have had with her by next week and once agreed with those colleagues, you will be informed.”
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