Croydon Council has sent an email to staff to explain that if they want to watch any of the international football matches played in work hours during Euro 2016, “please remember you’ll need to agree this with your manager in advance”. They also say that they are asking council managers “to be flexible” to allow staff time off to watch the football.
The tournament, being staged in France, includes Ireland and Northern Ireland, Wales and England, and kicks off tomorrow.
The council’s “suck eggs this way, Grandma”, patronising message was sent on Tuesday from something calling itself “Internal Communications”. The Fisher’s Folly local bureaucrat who wrote the message or authorised its issue did not put their name to the email.
The email, seen by Inside Croydon, seems to assume that our council’s employees cannot be relied upon to work professionally when there’s a sports tournament on the telly, or wireless, or the interweb. And it casts some doubt on the ability of council managers to, well… err… manage.
“It’s a big event for those of you who are football fans and we’re anticipating a number of staff will understandably want to follow their teams and watch some of the games, wherever possible,” the email cheerfully advises.
The council official who sent out the email then helpfully included a link to uefa.com with a guide to the tournament’s fixtures, so that staff might plan when they want to be away from their desks.
“Some fixtures are taking place during working hours,” says the nameless council official, demonstrating effortless mastery of the ability to state the bleedin’ obvious.
“If you’d like to take time off to watch any of the matches, please remember you’ll need to agree this with your manager in advance.
“As with all sporting events, religious observances, or other big events staff want to participate in, we’re asking managers to be open to agreeing flexible working arrangements and suggestions for how the work can get done.”
Croydon’s council workers are then reminded that they are paid to do their jobs. “It’s all of our responsibilities to ensure we’re continuing to provide excellent services to our residents, so in return for this flexibility, we continue to ask you to maintain good attendance and timekeeping during Euro 2016.”
At least the senior council officer lays down the law in respect of misusing council computers on council time. But not because it interferes with staff doing their jobs – it’s because they fear the council’s computer network might not be up to the task: “There should be no streaming of matches to work PCs or laptops as this will impact on system performance across the council’s network.”
Good luck to anyone who has to try to get through to a council helpline over the next month. And don’t even bother if you need to contact the council next Thursday afternoon: Wales play England that day, with a 2pm kick-off.
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