A recent Freedom of Information request response published by Cambridge City Council (data here, here and here) gives an interesting view of how its staff profile has changed over recent years. From a high point of 1,284 staff in mid-2006, the Council’s workforce has fallen to 1,081 in March this year. But this doesn’t tell the whole story.
The FoI request asks for the number of staff in several different categories, based on their position on the local government pay scale (known as spinal column points or SCP). Here’s the data:
There are a couple of things that leap out of this graph:
- There’s been a substantial decline in recent years in the number of operational/front line staff, i.e. those on the lowest salaries
- There hasn’t been a corresponding decline in the numbers of administrators and managers – all the other categories have increased over the same period
Clearly there is some movement of staff between the different categories, particularly around the start of the financial year. The clearest case of this is April 2007, but there are noticeable “blips” in the data each April. But the overall picture is sharp decline in the numbers of front line staff, while the numbers of middle and senior managers have increased. You have to wonder why this is.
The FoI request also asks for the costs of employing consultants, but the Council refused to provide this on the grounds that it would be too expensive to calculate. It may be the case that the work previously done by front-line staff is now being contracted out, and the extra managers are busy managing this. Alternatively, perhaps the managers have been better at making efficiency savings amongst the front-line staff than amongst themselves.
The FoI response also contains data about the total salary payments to the staff in each category, and I’ll be digging into that in a future post.