John Wade Hackneys Greenspace chief has produced his final restructure report of Hackney Parks to the Trade Unions. It involves a massive reduction in front line (Grades 3,4 and 5) staff of 17 permanant posts out of 83 i.e c.20%!! And it recommends the end of the Tree Unit and loss of it’s skilled and knowledgable staff. There is also a new and un-neccessary 4 season working arrangement. And the amount of officers on highly paid PO grades stays at an extraordinarily high level of 20%. We are told over and over again that cuts will not mean loss of front line staff and this illustrates how over and over again this is untrue.
It is claimed the restructure is about 1) efficency yet it fails to demonstrate how any of the changes will increase efficency and 2) create savings yet fails to show how e.g privatising tree maintenace work will save money when many areas of the council are bringing work back ‘inhouse’ as it is widely acknowledged nowadays that the apparent savings of getting rid of inhouse contracts are lost elsewhere on the budget sheet. If there was an absolute neccessity to produce savings, which is debately, the high paying PO grades would be the very first jobs to go, especially as most of them were only created 2-3 years ago and as their neccesity is dubious.
N.b. Surveys and reports (NSPCC/CABE/Royal Commision – The Urban Environment point 4.70 http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm70/7009/7009.pdf ) into parks and park staffing have said over and over that it is staff in parks on the ground that makes parks attractive and safe. These cuts will severely damage the confidence many ordinary people will feel in using Hackney’s parks.