"Notice boards have been provided for the FBU and other recognised trade unions in order to facilitate the unions’ proper communications with their members about trade union issues. Management does not seek to interfere with proper trade union communications. However, management does not authorise displaying documents or posters on the notice boards, which it reasonably deems to be inappropriate or offensive, as we work to provide a dignified and safe workplace for all."
"Management regards the posters of the caricature of the Authority Chairman, which have recently appeared on FBU notice boards, as offensive and requires all these posters to be removed from notice boards with immediate effect."
Monday, 24 August 2009
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Dear Mr. Johnson,
I hope you think it reasonable that I am making this an open letter. I originally raised my objection to your promotion of poorly paid graduate jobs via Twitter in reply to your own tweet encouraging the jobless youth of the Twitterverse to visit www.london.gov.uk/graduates.I wanted to discuss the issue of poor opportunities for London graduates using the open forum afforded by London’s favourite social networking tool because your answers would be of value to a great many others, not just myself.
However, having received no reply two days later, I pointed out that the @MayorOfLondon account was, sadly, quite inept at replying to London twitterers wishing to correspond with their elected representative online.
A quick glance through your Twitter stream revealed that it had been three weeks since you last replied to anybody, and that particular tweet actually appeared to be little more than an opportunity to plug news of another City Hall initiative. This seems like quite an oversight to me, and reveals a disappointing unwillingness to engage in an open dialogue with voters – especially given recent news that London is the top Twitter-using city in the world.The chance to converse with hundreds of thousands of Londoners is passing you by because of your preference (as you told me in a direct message) for direct messages rather than public replies. Does this not undermine one of the most fundamental principles of using Twitter in the first place, that conversations are conducted in public, thereby allowing dialogues that might otherwise be limited to two people to instead be shared with many others? Why set up an @MayorOfLondon account if exchanges are only to take place in private? It would be simpler to send letters.
Corporate Twitter accounts (or those of high-profile individuals such as yourself) can be used to great effect if conducted correctly, permitting quick and easy engagement with the many people to whom you provide a service, fostering a closer bond than usually possible with conventional media, and, ultimately, helping an organisation connect with, and respond to, actual people without the need for a third party. Used incorrectly, Twitter becomes redundant; one-way, old media principles flailing around in a sad attempt to appear modern, closed to the very avenues of communication that have made the service such a success.
What initially compelled me to seek your comment was the ‘Helping graduates into work’ section of your website, which you promoted to your 44,000 followers on the 10th of August. Having graduated last year and struggled to find a job for several months, I know how difficult it is for those who have recently left university to find work, especially faced with the inordinate living costs of our capital.Upon entering my degree into your job search page I was presented with 10 of perhaps the most inappropriate results I’ve come across on any job site: according to London.gov.uk, the first-class degree in English Literature that cost me in excess of £18k to attain would bestow the privilege of being a ‘Sales or retail assistant’, bringing in around £13,666 pa, working in a ‘Customer care occupation’ for £15,666, or as an ‘Educational [?] Assistant at £15,818.
At the top of the pay scale is ‘Secondary Teachers’ on £25k, but your site neglects to mention a BA would not, in fact, be enough to enter this role as an additional post-grad qualification would also be required. Similarly, I doubt many recent graduates would have any chance of stepping straight into an ‘Editor’ position, as listed on your site.
To suggest that £14k jobs in retail are acceptable for London graduates is faintly offensive. I remember being paid £2,000 more than that in a retail position I held for 2 years before I went to university, and that was nearly six years ago. £14k would barely be enough to live on in London, after income and council tax, rent, and travel expenses (it cost me a little under £200 per month just to get to work in zone 1 from my flat in zone 6) . Equally, it suggests that a degree is virtually useless: Byron’s musings on crossing the Hellespont are pretty superfluous if you can only end up stacking shelves in Tesco.
I, and I imagine many others, would consider £20k about right as a starting point for graduate jobs in the capital. That rules out all but three of the results given on your website – of those, two are woefully unrealistic. That leaves ‘Journalist’ the only viable option for English Lit graduates in London.
All of which leads me to ask why you are promoting such useless career information? This sort of advice is discouraging at best for anyone wanting to find a decent graduate job, and surely puts a great many people off thinking they could ever hope to remain in London once their degree is completed. Do you personally approve of such advice being given to a group of people that, surely, you should be doing everything you can to keep? If so, how (and where) do you propose one might live comfortably for £13,666 in London?Presumably there are no jobs currently available within City Hall, or they would be listed on the website? Or is the job section simply paying lip service to giving graduates opportunities? Why, instead of disseminating information on how to live in urban poverty, aren’t you promoting fairly paid, respectable, achievable careers for graduates? Why not call on employers to provide an adequate wage for those who have taken the time and spent the money on gaining a degree?
I can’t help but think how valuable your input and support could be in really helping graduates find gainful employment if you were willing to engage with them, and with organisations that value intelligent and responsible young people who wish to enter employment but are unfortunately faced with a great many barriers in doing so.
I look forward to hearing from you (and feel free to contact me on Twitter).
Of course if the @MayorOfLondon would like to reply to Jamie here on the blog, then I'd be more than happy to add it to the post.
Your humble servant,
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Friday, 7 August 2009
Thursday, 6 August 2009
Richard Barnes: It is not a decision which is going to stand like a tablet of stone forever. We will certainly be a part of that process in the future.Dave Hill: Can you just explain a bit more about that? You have opted out of this apparently because it is a devisive thing but you say that you will be been part of it in the future? How does that work?Richard Barnes: As I say, no decision is vested in stone. We took the decision for very practical reasons both this year and last. There is no point taking the decision if you are going to be coming out on the bottom end because we were not in a position to do it.And I'm prepared to put our (equality and diversity policies) up to a test for anybody and if we're not prepared to do that then we're not setting the gold standard for London... and that we must be prepared to do.
Dave Hill: I was interested to read a rather provocative article on the Conservative Home website by Harry Phibbs, a Conservative Councillor from Hammersmith and Fulham, expressing alarm that there remains in City Hall a number of diversity officers within the staff. He seemed to think that was a failure on Boris's behalf...Richard Barnes: Well I think Harry Phibbs has a lot to learn about life really hasn't he? It was drawn to my attention what he said and he also criticises the language we used that it's overly PC. Well when Harry aspires to be a little more than a councillor in Hammersmith and Fulham then I'm sure we can address and sit down and recognise the real issues.
Richard Barnes: I represent the Conservative party that David Cameron is promoting across this country and the Conservative party that will win the next general election and I'm not quite sure that Harry Phibbs attitudes will do that...
The days of walking into an organisation with a machete in one hand and a sub-machine gun in the other are long gone.
"Millions of middle-class pensioners face being stripped of their free bus passes. A report by town hall chiefs yesterday said too many people who own cars or can afford tickets are taking advantage of free travel.It said spending £1billion a year of taxpayers' money on them was a waste and free bus passes should be only for the poor. It called for 'targeting' - or means-testing - to select those who deserve the privilege.The report, commissioned and published by the Local Government Association, the umbrella body for councils, brought alarmed reactions from pensioner groups."
"This recommendation is problematic as it could suggest an end to the current national concession, which is a popular policy that benefits millions of people and is highly valued by councils and their communities. Means testing for concessionary fares is not the solution." (My emphasis)
-Update- The Daily Mail manage a second day of outrage about a story they made up themselves.
Monday, 3 August 2009
1. The Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in Croydon will receive £260,000 over the next three years· 2009/10 - £60k· 2010/11 - £100k· 2011/12 - £100k2. If plans get the go ahead Ealing Council would receive a £375,000 contribution over the next three years towards delivering a new rape crisis centre.· 2009/10 – 65k· 2011/12 - £155k· 2011/12 - £155k
"We are of course going to be rolling out more funding for centres in the East and in the North of the city as well.""So keep fighting everybody who is campaigning on this issue and work with us to give London the rape crisis provision that it needs"
-Update- Watch Kit Malthouse struggle with this one on BBC London.