Thursday, 30 October 2014

Leader of Northampton Borough Council "Staff work" in "holiday camp"

You can read the article about this here

As a local resident proud of my Northamptonian heritage I'm really disappointed by the comments of David Mackintosh about Council staff and his statement that when he talked  "to businesses across the whole of the town, the terms and conditions under which ... staff work[ed], frankly they ... think this is a holiday camp".

Perhaps he could do working people of the town a big favour and name and  shame these organisations so that we can know what they think about the need for decent pay? Perhaps we should look at all of the facts to see whether this is an objective assessment or an off the cuff remark.

For our town to thrive we need excellent public services staffed by well trained, well motivated individuals who know that they are valued by the people that they serve and the people that lead thier organisations. We only have to look at the effect of the County Council altering the terms and conditions of their staff on the services they deliver. The result - abysmally poor levels of experienced permanent staff in social services and a heavy over reliance on expensive agency staff to deliver basic service levels that are still classed as "inadequate" by inspectors.

The Borough Councils expenditure on staffing is a big proportion of the budget. What a shame, that the Council leadership don't try and get the most out of this spending by valuing the best resource that they have and choose rather to have a race to the bottom for both staff and local services.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Bringing Human Rights home to Northampton

Today, Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council were supporting partners to the British Institute of Human Rights countrywide tour with an event hosted in the Cheyne Walk Club in centre of Northampton.

An audience of over forty people gave up a whole day of their time to debate, discuss and engage with the concept of human rights in twenty first century britain and aboard. The Human Rights tour has been taking place since 2011 and for the first time it had arrived in Northamptonshire.

With a wide range of information about human rights including detailed description of the background to the establishment of the human rights and the framework of rights, the sessions covered case law, the balance of absolute and non absolute rights. There was a wealth of information delivered in an approach that could only be described as extremely user friendly.

It was really positive talking with others in the break at the event at a time where human rights has been hitting the headlines with both the media and the breadth of the political classes having their say.

The trouble is that we are all too comfortable to accept human rights as an idea that should be upheld in a far off foreign land. For right here and right now, human rights doesn't have a poster boy or poster girl that we can all relate to as it is about all humans many of which we will never really share a similar experience with. Much of the time arguments of social justice promote the concept of "that could be you ... so support their cause". All too often human rights battlefields require supporters to support causes that they will never experience, so the support has to be there with the argument that "this is the right thing to do"and the human rights cause, particular in these times desparately need you and many others to do the right thing.