In common with other Welsh local authorities, Carmarthenshire is bracing itself for another round of spending cuts as the Labour government in Cardiff prepares for next year's general election and the Assembly elections in 2016 by trying to take the sting out of criticism of its handling of the health service.
Carmarthenshire had been expecting to have to make savings of £20 million over the next three years, but it now looks as though they will have to cut around £46 million.
To pave the way, the council is carrying out a review of its spending on the so-called third sector. In plain terms that's all those charities and not-for-profit organisations which have become such a feature of public life in recent years. An industry which includes a very mixed bag of good, bad and indifferent players.
Incredibly, the County Council is not really sure how much it spends on these organisations, but thinks after some initial housekeeping that it may be around £35 million a year. It also suspects that there may be quite a bit of overlap in the services they provide.
An example of that would be pumping money into Towy Community Church which set up an evangelical debt counselling service in competition with Citizens Advice.
There is certainly money to be saved here - one litigious third sector chief executive in Carmarthenshire awarded herself whopping pay increases and got the taxpayer to fund her "essential" MBA degree course - but many of them provide extremely important services.
The concern is that some of the smaller organisations - the ones without sophisticated lobbyists, PR operations and "special relationships" - will be those that lose out.
Losing out is an alien concept among the council's senior officers. It seems that two of those who recently retired on what everybody else in Carmarthenshire would consider extremely generous pensions have resurfaced in County Hall as consultants on very generous rates of pay.
I hate to burst your bubble but I work in the third sector and regularly refer clients to the food bank and the furniture recycling unit at Towy Church and quite honestly I have found the service fantastic.
Quite honestly you would not think you were dealing with a church organisation. I am a confirmed atheist, rabidly so in fact and I would have picked up on any attempt to introduce religion into our engagement and there has never been the least hint of it.
It fits your agenda to denigrate the Towy Church organisation but take it from me they are doing a very good job and there are many people in Carmarthenshire unfortunately have a great deal to thank them for.
Once retired senior officers should not be allowed to return in any shape or form. It's pure greed as far as I am concerned but this Council seems to have a habit of showing great loyalty to some people.
Thanks Anon@9.37 - you may notice if you read the piece again that I was referring to the debt counselling service, not the foodbank. I am glad to hear that they don't evangelise while handing out food parcels, though.
Who knows, I have no experience of their debt counselling service but I would not mind a wager that there is no religious element to that either.
Let's face it - it may be that the debt counselling offered by CAB may not have been top quality either.
Anon 09:37, As you work in the third sector I would expect you to defend another third sector organisation. Because once Joe Public starts asking questions about funding certain third sector bodies where might it end? A case of hanging together or . . .
Again, they move people off salaries on to consultancy but only mention " reducing the salary bill" when talking of so-called cost-cutting.
O to be on the County Hall gravy train,better than the lottery.
I am very proud to work for a charity - on a low wage admittedly but I get Feel good factor every day.
You might like to try it. Much nicer than sitting around carping and criticising everybody else. It must be quite exhausting thinking up bile to transcribe on a daily basis !!
could you please point me in the direction of any evidence that these directors are 'consultants'? I was under the impression that they were under part-time temporary contract until their successors had been appointed. this obviously saves the tax payer money as pension contributions no longer exist and they are effectively 25% cheaper.
Anon @12.07 - working on a temporary contract sounds like consultancy to me.
There also seems to be a very interesting story behind the appointment of a new Director of Social Services. If sources are correct, it seems that the new director is someone who previously received a very large redundancy settlement and left to work in a similar role for a neighbouring authority.
Can you cast any light on that?
Cnrifwr i can cast some light in that and am delighted to tell you thst it is complete and utter rubbish! Before you atart slinging mud about employees you really need to check your facts first.
It is fairly clear you have contacts inside the organisation but on this occassion your source is so far from the truth its ridiculous.
What is true is that the new Director previously worked in Carmarthenshire and is now returning. The rest is utter rubbish!
So it's not true then that Mr Morgan received a large pay-off when he went to Pembrokeshire?
Oh for goodness sake Cyneifwr you are I think mad.
Do you treat everybody with such suspicion ?
People work for a living and if they move from one authority to another this could be for a host of reasons, including career progression.
This could be another example of you stirring up crap where none exists - just like your diatribes aimed at Mr Gill (and his father) !'
No, he wasnt made redundant so why would he have received a pay out.
I took the courtesy of not mentioning his name!
If I'm wrong Anon, I will apologise of course. As for naming the officer, the council has already done that. It's on the public record.
From what I have heard too, I don't think you are wrong.
Wow - you've obviously rattled the cage of someone in County Hall, Cneifiwr! And a someone, ie Anon 14.28, who either can't type or can't spell, or both. The lady (or gent) doth protest too much methinks.
Blodwen , i assure you that i can both type and spell but was doing it quickly and hadnt noticed the typos. However, if that is all you have to say it really was a rather pointless posting.
The lady doth protest when stupid people who have their facts completely wrong feel that it is appropriate to mud sling about a person who is yet to take up post.
I have worked in the charitable sector in finance departments during my career. They are more often than not gravy trains providing jobs for the boys (& girls). I'm very sure if Joe/Josephine public realised how they spent donations - i.e. on things other than the direct charitable purposes which the giver assumes they're going on - they wouldn't give at all. Donations are "unrestricted" - i.e. unrestricted to direct charitable objectives. Central/admin functions including salaries, but also extras such as LOADS of travel and meals for "staff meetings", big training budgets, staff parties and the like. Before you consider plush offices and company cars.
Blodwen, it appears you too have rattled that County Hall cage! Based on the poor quality of both the content and the typing, it appears that person must work in the Press Office!
It is quite common to see senior officers retiring and returning as consultants (or whatever our Press Office friend would like to refer to them as). I seem to remember an Estates officer retiring and immediately returning to oversee the Parc Y Shambles development.
For the avoidance of doubt Blodwen and Anna Mosity ( pathetic!) i do not work in the Press office . You two really take the biscuit , neither of you has anything constructive to add to the debate so probably best if you just keep your opinions to yourself!
You are quite right Anna Mosity. Another example of a well-paid CCC employee retiring with a golden handshake only to swiftly reappear in a consultancy rôle was the senior officer who suddenly turned up as consultant in the St Catherine Street development in Carmarthen a few years ago.
And, yes, I think you're also right about our friend in the Press Office who's obviously not having a very good day.
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