Five years of Tory rule at County Hall have left staff morale at Somerset County Council at rock bottom. A survey reveals staff are unsure about the future and say that that ‘low levels of trust and integrity’ are an issue.
The findings come in a ‘Have Your Say’ survey of the workforce conducted between November 22 and December 13 last year. At that time, the chief executive Sheila Wheeler was away from her desk on leave. She eventually left for reasons that have never been properly explained.
The survey shows that employees are proud of the work they do, but perceive that morale is low where they work, with only 30 per cent agreeing that they were proud to tell others that they are part of Somerset County Council.
Perception of low levels of trust and integrity
Fifty one per cent said that their pay does not adequately reflect their duties. Staff do not think that they are given the opportunity to challenge the way things are done and appear to lack confidence in the decisions made by senior managers. There is a perception of low levels of trust and integrity and staff are not clear about the vision for the future of the council. They feel managers are poor at keeping them informed and IT equipment is out of date.
Under a Tory administration, Somerset County Council has cut spending and restructured the way it delivers services.
Somerset County Labour group leader Cllr Leigh Redman said “Somerset County Council staff are dedicated to doing their best for the people of the county. But they have seen services cut, fragmented and outsourced. And they have worked for three months with a crisis of leadership, without a functioning chief executive. Understandably, they are worried about the future and their morale is low. I am concerned with some of the points made and will be taking them up with the new chief executive for comment, if these are accurate then we need to find a way to better support our staff members.”