Star comment: Glossing over the bad news at Shrewsbury College

Shrewsbury College says that money saved through axing up to 30 jobs will be ploughed back into teaching, which is a bit of gloss to put on what is bad news for the college and terrible news for those who look like they are about to be thrown out of work at a time when all jobs are precious and employment is hard to come by.

The jobs at risk are management and administration positions, the sort of people who are sometimes described as back-room staff, as opposed to those on the front line.

It, therefore, might seem that getting rid of them will increase the efficiency of the organisation and, as the college is implying, allow more to be directed to the sharp end.

This is the sort of argument that has been employed in support of sacking back-room staff at organisations such as the police and within hospitals.

In the current climate everybody has to look very hard to see where money can be saved, and if there are administration positions which are functionally useless, then it makes sense to wave goodbye to those posts by not filling them as they become vacant.

However, one of the reasons there are so many of these much-maligned back-room people nowadays is that, far from there being nothing for them to do, running a business or organisation involves so much paperwork and administration that a team is required to do it, otherwise the job would fall on those on the so-called front line, hampering their ability to carry on their work.

If Shrewsbury College is able to slim down its management and support functions without actually downgrading its capabilities and flexibilities, and without lumping burdensome extra work on teaching staff, it will be a beneficial move, except in one respect.

Because at the end of the day people are facing losing their livelihoods, with all the misery and difficulty that will bring.

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Comments for: "Star comment: Glossing over the bad news at Shrewsbury College"

Jayne Oliver

Quite right, a devastating (and worrying) day for some people. Some people who have mortgages to pay, perhaps families to support and other bills to pay.