Camden Council have today announced that they will be cutting a number of heads of staff in response to significant funding pressures.
As part of the Camden 2025 strategy it is predicted that their removal will streamline services, reduce pressures on the taxpayer, and decrease the carbon footprint of the local authority as a whole.
Speaking to the full Council, Cllr Georgia Gould stated: ‘Camden has become far too dependent upon the large number of heads of staff we have within our local authority. It is time that we cut down our services in response to austerity and renewed budget pressures, and give back power to grassroots officers and community groups.’
Cllr Gould advocated decentralising power and including community groups in decisions as one of the key aims of Camden 2025.
But alarm was immediately raised by local groups after the heads of West End Project staff members were found rolling down Gower Street and Tottenham Court Road this morning. Cyclists were heard screaming at the heads to get out the cycle lanes.
But Camden’s Cabinet Member for a Headless Camden stated that: ‘these changes were made necessary and urgent by the recent relaxation of lockdown rules. West End Project staff refused to wear face masks on the job so we were left with no option but to cut off their heads.’
However it has remarkably been reported that the rate of work has increased dramatically and the end of the project may finally be in sight after about thirty or so years. Cllr Grayling put this down to ‘a lot less chitter chatter and a lot more elbow grease.’
Sir Keir welcomed the changes as a ‘step in the right direction.’ He added: ‘I have asked for clarification that the heads will continue to receive full voting rights in the coming local elections.’
But residents of the area have complained that the heads are filling up the streets and impeding social distancing. Veolia have refused to remove them stating: ‘it is not part of our contract to remove the heads of Camden staff.’
When contacted for comment by Save Bloomsbury, Cllr Grayling confirmed that the plan remains to remove the heads of the majority of staff members.
He said: ‘Complaints from the public about inappropriate behaviour and poor standards from Camden staff have skyrocketed over the past ten years. We are pioneering an innovative strategy to remove the heads of most of our staff to prevent them from causing any more problems. Heads attract complaints and the more heads we have the more complaints we get. Evidence has shown that removing these heads doesn’t affect services and in some cases improves them.’
‘It is also clear that the vast majority of our staff don’t actually use their heads while working for Camden. Despite having eyes, it is clear that Veolia employees are largely blind to litter and bin bags on the street. To continue funding their heads is an unnecessary burden on the precious public purse.’
When asked what he would be doing with the heads, he stated: ‘our plans are to recycle them and use them as compost.‘
When asked whether Camden’s cabinet would also be departing with their heads, it was stated that ‘by 2025 we hope to have removed the heads of most of Camden’s councillors, but not those of the cabinet. We hope that this will incentivise under-represented groups to become councillors in the coming years.’
But Cabinet member Abdul Hai said that he would in fact be removing his head on sundays to show ‘solidarity’ with those undertaking this brave sacrifice.
However plans to continue cutting the heads of staff may have been put in jeopardy now that Central Government has demanded council meetings must be held as usual following the easing of lockdown rules.
Cllr Gould has expressed anger at the new rules saying that: ‘we can’t hold meetings without heads.’
It was previously hoped that removing the heads of councillors and staff would allow Cllr Gould and her cabinet to continue making decisions without any public scrutiny. ‘That the council should have to meet in public once again is unacceptable. We are stretched enough as it is and the Tories clearly don’t understand that wearing a red jumper makes me left-wing.’
But whether or not meaningful debate can be held without the use of heads is questionable. We will have to see in the coming weeks and months whether these ambitious plans will continue to define Camden as a world leader and drive environmental innovation and policy-making across the board.