LETTER: ‘Non jobs’ are improving business and community

I’m writing in response to G. Metcalfe’s comments about ‘non-jobs’ at the council, printed in your paper last week. He refers to Pendle Council staff being employed in jobs which have no quantifiable results.

The council has already reduced its workforce by 75 jobs, and there will be further reductions to follow as we aim to save money year on year through our budget process, while trying to maintain our valued front-line services.

The Events Officer is part of our tourism function, whereas Pendle Leisure Trust provides the borough’s leisure services. As for roles around five a day, walking, stopping smoking and Fairtrade, these are important initiatives which the council supports in the interest and wellbeing of local people, and which local councils are encouraged to promote by Government. We do not employ staff to work specifically on these initiatives, but are part of their wider role. Tourism has real tangible results for Pendle – it brings in £79m. a year to the local economy, supports 250 local businesses and 1,200 jobs. Promoting Pendle is a key part of the council’s tourism team’s role and has seen significant successes in recent times, including the popular annual walking and cycling festivals, as well as local community events. The publicity material the team produces promotes these events nationwide.

They’ll be busier than ever in 2012, a big tourism year for us what with the 400th anniversary of the trial of the Pendle Witches and the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic – with its local connection to Wallace Hartley of Colne. Each of these helps to put Pendle on the map.

As for our localities officers, their role is to provide practical support to area committees across Pendle, working on issues that are important to local residents such as grot spot improvements, environmental visual audits, and anti-social behaviour. They also support a range of community and voluntary groups, and are also responsible for the delivery of statutory duties relating to crime and community safety, equalities and housing.

Residents tell us time and time again it’s important to them to see action taken to deal with dog fouling, littering and environmental blight. Our environmental crime team work hard to deal with these problems and, wherever possible, penalise those who commit offences. There has been a substantial increase in the number of fixed penalty notices issued and successful prosecutions through the courts since the team became active.

The council constantly strives to strike the correct balance between provision of services to the community and the costs of doing so. I believe this administration has made good progress against a very challenging financial background in achieving this goal. There is always more work to be done but I hope G. Metcalfe has a better understanding of what the council is trying to do.

COUN. MIKE BLOMELEY

Leader, Pendle Council