Wiltshire Council will conduct no further investigations into staff  morale, despite calls from some councillors for an independent review.

Independent councillor Jeff Osborn led calls for a detailed investigation to be conducted after 252 redundancies were announced last year  and, shortly after, corporate and service directors were awarded pay increases of up to 16 per cent.

Leader Jane Scott rejected the calls at Tuesday’s oversight and scrutiny committee meeting, blaming any low morale on external criticism of the council, and political infighting.

She said: “I talk to probably more staff than anybody in this organisation, and they are fed up with this council being pulled apart in the press and with councillors criticising their work.

“Officers tell me they are doing their best but they feel it’s not good enough when they are getting constant niggles from councillors.

“We are very good at throwing bricks, but not good at giving bouquets.”
Wiltshire Liberal Democrat leader Jon Hubbard  said: “If you look at sickness rates among council staff you’ll see they are actually declining, so I think morale has been improving, rather getting worse.

“There are serious implications to the recent redundancies but I don’t think staff morale is one of them. We don’t want to create a spiral of decline where we are telling our staff their morale is getting worse.”

The committee agreed to take no further action regarding staff morale, and will refer to the regular staff satisfaction surveys produced every 18 months by its staffing committee.

Coun Osborn said: “The evidence we have is somewhat outdated, as the last survey was done in 2012.

“The reason for my request was is I know scrutiny can only operate on an evidence basis, and we asked that we get more up to date evidence.”