Unfair to pick on penpushers

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Madam,

I agreed with your editorial calling for front line services in our local councils to be protected, but I was sad to see you jumping on the bandwagon against so-called ‘pen-pushers’, whom you and others seem to think have no useful function in public bodies.

Most of the clerical and administrative staff in local government, the police, GP surgeries etc, perform essential roles keeping the front line operating smoothly. Are you really suggesting that the bin men sit down at the computer and work out tomorrow’s rota when they get back from their round? Or that GPs order the stationery and the toilet rolls after a long hard day seeing needy patients? Or that home helps do all their own recruitment and selection and other personnel procedures?

Of course there are opportunities for increased efficiency in all these services. And of course the numbers and salaries of senior managers need to be subject to far more scrutiny. But picking on clerical and admin staff, most of whom are not well paid, is unfair and not up to your usual standard of sensible comment.

Isabella Stone

Snitterton Road

Matlock