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Job cuts at CYF

Written By: - Date published: 12:59 pm, July 20th, 2011 - 51 comments
Categories: child welfare, jobs, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Guest poster David Clark at Red Alert has broken news on job cuts at Child Youth and Family that hasn’t appeared anywhere else in the media yet.  See:

Children at risk as Government axes frontline CYF staff

David Clark is the Labour candidate for Dunedin North

National is about to axe front line staff at Child, Youth and Family. Up to 30 front line jobs are to be cut from Child, Youth and Family services nationwide. …


Cuts make lie of National’s promise not to cut front line services.

Cuts of up to 30 front line staff at Child, Youth and Family make a lie of National’s promise not to cut front line services.  Our community, our children deserve better. We cannot stand by and let these cuts occur. …

Go check out the full posts on Red Alert.

51 comments on “Job cuts at CYF ”

  1. Any cuts to an organisation who are there to protect children is placing children at risk. If anything, frontline services to ensure the safety of children need to be increased. Is the safety of children not a priority of any government?

    • It depends if they are effective frontline services or not. And it’s possible the resources could be better used elsewhere. Or it could simply be a cost cutting measure.

      There must be more details known in order to demand “the Government must reverse this appalling decision”. The Red Alert post doesn’t give details so it’s impossible to make any sensible judgement one way or another.

      • Peter 1.1.1

        I’ll be convinced about the number of job cuts when the private sector, which is favoured by this Government, demonstrate that acting in their own efficiency driven self-interest will take up the slack. Don’t forget that jobless numbers have increased by over 100,000 since NACT came to power in 2008.

        What is the specific strategy to increase the number of jobs apart from cutting them in the public sector?

        • Jim Nald

          Over 100,000 already??

          As a former National and ACT supporter of past decades, I reckon National will happily keep cutting more jobs.

          Should they continue slashing their way through another 70,000 jobs and then pause to let employment return to normal levels again, National might, if they are lucky, be able to boast that they have newly created 170,000. Whoopdedoo.

          Easy peasy.

        • Colonial Viper

          Private sector makes more money by not hiring

        • Vicky32

          What is the specific strategy to increase the number of jobs apart from cutting them in the public sector?

          Yes, how is that supposed to help?

      • felix 1.1.2

        Actually Pete Squirrel, no more details need to be known to know that:

        1. National repeatedly promised to “cap, not cut” the public service, and

        2. National repeatedly promised to increase, not reduce front-line staff at all.

        There’s no room for National – or you on their behalf – to wiggle out of either of those promises in this instance.

        Those two broken promises already make it an appalling decision and an insult to the people who believed them.

        • Secret Squirrel

          Links please on both 1 and 2.

          If they did promise not to cut anything at all then they were very stupid but I don’t recall them saying anything like that.

          Cuts of any services or jobs should always be an option, it’s gross incompetence to only ever increase and add costs and jobs and never to reduce or cut anything obsolete, unnecessary or inefficient. No government is that stupid.

          • mickysavage

            Here Squirrel
            Link 1
            Link 2

            [lprent: As amusing as that was. I think a real link would be more useful – not everyone follows the news or remembers old policies and promises as assiduously as a political blogger. I see that r0b has provided them. ]

            • Secret Squirrel

              The depth of your research flatters you.

              • r0b

                Link1: “National campaigned on “capping” the public service during the 2008 election…” 

                Link2: “First, let’s be clear what National won’t do. We will not reduce the number of front-line staff. Under National, the number of doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, police and other front-line staff will grow.”


                • Re 1: capping does not rule out reductions.

                  9. a maximum limit, as one set by law or agreement on prices, wages, spending, etc., during a certain period of time; ceiling:

                  Re 1: Key also mentions social workers in his newsletter. If the current job cuts are reductions in numbers and not moving resources to other frontline jobs then National are doing something Key said they wouldn’t do.

                  • felix

                    It rules out sacking people you moron.

                    The “cap, not cut” promise was that reductions would only be made by attrition.

                    As. You. Know.

                    • – I’ve not yet seen a “cap, not cut” promise.
                      – I’ve not yet seen that these jobs are cuts to front line numbers rather than relocating positions.
                      – I’ve not yet seen that these jobs will be by sacking and not attrition.

                      If you can back up you bravado with facts then I’ll also be concerned about the cuts.

                      There have been cuts in numbers over the past two years. It’s ridiculous to think that job numbers should only ever be increased or held the same and never reduced. Increasing public service jobs at the rate Labour did was not sustainable, especially when you strike recessions and dipsticks say you can’t ever cut numbers.

                    • felix

                      Key rules out slashing public service

                      There’s your “cap, not cut” promise.

                      Your other requests are just taking the piss. I also won’t be providing you with links to prove that the sky is blue or that water is wet.

                    • You didn’t read that very well, did you.

                    • felix

                      Every word, idiot.

                    • Yeah, but obviously not very well. Comprehension deficit.

                    • felix

                      I read it very well.

                      It’s a record of John Key promising to cap, not cut, the public service.

                      What’s your problem? Apart from the obvious ie that defending John Key and National over yet another broken promise is a massive pain in the arse for you.

                      Raise an objection. State a case for once in your miserable deluded life, Pete.

                    • The one news article you’ve linked to (which is vague) emphasises a cap is an upper limit, it discusses reducing numbers, and Key is not quoted as saying the number of jobs won’t reduce.

                      But today he said the differential between the two numbers did not mean National would embark on a slash and burn exercise to reach the lower figure.”

                      Nothing saying that they won’t reduce numbers at all, and nothing saying how they will or won’t reduce numbers.

                      Public Service Association (PSA) national secretary Brenda Pilott said she was encouraged by a meeting between union leaders and Mr Key yesterday and the PSA would continue to work with him to avoid deep job cuts.

                      That clearly implies some cuts were accepted and expected by the PSA, otherwise she would have said “to avoid any job cuts”.

                    • felix

                      That’s fair enough.

                      As I’ve pointed out many times, a legalistic, literal translation of most of what comes out of Key’s mouth yields absolutely zero in terms of meaning or commitment to anything, which is just the way he likes it.

                      You could use the same argument to say that Key never promised tax cuts “north of $50 a week”.

                      In strict literal terms, he probably didn’t. But he repeated the key phrase in public so many times (and here’s the important bit) in the context of discussing tax cut promises, that it’d be hard to find an ordinary voter in NZ who didn’t think they were promised “north of $50 a week”.

                      That’s the flipside of playing the “perception is reality” game, eh?

                      We’ll find out how many voters thought they were promised north of $50, and how many thought their jobs were safe, on November 26.

                      And all the crafty wording and legalistic interpretation won’t be worth diddly.

                  • In the sector I work we were first threatened with a merger; once the dust had settled on they we went through a horrendous restructure; during this period 12 of 50 (nearly 25%) of the staff departed, some to other roles in the public sector, some to early retirement, some just totally pissed off. The work that was being done was, and still is, frontline, yet jolly Mr. Ryall thought these could be labelled back office.

                    So, now 25% of the contracted work has not been achieved (similar units elsewhere are reporting similar issues), but that’s OK, it’s only health work.

                    BTW I have worked twice with CEO’s and/or GM’s who came in, slashed and burned, gained kudos for ‘fixing’ the organisation, and departed, leaving a big mess behind. Kind of like what is happening in all the public sector.

                    • Vinsin

                      Squirrel is your retardation inherited genetically or learnt?

                    • felix

                      Squirrel is your retardation inherited genetically or learnt?

                      Administered orally via National’s (ahem) membership.

              • freedom

                “The depth of your research flatters you”

                SS, the shallowness of your integrity exposes you

          • mik e

            Like the pr spin doctors increase in funding govt consultants at $1400+a day in the prime ministers dept, just like the 90,s replace doctors with spin doctors

      • Treetop 1.1.3

        The Autism Waikato office is no longer there to assist parents who struggle daily. Places like CYFs have to take up the slack and offer support. If any CYFs cuts are being made in the Waikato what next?

        Children need to be a priority because of how vulnerable they can be when neglected/abused and their intellectual/physical needs, the resources are required now, delays are not in the best interest for child development.

  2. Jono 2

    Yeah, and a hundred jobs are going at DOC across the regions. These are scientists, IT and GIS specialists, planners, concessions and permits processors, and community relations staff (note: not public relations, but the people that work with community groups). Not policy analyists, not managers, not Wellington bureaucrats. And thats this year, next year the Area Offices (ie the people at the coalface) will get a kicking.

    The Northland Conservancy in Whangarei is loosing half its staff, half of that in straight redundancies and the remainder in restructuring existing stuff into one of three national hubs or locally-based virtual hubs.

    As well as the general loss for the Department and Conservation generally this will force people to leave the community to relocate to a national hub job even if they arent made redundant, as well as destroy opportunities for science-based jobs outside of the big centres. It will also further reduce the opportunities for career advancement in an organisation where there is already little room to move as senior managers sit on positions for decades. Once again institutional memory will be lost, and staff with an intimate knowledge of their local conservation estate and its management issues will disappear, or be replaced by generalists in hubs who dont know the area.

    Good luck getting your timely, accurate fire-fighting maps on a hot weekend in the Far North when your GIS person is in Hamilton working office hours.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Sounds like you have a good idea of what’s coming down the pipeline and what the effects might be.

      Maybe you should consider writing a guest post here?

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      :shakes head:

      Atrocious degrading of our capabilties as a nation

      I should add that anyone they want to get rid of these days they just write them a memo the week before saying “Your job is no longer classified as being “front line”

      Every one knows what the following memo reads

    • Once again institutional memory will be lost, and staff with an intimate knowledge of their local conservation estate and its management issues will disappear, or be replaced by generalists in hubs who dont know the area.

      Enough detail (albeit one side of the story) to have real concerns about this – centralisation is often detrimental, and with something as local knowledge orientated as much the work DOC does it’s more of a concern.

      Regions need to fight hard to retain what they have, in fact to do more – and it should be something electorate MPs in those regions should work hard to support.

      • freedom 2.3.1

        or you could not vote in politicians who make these cuts in the first place

    • Sookie 2.4

      This is what I have heard for Otago and Southland Conservancies as well. They’re looking at losing 3/4ths of their so called back office staff to create ridiculous and unworkable hubs, and the Area Offices are next. Over a third of the country is under DOC management, well how the hell are they supposed to manage it? More weeds, more dead birds, more possums, more cows and freedom campers shitting everywhere. 100% Pure LOL.

  3. mik e 3

    I suppose its to do with the free trade deal with India so we can be competitive in the child exploitation stakes, CYF staff are already over worked most have case loads 6to10 times what social workers can deal with. Don,t worry Paula Benett will give more money to the destiny church and they will fix it

  4. Lest we forget/acknowledge – one mine inspector and what did that decision lead to?

  5. Descendant Of Smith 5

    The reality across the public service is that capping means a reduction any way you look at it.

    What is capped is the budget not the staff numbers so as pay progresses through normal progression, the staff negotiate pay increases then this money has to be funded through staff reduction.

    From my memory of the media reports in the 80’s the term sinking lid was used to describe this previously.

    Someone some months ago in a post commented on how each time they go into one departments office that there is another staff member missing. That presumably is the lid sinking.

    Did anyone see the government give any public service departments any additional administrative money to respond to Christchurch?

    They seem quite happy to give Shipley a $1,000 per day to monitor Cera but anything to the public servants who actually do the work?

    Any evidence across any government departments as to how many backline jobs have gone and how many additional front-line staff have been employed.

    Maybe part of the question should also be about how much money has been moved to frontline budgets from national budgets e.g. have regions and local offices got increased or decreased funding?

    Out of curiosity I thought I’d look to see where are jobs being advertised:

    7 Backroom 2 frontline


    17 backroom 3 frontline

    5 backroom 5 frontline


    23 frontline no backroom

    More here:


  6. Vicky32 6

    As my son (a cardiac nurse) has pointed out, if ‘backroom’ staff are got rid of the front line staff have to do the job. Ward clerks for instance, while they are considered ‘backroom’ and disposable, they are not…

    • Add to that Vicky that most of the backroom jobs were created by treating health services like businesses. I now do a 30 page report detailing my work for the month, it goes to my manager who collates 15 staff, that goes to her manager to collate for our division, which then goes to the Ministry – about 100 pages per month.

      Perhaps the notional idea of TRUST should be something that should be looked at?

      • rosy 6.1.1

        You might be interested in this research Ianupnorth

        a new study raises the thought that hospitals might have fared better over the past three decades if more doctors had been encouraged to seek, and been selected for, chief executive roles.

        The research has been carried out by Amanda Goodall, a visiting fellow at Cass Business School in London, who has found a clear correlation between high-performing hospitals and leadership by doctors.

        • seeker

          I feel this was the fault of career guidance during Thatchers’ amoral ‘reign’ . They should have described the dual role of doctor and CEO in order to have hospitals running effectively as they were before Thatcherism (neo-liberal idiotology) took over.
          How she changed the face of Britain–for the worst. At least her old side kick Murdoch is getting his come uppance and she (unfortunately for her) is getting very close to meeting her Maker. I think she might find she is in the hot seat for all the damage she has done to others.(Roger Douglas et almight find they have a similar appointment).

          • Ianupnorth

            What Seeker says is exactly right; the Carry On films and Dr movies from the UK in the 1960’s showed a model where accountability was the responsibility of clinicians. In came Thatcher – she chose to ignore the Black report, which clearly stated that ill health was more likely to be related to your socio-economic status than your address or ethnicity and instead created the ‘Griffith’s report’, where Sir Roy Griffith’s the Chairman of the supermarket chain ‘Sainsbury’s’ suggested the need for lots of managers, accountants, etc. Those with clinical understanding of services were replaced by those from business who did not understand how clinical services should work.

            • millsy

              You do realise when Baroness Thatcher dies, the MSM are going to have orgasms about how wonderful she is. Im dreading it already.

              Everytime I see archive footage of her, I always cringe at that I-am-so-fucking-better-than-you-and-dont-you-fucking-forget-it-bitch-so-lick-my-high-heeled-boots-now accent.

              • I hope you signed the petition – No state funeral for Thatcher

              • seeker

                Heard on QI last night,,,

                “Confucius said,”
                the superior man understands what is right, the inferior man understands what will sell.”

                I think this puts poor old Margaret in her rightful place and all who sail in her…..

    • felix 6.2

      Vicky32: “if ‘backroom’ staff are got rid of the front line staff have to do the job.”

      Then in the next round of culls, guess what? They can be treated as backroom staff!

      Clever eh?

      • Vicky32 6.2.1

        Fiendishly clever! My son’s first g/f in Welly lost her job as an HCA because the HR woman had been ordered to ‘cut back’, and it was a case of last hired, first fired – although HCAs are not disposable! Now she works in a cafe in Porirua, but would have studied (was studying) to be a fully qualified nurse, but now her confidence is irreparably damaged. 
        My Aspergers son actually fronted this woman to defend Z., which amazed him as much as it did me when I heard about it. Normally he’d run 5000 miles to avoid a non-clinical authority figure!

        • Ianupnorth

          You actually have hit a nail fully on the head there, one I’ve been banging on about for ages; they don’t actually know the difference between front line and back line.

          They have gone done the expensive ‘fix the ill’ path, rather than the ‘prevent ill health from happening’. First thin Ryall did was scrap the food and beverage guidelines in schools, scrapped social marketing and transferred the cash into ED services. That’s all good, pleases the Dr’s and those gullible enough to think health = hip replacements.

          The whole ‘better, more convenient’ is treating people like a drive through. But they will not actually legislate against known things that damage health, e.g. fast food, tobacco, alcohol – they are shit scared to offend any voter.

          In a hospital the Dr’s are reliant on nurses, lab staff, porters, radiographers, cleaners, etc. They are throwing money at medical staff and neglecting the rest.

          • Reality Bytes

            just a note on the end of that re: the cleaners in medical professions…

            When I was living in the UK around the late-noughties there was a huge debate about the problems of super-bugs/MRSA etc.. and the issue was isolated to a lot of ‘cleaners’ that really should have been treated as disease control specialists, given appropriate levels of training and gravity for their position, since they were the ones that ACTUALLY had the biggest effect on controlling these problems and outbreaks… But as it was the people sought out for these critical positions were inevitably those willing and used to take minimum wage and accept no training plans through their personal hardship etc, and inevitably unqualified with no plan for upskilling etc… When really these folks should have been considered on par with medical staff, trained and recruited accordingly.

            Sadly it all comes down to the dollar and profits, not practical outcomes, it’s ridiculous.

            • Ianupnorth

              And the traditionally employed by the NHS and on Whitley Council terms and conditions were all lost when all ‘non-essential’ services were contracted out, e.g. cleaning, meals, porters, maintenance, etc. Another Tory winner, just like private prisons!

  7. Ed 7

    So did CYF actually lose any jobs since David Clarke’s post? Have there been any news reports about it?

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