has launched a survey to gather the opinions of residents on the Four Day Working Week policy introduced by the Liberal Democrat administration at South Cambridgeshire District Council.
The policy reduces the working week to four days for all full-time council staff (part-time employees get a 20% reduction in their hours) with no corresponding reduction in pay. A three-month trial of these new working arrangements for desk-based staff commenced in January 2023. It was then extended for a year to include all council staff, including bin collection teams.
The Council argues that this policy will reduce the reliance on agency staff by attracting and retaining more permanent staff. However, initial results contradict this claim, showing an increase in spending on agency staff during the trial period, and extending this policy to bin crews is projected to cost an additional £130,000 in the first year, escalating to £200,000 in the second year. Freedom of Information requests have also cast doubt over the independence and accuracy of reports of the trial’s success. It was also revealed that the Council’s Chief Executive, who is the lead officer on the four day week trial, was privately undertaking a PhD on the four day week, a fact she has never formally declared under the Council’s conflict of interest policy.
The Government has now issued unequivocal guidance against four-day week working in the public sector, urging the Council to cease its trial immediately—a directive the Council has thus far refused to follow.
Anthony commented: “This policy, which has never been featured in any Liberal Democrat election manifesto, nor discussed or voted on in a full District Council meeting, was implemented without consulting South Cambridgeshire residents. My survey might be the only chance residents have to give their views on these plans.”
"I urge everyone to take a few minutes to complete the survey. Your input is invaluable in understanding our community's stance on this matter.”
The survey, which takes approximately 2-3 minutes to complete, will provide insights that Anthony plans to share with both the Council and the Government.
Residents who complete the survey will also be informed of the results, providing a transparent overview of the community's collective opinion on this significant policy change. Browne added, "It's crucial that the voices of South Cambridgeshire residents are heard and considered in such impactful decisions affecting our community and public services."
To participate in the survey and have your voice heard, scroll down to fill in the short survey.