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Local authority crisis


I refer to the recent articles regarding the shortage of municipal engineers and the problems currently faced in local government (NCE last week and 19 September). I am getting a little disheartened by the 'them and us' attitudes portrayed between the private and public sector.

Also noted is the regular inference that private means poor quality. I have worked as an engineer both in local government and the private sector and do not feel such attitudes and allegations are productive or justified.

I have certainly not forgotten all the skills and ideals that I learned in local government but now choose to use them to compliment those developed in the private sector.

The whole industry shares the problem of skills shortages.

It can be seen that consultants and contractors are actively seeking ways to address this (NCE 12 September).

I understand and respect the need for engineering expertise in local government but do our local politicians? What is needed is a better relationship between the public and the private sector to overcome the difficulties facing local government. After all, as professional engineers, we are surely capable of resolving problems through relationships built on trust and honesty.

Steve Sidgwick, Essex, sidg@ssidgwick.

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