Smiley, Static and Grumpy could be next to go at Hull City Council
When council budgets are being cut, it’s time for spending reviews to take centre stage.
But there’s one review that has so far failed to capture any headlines – until now.
It involves the long-term future of the Smiley Face regime at Hull’s Guildhall, officially known as the city council’s Quarterly Corporate Priority Performance Indicators.
For years, Green Smiley Face, Orange Static Face and Red Grumpy Face have been telling politicians whether their policies on issues – ranging from reducing teenage pregnancies to increasing museum visitor numbers – are actually delivering results.
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Brightening up pages of data, charts and local government jargon, they tend to line up like ducks in a row in a column titled Direction of Travel Trend in regular council reports.
In a nutshell, Green Smiley Face is a sign that things are tickety-boo, Orange Static Face suggests water-treading is the order of the day, while Red Grumpy Face is the equivalent of driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
In their most recent outing, the faces clocked up no fewer than 116 appearances between them in a 66-page appendix to the quarterly performance report.
But now their days could be numbered.
Some councillors have finally woken up to the fact that colour photocopying required to keep Smiley and his chums in the luxury they have become accustomed to is a tad expensive in these austere times. Especially when 66 pages have to be copied many times over.
As one remarked the other day: "Can't we just have arrows in black and white instead?"
With Labour leaders pledging to avoid compulsory redundancies where possible, perhaps Smiley, Static and Grumpy will be redeployed as a new set of traffic lights somewhere useful.
• TORY duo John Fareham and John Abbott are not known for being down with the kids.
But the city councillors make a decent stab at being trendy in their most recent ward newsletter by referencing a Who song in the headline “Won’t Get Schooled Again” attached to an item about expansion plans at Appleton Primary School.
However, two problems remain.
First, the song itself is now 42 years old.
Second, the article is accompanied by a photograph of the old Newland Avenue Primary School.