Home > big society, Bureaucracy, david cameron, ukuncut > Politics, a slight return

Politics, a slight return

After my last two more personal posts, a briefer blog today, inspired by some thoughts that I wanted to get down somewhere safe. First, some additional reading in the shape of David Mitchell’s excellent column in The Observer today, (although I lay claim to coming up with the whole Klingons being the enemies of Enterprise bit as I tweeted it early last week) – it was reading this that prompted the thoughts you see below.

I see an irony in Cameron’s new (latest!) attack on the public sector wherein he complains about bureaucracy and suchlike. In my own experience the public sector has become top heavy over the last decade but this is due, in my opinion, to the use of private sector practices and and paradigms in the public sector, something that was initiated by Blair’s neo-liberal New Labour.

Senior posts have increased and been filled by strategists and consultants whose only products are reports and project plans that rarely reflect the actual reality of of the working environment, or the needs of the ‘citizens’ they are supposed to be helping. In the organisation where I work the wage bill for senior management posts (I place the line at local government grade PO8 and above) has increased dramatically over the last decade. Added to this we now hear highly paid public sector CEOs stating that they are worth their money because they could be paid more in the private sector! This conflation of private sector ideals with public sector needs just does not work, but it is something encouraged by the neo-liberal governments of Blair, and now Cameron. Aye, and there’s the rub.

There is now a huge swathe of professional managers in the public sector who are disconnected from the shop floor and only see what they are supposed to manage in the abstract context of spreadsheets and reports. They then act on these without consulting the people who actually do the work, often imposing unnecessary tasks and unrealistic targets in order to comply with the seemingly arbitrary Key Performance Indicators drawn up by central government. This can only lead to confusion and, in some cases, poorer service delivery. But when that happens, it’s the workers who get it in the neck at a local level – the senior managers will manipulate the figures in order to show themselves in the best possible light.

And the further irony? The redundancies in my organisation have only affected those working on the frontline – as of yet there has been nothing announced regarding senior management posts. Of course, ultimately, we know these attacks on the public sector are a game of smoke and mirrors designed to hide the fact that the swingeing cuts being imposed by Cameron and his cabinet of millionaires are ideological in basis rather than being of necessity as they claim. There are further thoughts jumbled in my head on this matter and I may write more, once I’m made redundant.

Finally, in the manner of news programmes, we end on a happier note – the banker seen taunting NHS workers with a £10 note has been suspended by his employers, Deutsche Bank. I wonder if he can spell schadenfreude

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  1. April 12, 2011 at 12:47 am

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