Cut to the bone?


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† This week-end I noticed the public sector is still out and about recruiting. The Business Department wants a Chairman and four Board members for a “Technology Strategy Board”. Couldn’t¬†Business ¬†senior officials do whatever work this is meant to require?¬† Network Rail wants “Business Change Managers”¬† at up to ¬£90,000 a pop. “It will be our most exciting journey yet” as they tell us, but perhaps not for the taxpayer subsidising all this.¬† Perhaps more necessary, Crossrail wants a Chief Executive for “the largest construction project in Europe”.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Transport for London seeks an “Infrastructure benchmarking specialist”.¬† The NHS needs¬† a “Health Economics Consultant” and an “Innovations Adviser” under the slogan “from bench to bedside. Fast”.


  1. lifelogic
    March 7, 2011

    What they always seem to recruit mostly are people for “organisations” who can appear on TV and in the press to be supportive of the government line and give the, usually false, impression that the government doing something useful.

    What is needed is for government to do far less (certainly cancel the daft rail projects now) and stop all the expensive green energy nonsense which chokes off growth and pushed business away so effectively.

    Doing daft things with borrowed money in not the answer. Cameron and Clegg must surely understand that making pro business noises while doing the direct opposite will not actually work.

  2. BrianSJ
    March 7, 2011

    I take it we still have more Admirals than ships? Spendlove busy cutting the front line but looking after himself?

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    March 7, 2011

    Nothing changes as the public sector conspires to waste more taxpayers’ money. I noted also that in the advertisement for the “Technology Strategy Board” the final sentence read: “We particularly encourage women, members of the Black and Asian ethnic communities and people with a disability who meet the criteria to apply”. What was not written but thereby implied was that they particularly do not encourage white able bodied men to apply. I know that Cable is the Minister in charge in this case but what on earth was the point of voting Conservative?

    1. lifelogic
      March 7, 2011

      Yes women must be equally represented in all technology areas by EU and Government dictat even if most woman do not wish to be.

      Otherwise it is clearly due to “discrimination”. No distinction between cause and effect as is usual for the “equality” industry.

      Woman are shorter than men, take more part time jobs, tend not to study engineering/physics = clear proof of evil “discrimination”.
      Woman tend not to take jobs collecting dust bins = clear proof of sexist dust bin “discrimination”.

      Actually if they were 50/50 in engineering it could only ever happen if there was very real, severe and clear discrimination against men. This as so many more men are skilled/trained and wish to work both in general and in these areas in particular than women.

      1. rose
        March 7, 2011

        Not just in engineering but in medicine too: women doctors like to work part time to fit in with family life. They take maternity leave and want more time off in the school holidays. Men have tradtionally worked all hours of the day and night. So which sex builds up the necessary knowledge, experience, and judgement in this vital field? Engineering and medicine both have our lives in their hands, and sexual politics should not come into it.

        1. lifelogic
          March 8, 2011

          If sexual politics (ie government led discrimination) comes in you will by definition not have the best people in these jobs and deaths will result.

    2. APL
      March 7, 2011

      Brian Tompkinson: “but what on earth was the point of voting Conservative?”

      Good question.

      This is the elective dictatorship, we get candidates supplied by the party ( it doesn’t matter which party ) one of two or three get’s elected, and the bureaucracy ( which includes the selectorate ) carries on as as if nothing happened.

  4. alan jutson
    March 7, 2011

    Clearly the government strategy/policy is not working.

    The message has yet to get across!

    Who has given the message, and who is responsible for its implementation, and enforcement.

    On second thoughts, has anyone actually given any instruction to anyone about this sort of recruitment.

  5. waramess
    March 7, 2011

    Good to hear the Coalition inspired recovery is well under way then.

  6. Electro-Kevin
    March 7, 2011

    The Tories must get a grip on this, though I haven’t a clue as to how.

    The Leftist aim is to continue building empires whilst making savings through spiteful cuts to essential services. The aim of this is to turn your core supporters against your government and bring them out on the streets.

    I note that Mr Cameron is losing credibility in the tabloids apace. Be this down to unfair BBC bias, mischevous councils or the fact that Mr Cameron deserves it because he’s reneged on so many election pledges it matters not. (Libya has been a disaster for him)

    The hard truth is that he’s the wrong man for the job.

    1. rose
      March 7, 2011

      But who would be right for the job?

      They have to hang on to the liberals in order to get the budgets through; then, despite the liberals, they have to get the EU off our backs; meanwhile they have to negotiate a foreign policy which will restore peace and stability, win us custom, and prevent yet more refugees coming here – no use saying abroad isn’t our business if the refugees always are, and what about safe and peaceful conditions for trade across the world? They have to persuade the public to take an indefinite cut in living standards while making sure entrepreneurs and big international businesses stay here, on international rates of pay; they have to curb the risky behaviour of banks while yet persuading them too to stay here, not offering to bail them out, but allowing them to decide their own pay, whatever the media say; they need to raise interest rates without damaging the patient; they need to stop borrowing and printing money; they need to lower taxation; they need to shrink the bureaucracy, while increasing essential maintenance and services; they need to keep the media from sabotaging the plans; and they need to persuade a public used to huge government activity that it must now stand mostly on its own feet; they need to deal with rising youth unemployment and crime, with population churn and social instability, with over-population and under-education, with an ageing population living longer but not more healthy…

      It can all no doubt be done, but surely takes a certain cool and diplomatic type with an intelligence capable of understanding complexities to take it on in the first place.

      1. J leslie smith
        March 7, 2011

        An excellent and well thought out Overview!! I agree. Does this Coalition have any serious and experienced people to handle such complex tasks. I very much doubt it, based on what they have done and not done, so far.

      2. Electro-Kevin
        March 8, 2011

        They wouldn’t have been working with the Liberals at all had Cameron been a true Conservative.

        Technically he lost the election and now I can see that this was rightly so.

        1. lifelogic
          March 8, 2011

          I agree he lost because he does not really belief in taming the state (EU, Westminster and Local) and failed to give a positive vision of how a small state is moral, efficient and enriches all.

  7. Damien
    March 7, 2011

    Greek bonds were already at junk status and have now been lowered further because of the deteriorating public finances. Meanwhile the coalition has hyped expectations that the government is serious about repairing the balance sheet while actually delivering little concrete evidence of progress. Indeed your blogs and the comments indicate that the public sector is ignoring the austerity message from ministers. If the markets come to the same conclusion the punishment will be harsh and when the trust in the coalitions resolve is lost it will be hard to reclaim.

    Brent crude has reached $118 today, up 40% so far this year and if it hits $120 for any length of time the recovery could stall. My impression is that governments have been kicking the ball into the long grass expecting a recovery would avoid many of the public finance and banking reforms but this may now backfire. Another set of bank stress tests will be out of date by the time they are published in June.

  8. Electro-Kevin
    March 7, 2011

    I know of a care worker on low pay who visits the elderly. She has suffered a pay freeze for two years. Now her unsocial hours allowance is under threat Рa loss of around £2k pa.

    She is also required to drive herself from client to client. She gets a small petrol allowance but is unpaid whilst in transit – this means that much of her working day is unpaid. As far as I’m aware the depreciation on her car is covered out of her own pocket as there is no allowance for it.

    Her commitment is largely down to her Christian upbringing and her sense of moral duty.

    Now that the courts are finding against Christians who refuse to openly support un Christian values what is David Cameron going to do about it ?

    I would expect to find Christians at the vanguard of his Big Society – they were the ones who brought about the original Big Society after all. But if being a Christian is now regarded as being a crime shouldn’t he start standing up for them a bit ?

  9. Andrew Smith
    March 7, 2011

    Alan Jutson asks (at 9.11) “has anyone actually given any instruction to anyone about this sort of recruitment” and one suspects the answer may be negative.

    It must be clear that public sector budgets are no where near tight enough if the departments and quangos involved can contemplate these sorts of roles, with all the costs of office space, advertising costs, pensions and administrative support.

    I propose that the most able junior minister or back bencher with business experience should be instructed to consider every public sector job advertisement which is a new role or salaried above (say) ¬£50k full time equivalent. Future promotion for the individual would be inversely dependent on not allowing them to proceed. The more criticism in the Guardian and BBC arising from leaked complaints would be considered favourable comment on the individual’s ability.

    Actually, as we have a centre left and a left wing party in coalition together, can we make it even more inclusive? I will volunteer to do it!

    1. Simon
      March 8, 2011

      I’m glad you set the limit at 50K rather than the commonly used misleading 100K .

      a £50K basic public sector salary could correspond to a total package of between£66K and more than £75k when the true benefits are taken into account .

      1. lifelogic
        March 8, 2011

        And that is without the buildings and overheads hopefully rather cheaper that this reported in the Independent

        “Parliament: New site to cost pounds 12m for each MP”

        I assume rather more now.

  10. Major Loophole
    March 7, 2011

    Ah…the Techology Strategy Board. This is the outfit who are currently spending a total of about ¬£13m on ‘researching’ energy efficiency measures to up-grade our existing housing stock, spread over about 86 individual projects each of an apparently different house type. Frustratingly, they are somewhat coy on the details on their website of WHAT they are actually doing to each.

    Every time I read of one of these studies—and there are lost of them about—I find myself asking the question: “what is it about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics they don’t already understand?”. It would be like designing a fridge with a 1mm thick case and frantically looking for some as yet undiscovered, magic laws of physics to overcome the hopeless insulating value of the case.

    The amount the TSB are spending works out to about ¬£142,000 each house. Or ¬£284,000 for a pair of semi’s (40% of the housing stock) which is enough to new build a pair of 4-bedroom houses of around 1,600 sq. ft. each to ultra-high thermal efficiency standards.

    Everyone involved in the re-furb’ sector now knows that, first and foremost, the fabric of the building (as some call it; or what architects term the opaque envelope), mainly its walls and roof, is the starting point; all other measures fall a long way off achieving economic efficiency in comparison to radically improving the insulating properties of walls and roofs—and to some extent, doors, windows and ground floors.

    Without first improving these elements, ANY other measures like covering your house up with solar panels, installing heat pumps and other items of eco-bling subsidised by the taxpayer , will still waste most of the energy created. Or to quote the Royal Academy of Engineers:

    “The use of on-site renewable energy generation has become highly fashionable, but its contribution to the energy demands of conventionally designed buildings is negligible. The priority must be to engineer buildings to minimise energy demands in the first place.”

    Only by improving the fabric can we sweat out the potential benefits of micro-generation. And if we don’t do that our competitors will. 25 million or so houses can potentially—with the right technology as its developed over time—generate a great deal of relatively cheap energy beyond the needs of each host property which commerce and industry can use efficiently and productively. But it can only be available for such use if we don’t waste it.

    So, back at the ranch, what is the Dept. for Communities & Local Government (CLG) up to? Why, making it as difficult as possible for householders to take seriously worthwhile steps to improve the fabric of their homes of course! Neither are they alone: the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) are not at all happy with how much worse CLG have made it for householders; they want to go even further and so are proposing an even more restrictive set of rules for residents in Wales. These measures, if brought into force, will result in a surge in the number of planning applications from householders as they seek permission for modest extensions which they used to be able to build without grovelling to the council.

    And what will all these extra applications require? Why, more civil servants to process them, of course. Just fancy that.

    1. lifelogic
      March 7, 2011

      Spot on all sensible engineers know this. Also if you cannot afford to heat the house in winter or wish to be “green” just heat one room, wear an extra vest and jumper and get some hot water bottles or electric blankets. Far greener and more sensible than all the state encouraged “roof bling” nonsense. Helps you loose weight too I understand.

      1. Bazman
        March 8, 2011

        I think you will find large numbers of the population are doing this already and not due to middle class thrift or green issues.
        Eating less and using the money for heat is another strategy, as is getting a job then you would not be in the cold house and would have more money for bills and insulation, another common sense way would to get together with other cold people and the pooled body heat and money would solve the problem. Walking around the supermarket or sitting in the library, if it is still open, would be ideal. A lot of people cannot put these points and being cold together and so can the state be expected to help every fool?

    2. alan jutson
      March 7, 2011

      Major loophole

      Agree with your points about insulation being the most cost effective way of reducing energy usage..

      The most sensible measure would be to investigate, prove and promote the best form of internal insulation (so the outside can be kept in character) for a 9″ brick wall (existing U value about 1.8) as most houses built before 1920 are of this form of construction, and are the most wastefull on energy use.

      Many new and expensive promoted energy saving methods are simply not viable, on a value for money basis as the installation costs are more than you can ever save, before they need themselves to be replaced.

      1. lifelogic
        March 8, 2011

        Internal insulation is usually not worth it. You need to move skirting board, sockets, floorings, window settings, cornicing etc. all to save about £20 PA per room. And using much energy to do it.

        Never pays for itself and can give rise to damp and other problems.

        Only worth it is you live at the north pole or north Scotland perhaps best just to move.

        1. Bazman
          March 9, 2011

          Good point Lifelogic. I forgot that one. Go to live in a warm country six months of the year is another way to stay warm.
          No excuses for new build houses not to have limits on thermal loss. Like car safety needs regulations. You think they are safer because the market has decided this should happen. Not at first that’s for sure.

          1. lifelogic
            March 12, 2011

            Why just car safely what about bikes that are over 10 times more dangerous?

        2. Major Loophole
          March 9, 2011


          Internal insulation. on. But its worse than just skirting boards, sockets etc.

          To achieve a U value of 0.15W/M2K (Passivehouse standard) needed to make any serious inroads towards the 80% reduction required by 2050, you’ll need 175mm thickness of rigid foam insulation plus plasterboard thickness. So, once taken out to install the insulation, kitchens and bathrooms won’t go back in! Still, I suppose that’s one way to get people to fit miniture bathtubs—one of the miserablists’ favourites.

          Those who advocate internal lining as a solution are fond of pointing out that ONLY 5% or so of floor space is lost. But we are not flat, 2 dimensional beings, so what’s relevant is the VOLUME of lost space. And in an average semi’ that amounts to about 17 cubic metres—or to put that another way, twice the volume of the already small, average sized 3rd bedroom.

          At a time when most people are desperate for more space, the state is trying to bounce people into living in less. They’ll be lining up around the block to sign up for that one. Not.

          1. rose
            March 9, 2011

            And what about the radon gas not being able to get out if it is all too tightly sealed ?

  11. zorro
    March 7, 2011

    The titles say it all – what a load of tosh – and I’ve seen it in action. They will have PRINCE 2 qualifications and god knows what else, but will have absolutely no practical, operational knowledge of what they will ‘transform’ (read ‘ruin’) – utterly dreadful – they will be refugees from other public service posts, but will all have a Common Purpose….

    Why not ask if any diversity or equality related posts have been made redundant in the ‘cuts’ in the Civil Service or local government?


  12. Jeremy Poynton
    March 7, 2011

    I felt vaguely hopeful for about a fortnight when the Coalition was formed. No more. The public sector is still growing, and the disposable income of ordinary folk is still falling. Indeed, my wife worked out the other day that she is now in the position of working to be able to afford to work, as a result of the 10% rise in fuel prices in the past 3 months. Not only that, food is rocketing, and house energy to.

    So the real rate of inflation for those of us who are not out buying white goods (there is no way we can afford those any more), for those who can in reality only afford to eat, fill their cars, and heat their homes, is somewhere around or over 10%.

    Add into that the (foolish-ed) Huhne’s intent to keep piling on green taxes (as well as subsidies, in effect the same) means that there will be a large portion of the population who spend the winter thinking

    Eat? Or stay warm.

    At the same time. NOTHING has been done to stop what caused the crash. NOTHING. Hence it can and will happen all over again, although this time it will be far far worse, as we cannot recapitalise the banks again.

    Of course, we have the EU pitching in as well, making all our laws and demanding more money of us each year. Great. Now we have two huge, unaccountable, thieving bureaucracies looting us.

    If we could afford to emigrate we would. I see no sign that Cameron has clocked that the EU now rule the roost, not him, with his desperate assertions of preserving our sovereignty.

    Ultimately, I am past caring. I just wish the bloody politicians would stop messing with everything AND LEAVE US ALONE.

  13. JimF
    March 7, 2011

    Plus ca change…. and with friends like the Libdems what do you expect? The Clegg sugar rush was good while it lasted, but was always as vacuous as the old New Labour tack was hyped-up.
    It’s just strange that the LibDems and their left-wing buddies in your Party are having such a hold over more radical and economically sensible policies espoused here.
    In the meantime, why not let the trend be your friend?:

    “Latest VC poll:

    Across Britain, 41 per cent of decided voters and leaners (= since early late January) say they would support the Labour candidate in their constituency in the next General Election. The Conservative Party is second with 33 per cent (=), and their coalition partners‚ÄĒthe Liberal Democrats‚ÄĒare third with 10 per cent (-2).
    The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is next with seven per cent, “

    1. waramess
      March 8, 2011

      Labour, who should be judged as never again fit for office , are already out in front as the people best suited to run the economy.

      You just could not make it up, could you?

      1. Andrew Johnson
        March 8, 2011

        You don’t need to make it up when you have a Cameron led coalition that is as poor as communicating as this one. Lots of us on here have blogged that the socialist propaganda that has brainwashed so many millions for years needs countering. So many don’t realise how serious Britain’s sitation is. “Stop the Cuts!” could be countered with –
        “Whose gonna pay?”
        As to Labour’s lead in the polls, Stalin’s and Goebell’s propagandists showed us, that if with conviction, you repeat a life often enough, most people end up believing the lie and rejecting the truth.
        Why should anyone be surprised that this neither fish nor fowl government can’t even manage to get their own departments and local government to make some genuine cuts?
        The nation’s governance, local government, education, health, media police, justice system et al are all led and highly influenced by mainly state educated, midleclass self serving liberal socialists who think “they” know what’s best for us.
        The “blessed leaderene”, Margaret T, was the last conservative leader to take them on with any kind of effectiveness, and it’s plain to see that Mr. Cameron is no Margaret Thatcher and doesn’t want to be.

        1. rose
          March 9, 2011

          Shouldn’t “stop the cuts” be countered with “what cuts?”

  14. David John Wilson
    March 7, 2011

    PRINCE. The project management system used only by government departments and private companies with govbernment contracts which insist on it. It gaurantees that every one of these projects, however small needs a management team of around twenty people. If we banned PRINCE most of the money that the government is trying to save could be found in one stroke.
    A few years ago when working for a government agency I was hauled over the coals for allowing people to do more than one PRINCE role within a single project.

    1. zorro
      March 7, 2011

      Absolutely, and does this PRINCE ‘process’ guarantee success…certainly not….In fact, I think it tends to stifle creative and innovative thinking. It is hidebound, puts people in distinct roles, and puts ‘process’ above all. I can think of many large projects which have missed the elephant in the room because they were too busy filling in ridiculous risks or their MS Project plan……Again, a lot of the time, people with these project ‘skills’ are put in charge of change programmes with little or no knowledge of what they are changing.


  15. J leslie smith
    March 7, 2011

    No one in Government, apart form Eric Pickles, seems to have a handle on what to do about a distinctly hostile Civil Service and many Town Hall Mafia Managements. When are some Ministers going to start doing something to stop these crazy excesses and “New Jobs for the Boys” being advertised.

    If the Coalition cannot get rid of a clearly biased and incompetant Speaker of the House, what hope for the poor Voters and TaxPayers? Your Goverment , Mr Redwood now appears to be in Office, but not in power. Labour Unions, Mafia Town Hall Managers and the Left generally, are running rings around you.

  16. Matt
    March 7, 2011

    I don’t doubt the number of posts in all organisations that fail to bring real value. But you are in danger of judging a book by it’s cover here. This type of populist ill-informed commentary is unusual for this blog.
    Swift return to economic analysis that I don’t understand and ukip bashing, please.

  17. Javelin
    March 7, 2011

    Just filled in my census form online. I know what I’m doing on 27th of March. The online form was really well done.

    But why did I have to receive a huge paper form. What a waste of money. I could have been sent a letter saying I had a couple of weeks to fill the form in.

  18. Martyn
    March 8, 2011

    The government speaks of ‚ÄėThe Big Society‚Äô, ‚ÄėThe Localism Bill‚Äô and talks of ‚Äėempowering communities to do things for themselves‚Äô. In which case, could not the government now say to each community – be it village, town or city – ‚Äúgather ye together a panel of 5 people of appropriate learning, experience and knowledge and we shall authorise it to investigate their local authority to identify all those employees who are gainfully and essentially employed and those who are not so employed, thereby enabling a considered and sensible reduction in staffing costs to be made‚ÄĚ.
    That would place real community power into the hands of the people, so I doubt it will ever happen.

  19. Bazman
    March 8, 2011

    Not a very exiting journey on a modest 90k. This is less than 5k a month take home. London house prices and living costs. Two children at private schools, couple of cars, entertainment plus sundry costs associated with this position. Would not be much left out of your five grand. A non trophy wife would have to get a cleaning job or at least a job. The only bonus would be the free rail travel which I suppose you would claim is being ‘chauffeur driven’ You want to try living in the real world Mr Redwood MP Sir.

  20. KevH
    March 9, 2011

    What a shame that Mr Redwood has never done a proper days work in his life and has no conception what it is like for the people most affected by the policies which this unelected government are implementing!

    Perhaps he would like to take the same level of substantial cut in his minimum ¬£65,000 per year salary and other allowances as the care worker referred to earlier? That said, with the ‘mega bucks’ he has already made from his ‘figurehead’ appointments to NM Rothschild et al he wouldn’t miss it!

    Get real Mr Redwood – see what it is like for the ‘little people’ of this country – the ones which you are having most effect on to line your own pockets! Go and live in a council house on a deprived estate for a couple of years, then you might come to an understanding of what the majority of people in this country are up against!

    Reply: I started from a Council estate. My job at Rothschild was a full time executive job and ended more than 20 years ago.

  21. Veryjollyroger
    March 9, 2011

    You know, nobody seems to have noticed, let alone mentioned, the herd of elephants in the room….. Let’s take a look at some.
    1. Britain as a manufacturer – dead in the water, because we have been saddled with a minimum wage policy that guarantees that we can no longer compete. Anywhere. Sad to say, a job is only worth its contribution to a business, and some jobs just don’t warrant the minimum wage. Result – job goes overseas.
    2. Energy costs – pretty much the highest in the developed world.
    3. Fuel costs (another huge input cost to business, whichever way you look at it). Here we are, hammered by taxes one way or another, in an effort to “Green up” our lifestyles, while the countries to which our manufacturing base (and the jobs it supported) fled are busily harvesting the benefits of no minimum wage, high levels of employment and a much lower cost base. Even our technical support and expertise is following the same route.
    4. National Sovereignty – essentially, we now have none. Our everyday lives and indeed the bulk of our laws, are either controlled from, or ratified by, the unelected bureaucracy we fund to sit on its bum in Europe. the concept of a European Union is great in principle, but unworkable in practice. Its greatest achievement is to have put in place the kind of unified Europe envisaged by the Nazis, but with much less bloodshed and naked prejudice. We are no longer the heart of a global empire, but a small country peripheral in every respect to the “European Community”.
    5. Retail Pricing – the European Retail Industry calls us Treasure Island, because they can charge us in Pounds Sterling what everyone else in Europe pays in Euros – what we pay a pound for, the rest of the Euro Zone gets for 83 or 4 pence.
    6. Weight of Government – we now have a larger bureaucracy than we needed to run our empire. So vast, that it represents by far the largest single employer in the country and actually produces nothing. It does keep the money circulating, but as much of this ends up (despite taxation) in the pockets of global conglomerates, who incidentally now have more economic influence than most governments, we are subject to the law of diminishing returns.
    7. Power – power in Britain resides not with our elected Government, but with the bureaucracy that “supports” it. Elected Government is trapped into pandering to the fickle opinions of the electorate, leaving the bureaucrats free to indulge in much longer term planning and objectives than the four of five year terms that our leadership is saddled with.

    Pragmatic approaches might be to
    1. Remove the minimum wage – certainly in some sectors – which would go a long way to untying the hands of whatever entrepreneurial spirit we still have that isn’t dedicated to the service sector. Remove the Employer’ national insurance contribution on all new production jobs for the first three years of their existence, because that way, for every eight new jobs an employer creates, they will get another one free. That will give employers time to ensure that the new jobs are sufficiently well-established to be able to withstand the 12.8% levy that will ultimate be applied. The creation of wealth rather than just moving money round will generate additional tax revenues elsewhere, so the true loss to the exchequer will be minimal and the nation would see a drop in the currently non-productive Benefits payments they make.
    2. Ignore the carbon targets, at least until we can get our alternative energy supplies online and operational, which must be a priority. If it costs more to bring the housing stock up to energy efficient levels than it would to build new, knock ’em down and start from scratch – incentivise and mandate the redevelopment of brownfield sites before allowing newbuilds on greenfield ones. Ban the imports of anything that doesn’t have a real “off” switch, tax illuminated advertising hoardings and turn the streetlights off where they aren’t actually essential!
    3. Reduce government’s reliance on fuel taxes, and reduce the fuel duty for essential and business users (not company cars, though). A smaller, more effective bureaucracy would go a long way to achieving that.
    4. Ignore European legislation that is not in the national interest. Everyone else seems to.
    5. Penalise retailers who play the Euro/Sterling markup game.
    6. Re-introduce competitive examinations for Civil Service jobs – people should be in post because of their administrative abilities, not their ethnic background/gender/orientation. Pay them on results, rather than headcount, reward efficiency and deal with incompetence. Oh, and get rid of the “committees” .
    7. Re-establish the rule of democracy by making it possible to remove public servants from office, and not by early retirement or sideways movement. Any proposed project that would exceed the life of an administration would need all-party approval before commencement.
    8. For a bonus point, reintroduce real learning so that qualifications regain their value. At the moment, a degree has about the same merit as an A level did 40 years ago. If we wish to recoup some of our previous standing in the world, we have to restore standards, rather than dumb them down by lowering the hurdles.

  22. monty99
    March 9, 2011

    While I certainly agree that the public sector is not short of non-jobs, you show your ignorance of modern business when you criticise the appointment of people hired to manage Business Change.

    The main reason many projects, particularly technology projects, fail is that the change associated with them is not properly handled, and instead an old-fashioned top-down ‘management knows best’ command & control approach is used.

    Managing business change properly means that new projects are implemented holistically, from how things are organised and run, to how employees, customers and suppliers are consulted, kept informed and provided with a say in what the shape of the future ought to be.

    Business change techniques are a PRIVATE SECTOR innovation adopted quite late in the day by the public sector, mainly via private sector senior staff hired by the Cabinet Office, and are one of the main reasons you don’t hear nearly so many procurement disasters there days around failure of IT systems or cost over-runs on projects. (The one major department which failed to get behind this was – you guessed it – the MoD).

    I have a lot of time for your analysis in general John, but here you are just demonstrating your ignorance. You need to get out more.

    Reply: In decent businesses the “change manage” is the CEO or the COO.

  23. zorro
    March 9, 2011

    Dream on! A lot of these ‘senior staff’ have presided over disasters such as the NHS IT scheme, and the running down of our Border Control capability whilst handing themselves massive salaries.
    To paraphrase Herman Goering, whenever I hear anyone say ‘holistically’, I reach for my gun……

    I saw in The Guardian why Haringey Council needed to make so many cuts to old peoples homes and services, they needed to recruit a ‘Director of Planning nd Sustainability’ at 140,000 pounds per year……..


  24. Lindsay McDougall
    March 9, 2011

    So who exactly controls and has responsibility for Civil Service recruitment? Is it the Civil Service itself? If so, are these responsibilities defined by Statute or delegated by HM Government?

    In the days when directors of various companies were attempting to turn me into a good manager, I was always being told that “delegation with control” was the name of the game. So who delegates, who controls? And are they controlling enough?

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