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Monday, 14 September 2009

Clash of interests

Yesterday the results of an opinion poll were released in the media and the huge majority of those polled said that they wanted to see cuts in public spending and a reduction in bureaucracy accompanied by a shrinking of the Civil Service. Guess what, the Trades Union Council (TUC) today starts its annual bunfight and has kicked off with a declaration that they will "resist" any cuts to public spending. The Union that represents the majority of Civil Servants is already threatening strikes and disruption of public services if the government makes any cuts.

I'd call that clear proof that the Civil Service has become an expensive self-serving institution which no longer serves the people who pay for it. Assuming of course, that it ever did.

This attitude toward those of us who pay for these expensive "services" by the Trades Unions (Who themselves supposedly represent most of us in employment!) is informative. They regard our contributions to their coffers and to the profligacy of the Treasury and the various self-serving government departments as their right, not our choice. As soon as any reduction is suggested to the wasteful squandering of our money in mismanaged and usually incompetently specified projects in Whitehall the Unions rush to start threatening death, poverty and general mayhem if anyone dares to cut "services". Most of these cuts will actually improve services by cutting down on the number of worthless paper shufflers that have infested every public service. Once, the Fire and Rescue Services employed very few "clerical" staff, but in the last twelve years that balance has shifted as more and more "managers" have been parachuted into the command structures. Whereas in the past every member had some fire or rescue background and could, at a pinch, be sent out on some fire ground duty, that is no longer possible. Health services, police, the military - all the professional services have suffered this infestation of non-professional "managers" who increase costs - they are non-productive - by imposing complex bureaucratic procedures to hide behind and conceal their incompetence and ignorance.

Any government which strips out the bureaucracy caused by Labour's "nannying" legislation and meddling with "targets" and "accountability" which they believe can only be achieved by demanding an explanation for the use of every paperclip, can make huge savings by ejecting these embedded incompetents and returning "management" to the professionals who know what they are managing in their respective organisations. The myth that there is such a thing as a "Professional Manager" who can hop from organisation to organisation and "manage" it irrespective of their knowledge of what the organisation does or how it is done, needs to be exposed as the sham it is. Management is a function, not a profession, and only a professional who is thoroughly versed in his or her profession is qualified to "manage" others within it. That is the great weakness of the Public Services, they are "managed" by people who have no idea of how the work or function they "manage" is actually done. Huge savings could be achieved by simply cutting out the layers of "management" who do nothing but invent complex procedures which make doing any job difficult and near on impossible.

Sadly, the Unions, supposedly representing workers, seem to be less interested in ensuring more cash remains in their members pockets and more is stolen and fed to their biggest constituency - the so-called public services which should perhaps be relabelled the Public Waste and Squandering Service. A clear clash of interests in my book!

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