UPDATE – the article written here sums up Britain far better than I can.
It explains Britain's public bodies and civil servant's apparent incompetence not as failure, but as a failure by design.
been so overwhelmed by the influences of the big consultancy groups over the
past 6 or 7 years, that is has effectively become a management consultancy in
its own right.
No longer does
government do anything, it just directs others to do it for them, or to
outsource it, because it does not have the resources or expertise in house to
fulfil its obligations, and service levels to you and me in every government
department have fallen dramatically as a result.
consultancies work along the following lines.
from the management of company that they need the consultancy to oversee their
organisation in order to find weaknesses in the services that they offer, and
to generate processes that will ensure the efficient running of the
organisation under any circumstances. They call it a roadmap, I call it
painting by numbers, or an idiots guide, and wherever possible, offer to
undertake the operational running of key departments on their behalf, ie. Outsource
key areas like finance and IT.
For the big
consultancy firm its number one objective is billing, or billable time. The
object of the exercise is not the health of the target company, but the revenue
that you can generate out of them.
So, we take a
department that works really well, turns in a profit, and has happy and
productive staff, and break down what they do.
The analysis will
probably show that they do most of their functions with 3 or 4 steps. In order
to increase the billing capability, the consultancy will need to measure how
efficient they are, and generate 25 point process to do the same thing, plus
administration. Billable time, nice little earner.
The first step is
to do a time and motion study, then to rewrite completely the working practices
in that department. Part of that rewrite will be to generate a process, or a
series of processes, so that metrics can be gathered, and the metrics will be
used for generating pie charts and graphs to show senior management what they
already knew, and maintain an audit trail. More billable time.
This will involve
breaking the workforce down into smaller groups, appoint a supervisor to check
over them, and generate statistics on what the workforce have been doing during
their working day, how they have been doing it, whether they have been efficient,
whether anything was missed, whether they could be more efficient if they hired
more staff to relieve the pressure, and basically generate more paperwork
relating to the smaller workforce than a rain forest can sustain. Even more
Each member of staff
will need to reapply for their own job in this new area, just to make sure that
they are capable of doing what they have always been capable of doing, but the real
reason is to make them accept a new contract of employment, which is loaded
with targets, new working practices and disciplinary processes.
scenario through each department, then apply it to an entire company and it usually adds approx 15pct increase in the
number of staff, sometimes much more, to administrate the new processes, which
are initially staffed by contractors supplied by the consultancy, as the target
company does not have that kind of resource available, never did, never needed
The result is that what was a very efficient
company or organisation, now becomes a process driven, target instilled,
administration rich people farm. Workers within the organisation end up
painting by numbers, follow the process with no deviation, no discretion, run
by a Management Consultancy, because the board of directors no longer have
control over their own processes, but have to live by the Consultants mission statements.
This has now
become the norm for government.
To see this in
action across government, see NHS (now has 1 administrator per bed space, and
if cuts in bed spaces continue possibly 2 by the year end), Police forces,
(lots more examples on this site, tongue in cheek of course), local government
(worker 1 ticks 2 boxes, passes on to worker 2 etc),
So when John Reid
stands up in Parliament and replies to written questions, and states that he
does not know how many people have been re-arrested under the Terrorism Act, he
is not lying. When he says he does not
know how many people are in police cells, he is not lying, and when he says
that The Home Office is not fit for purpose, he definitely is not lying.
He genuinely does
not know, because the management consultants and outsource companies that are
running all the departments and doing all the work for the HO are only
interested in billing, not delivering services. The new Home Office mission statement has now been imposed, without discussion with the workers or the unions.
Tell me whether
this statement from the ACPO
is consultancy or policing, because I can see nothing about policing here. Just
lots of fancy consultancy talk like 'delivery partners' and 'simpler
performance framework'. Absolutely nothing about catching crooks.
unlike American police departments that have outsourced paperwork to civilians
to free up more cops for the streets, British forces have outsourced actual
policing to civilian 'community support officers'.
Police are now just uniformed clerks, they tabulate incidents and send letters
advising how not to provoke criminals: don't display valuables in your car,
don't use your mobile at the station…but no
that weren't bad enough, the police zealously protect their monopoly of the use
of force. Anyone who defends himself against a robber faces arrest and
energetic prosecution. (Now that police routinely refuse to respond to burglary
calls, the way to get them round is to tell 999 you intend to clobber the
result, you are more likely to be a victim of violent crime in Britain than any other Western
country except Australia. People know how bad things
are – which is why they distrust the massaged statistics showing an overall
drop in crime.
(another consultant) and here
(to set up another admin group, not to deliver anything), and here (£2.8
billion consultants fees, to do what OGC should be doing anyway. The outgoing
head of OCG John Oughton was told by the Public Accounts Committee “You
must be extremely frustrated….you don't figure out whether you can use your
own staff properly, you don't procure properly, you don't project manage
properly, and then there's not a proper project review. But you were saying all
that years ago”), and here
(and then fiddle the books to justify being there in the first place).
All of this waste
is undertaken with the approval of Gordon Brown. He is the only one responsible
for this disgusting waste of our money, our taxes.
He alone is
responsible for the quality of services to be at their lowest since the war,
the highest tax rates and by far the largest ever amount of waste.
Consultancy groups are outside contractors they are accounted for by the
Treasury under different budgets, PFI accounts do not show up in his twice yearly report
to parliament, so for the past 10 years he has been able to hide it, but not
for much longer.
Get rid of the
consultants, get government departments to run themselves, like they used to,
with ministers taking responsibility, like they used to, and a Treasury under
public scrutiny, like it used to.