Back in August Eric Pickles, the Local Government secretary, said he wanted to ban the practice of “Government lobbying Government” because it was “corrosive and wasteful”.
How far has he got with that? Well we have seen the Bonfire of Quangos, but has it got rid of the lobby groups that lurk behind them. And what of government departments, who have a multitude of lobbying companies set up as charities to press their opinions on ministers and political parties.
The NHS for instance. I have been looking at one such ‘Charity’ called the NHS Confederation. It claims to have 95% of NHS organisations as members.
Its accounts for 2008/2009 show that it has not received a single penny piece in voluntary income, yet it spent £26,110,000 on Influencing, Supporting Leaders and ‘promoting’ excellence.
This ‘Charity’ states that the aims of the charity are:
The NHS Confederation is the independent membership body for the full range of organisations that make up the modern NHS.
We help our members improve health and patient care, by:
• Influencing policy, implementation and the public debate
• Supporting leaders through networking, sharing information and learning
• Promoting excellence in employment
This ‘Charity’ states that its strategy includes:
To continue our role meeting and respecting the common purpose of NHS management.
To be the authoritative voice for policy and decision makers, the media, and other players in the policy debate on all NHS issues delivering the perspective of our members.
That, is PR lobbying. This is effectively the recycling of NHS cash for the purposes of getting the EU/Common Purpose/Big Society message in line in all areas of the NHS and Government.
NHS Confederation is not a charity, it is a lobbying firm for which it charges its NHS members, it is a training firm for which it charges the NHS, it is an employment consultancy for which it charges the NHS and it is a publishing company for which it earns £92,000 and earns a great deal more in advertising revenue (£259,000) which it lists as voluntary income on activities.
Reading between the lines, the lines that talk about remuneration, there is this snippet which leads me to believe that it was once part of the NHS or the DoH, and was hived off to be hidden off book.
All staff are employed by the charity, with the exception of those staff that transferred from the Department of Health under TUPE legislation and who are employed directly by The NHS Confederation (Employers) Company Ltd.
Oh, and lets not forget, NHS money is your money, your tax money.
This charity employs 215 people, with the top level earnings way up there with bankers salaries, with 1 person on £210,000-£219,999, one on £160,000-£169,999 and two people on £140,000-£149,999.
Seems charity begins at home eh.
I view it as an abuse of the word Charity, as any organisation that lives off the taxpayer teat directly or indirectly is not a charity, its a quango, but you decide. Is this a charity that should enjoy special tax status, or is it simply a PR/Trading firm that has the NHS as its only clientèle and should be paying tax like any other firm, or should it and its nefarious promotion of communitarianism be swept away and the NHS banned from lobbying.
This is only 1 such organisation. You the public never see them, never hear about them, but by Christ you are paying for them. There are literally thousands of ‘charities’ of this nature who do nothing useful, who produce nothing, but are responsible for sucking billions out of the overall government budgets to promote the Fabian/Communitarian/Big Society message set up over the past 15 years.
For those of you who like to dig around in the semi hidden depths of communitarian government, here is another strange organisation. Set up to give the impression its a government department yet this is a private Ltd company, produces nothing, contributes nothing, yet takes its entire living from selling its ‘services’ to government.
Bills itself as:
an independent centre for the development of public services:
improvement, leadership development and research
Its just oozing Fabian doublespeak… brought to my attention because they have been crawling all over this website.
UPDATE to the UPDATE: 29/10/10
Well, there were 821 of you who read this article yesterday, from 552 unique hosts, with a huge number coming from the NHS N3 network, the NHS Confederation, and a plethora of NHS trusts, ‘charities’, NHS funded pressure organisations, NHS dependent consultancy, PR & training companies, hospitals and hospices.
That not one person left a comment to defend the NHS Confederation speaks volumes.
It is near criminal that we now live in such a politically correct and process driven world, where the process and targets are more important than the service being delivered, and the re-education and indoctrination of those who deliver those services has taken priority with the funds which taxpayers have been forced to make available for their healthcare.
The total NHS budget rose from £65.4bn in 2002-3 to £105.6bn in 2007-8. This year it will be nearly £114bn, yet there is no significant overall improvement at the point of delivery, a situation that is not the fault of the doctors, nurses and clinical staff. No, most of that massive increase has gone into shady PFI schemes, cuckoo organisations and the politicisation of the NHS, which now delivers a bigger dose of political correctness than healthcare.
There is nearly as much money given by the NHS and DoH to thousands of networked fake charities such as Ash, Alcohol Concern, Brake et al to preach their righteousness, to tell us how we should live, eat, imbibe or smoke and to regulate our lives, than the NHS puts into drugs for the chronically sick.
Unfortunately, it will be the same decision makers who will decide that it will be those essential medical staff such as doctors, nurses and clinicians that will be losing their jobs because of the necessary budget cuts in order to make a political point. When those cuts come, just remember the £26m that this organisation alone spent lobbying last year, and the £tens of billions that hundreds of organisations like them spend annually, sucking the life out of the NHS budget. It is the price that those who deliver those essential front line services will now pay, and the public suffer, and all for a political ideal.
They call it progressive politics, this regulation, correctness, training, re-education, targets and process, that pervades not just the NHS but all public services including local authorities, the police and judiciary, but in reality it is just another gravy train on the tracks of Fabian Communitarianism, Communism with a smiley face.