Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Public Sector’

The self-idolatry of the Public Sector

Without good leadership and the oversight that goes with it, the public sector – or rather the executive, administrative of operational functions of it, have effectively been allowed to run riot.

Indeed, it is no accident that the public sector has become the sclerotic money pit that it has. The situation now exists where public sector organisations take a view on the public policies that are generated from above, and then interpret this in the way that it works best for them (the managers).

The complete lack of commerciality means that there is no reference point or incentive to find more cost-effective ways of operating. Instead, the public sector has been actively encouraged to become bloated on the staffing side, with the bill to the public purse being again and again massively enlarged.

Without the system of checks and balances that political leadership with real-life and real-world experience offers, the mentality of the public sector has become very much that ‘we are the ones who are in charge’.

Advertisement

Our Broken System of Governance

At some point in the very distant and historic past, somebody somewhere recognised the need for some kind of service to be provided for everyone in the community, on our collective behalf.

Through a process that probably began under the control of those with money, power and influence, the pathway of civilisation brought us to a place where instead of there being services that everyone needed that were maintained under the control of specific or vested interests, services like sewage and waste management, the provision of water, looking after our roads and even our policing came under public control in the form of elected bodies that were there to represent the interests of us all.

Whilst it is staggering to know this, it is only within the past one hundred years or so that we finally reached the point where services that everyone needed every day or that everyone needed access to in the very same universal way, became fully under ‘public control’. In no small part due to the impact from and because we had to fight the Second World War.

Yes, the NHS was only born and created as a universal public health service just after WW2. An act that probably saw the zenith of public service provision, in terms of our system of government having full control over all of the public services.

It ensured that everyone had the same access, opportunities and support available to them both as individuals, but also in terms of anything -such as looking after infrastructure, where our collective interests were involved.

With a public services system or ‘public sector’ that had by this stage become so big, it was perhaps inevitable that it would take on a meaning or persona of its own.

That was of course, before politics became involved.

Public Sector Reform: Our politicians are the biggest problem

The underlying reason that our Politicians talk about reform and change of public services, but then just throw more money at the public sector is because of the legislative complexities that will be required to be reviewed and changed in order to deliver that reform.

To be able to make services such as the NHS operate and function as they should, and for the priority and emphasis to be returned to front line delivery and the staff that deliver it as it should, it will mean unpicking and rescinding much of the legislation and the crippling rights that have been created and instigated by politicians of the Left.

It will also mean removing the private interests and the laws that facilitate profit-making opportunities from public service delivery for the friends of those on the Right.

Neither ‘side’ of the political divide as it stands today perceives there being any benefit to tackling the real issues that lie behind the problems that the Public Sector faces.

This entire political class believe that it would be electoral suicide to do so.

Changing the way that politicians see the issues that stop them – because they have a habit of being issues that we have no reason to tackle too – are a big part of the dilemma that we now face.

Public Sector Reform: The necessity and the need

We previously discussed the Neoliberal purposes and motives to create smaller government that underpin what the Johnsonian Conservatives, the Right and even New Labour Policy does.

In the context of the ongoing damage that the Left has done, the argument certainly exists to support cutting back on many of the dysfunctional aspects of Public Sector delivery that their idealistic ideology has helped to create.

But the true purposes of the Right and the Left when it comes to public service provision and government itself must never be confused.

The reason that public services existed are as good now as when they were created.

Yes, the needs may have changed as different aspects of the way we live have changed too. But addressing the need for there to be a proactive and responsive approach to the needs that we collectively share across our communities is an intrinsic part of what makes a society fair.

However, that provision is not fair when any or all of the functions of the Public Sector are not working as they should.

That extends right down to the way that an entry level employee thinks about the purpose and the responsibilities of their role.

There is no doubt that the structures and the functions of the Public Sector have to be comprehensively reformed.

But Levelling Level is also about changing the way that Public Servants think.

The snake eats its own tail: The cost of Left-wing rights on their own agenda

Having created a situation where the public sector literally can no longer do its job with the income it has because of its wages and pensions bill, the very rights and employment laws that Labour, the left and the EU it championed have created and have culturally installed, has made it impossible to function efficiently.

The irony is that Public Sector organisations such as the NHS can therefore no longer function without the use of contractors and employment agencies.

In the first instance or at the first level, this is the real so-called ‘privatisation’ that the Left continually shouts about and so loudly blames the Right for.

What today’s culture in the Public Sector means for us

Before we even consider the financial cost of maintaining the public sector as it is today in financial terms, it is important to begin thinking about what it really means for us when not just one employee, not just one individual organisation, but the entire Public Sector is not doing its job with its true purpose in mind.

Although it is now 20 years since I worked professionally as a Local Government Officer myself, I recognised then that without the pernicious culture that had already taken over at that time, one person should be able to do the work of four others and be four times as productive, IF they were allowed and encouraged to actually do their jobs properly.

Over 12 years of being a Councillor and in the years that have passed since, I have seen nothing that has changed my mind on this, other than to say that the situation or problem has increasingly gone from bad to worse.

Public service delivery – and the people who actually deliver the public service to us – are not the priority.

It is the frameworks around those jobs that have become most important to Public Sector organisations and the Public Servants who work within them. For us, that only results in loss.

The Public Sector costs far more than it should because of the culture that the Left have instilled within it. And it is not even carrying out the work that it should.

The true cost of Left-wing rights culture in the Public Sector

It is too easy to overlook and forget just how much impact and influence the Public Sector has on our lives.

To put the impact of having a completely dysfunctional Public Sector in perspective, it is perhaps best to try and provide at least some context by providing a list of how the work the public sector and the structures of government does, touches our lives:

  • Hospitals
  • Ambulances
  • Schools
  • Fixing Roads
  • Building Roads
  • Police
  • Fire Brigade
  • Parish & Town Councils
  • Borough & District Councils
  • County Councils & Unitary Authorities
  • Driving Licenses
  • Passports
  • Vehicle Licensing
  • Tax
  • Planning
  • Alcohol Licensing
  • Health & Safety
  • Flood Management
  • Environmental Health
  • The Courts
  • Jobcentres
  • Social Services
  • Emptying the bins
  • Erecting bins and dog bins
  • Bus Stops
  • Public Transport
  • NGOs (Non-Government Organisations)
  • [Army]
  • [Royal Navy]
  • [Royal Air Force]

The list goes on. Not least of all because even the functions that I have touched on here are managed by a wide range of different Public Sector bodies. They are all managed by organisations that have offices, structures, hierarchies and in many cases operational service departments to manage beneath and beyond them.

The bill to the Taxpayer (That’s us) for all of this is massive. In fact, it is currently thought to be the case that you actually work until late May or early June each year, just to pay the bill for all of this through the taxes that you pay.

Yes – that means you aren’t actually earning a penny for yourself for around five to six months of each year that you work.

The public sector has forgotten its true purpose

Government and the Public Sector exists to allow every part of our wider community to function in ways that are beneficial and considerate of all.

Yet it is in no small part due to the policies of the Left and through the actions of levelling down, that the entire public sector and structure of government functions as a sclerotic monolith.

Protectionism exists right down to the personal level of the employee or worker.

This means that in terms of priorities or what the true purpose of the public sector is, the end user or customer – that’s us – in many ways simply no longer exists.

Idealism in the workplace creates a dysfunctional practical reality

The culture shift from practical reality to idealism in the workplace been exhaustively counterproductive.

Within the NHS alone, the creation of non-jobs and a mind-boggling array of roles that have been invented so that more and more responsibility becomes specific, means that the whole emphasis of what hospitals and health organisations are there to really do has been effectively lost.

Not only this. All of these jobs attract massive additional costs to manage. Not least of all the very generous pension schemes that jobs right across the Public Sector attract.

The point should not be overlooked that each and every public sector organisation has to use our money to pay all of these additional and in many cases unnecessary employment costs BEFORE any of their real work actually begins.

The creation of non-jobs and the rejection of common responsibility

When appreciated, the reality that businesses exist for a purpose other than being an employer begins to shed a lot of light on the lack of understanding and cynicism of politicians when they spend so much time projecting out soundbites about creating jobs.

Ironically however, the rights culture mentality that the constant narrative has created has on one hand made people afraid of their own shadows – as they begin to question whether their normal behaviour is actually right, whilst within the workplace, employees – particularly within the left-wing dominated public sector, have increasingly refused to accept responsibilities that are not within the confines or parameters of their own jobs.

This process has itself heralded the creation of ‘non-jobs’ such as human resources, and many additional posts that were never previously necessary and carried out as part of general management responsibilities, before the situation began to exist where employees may not explicitly say it, but through their actions, they are telling their employer and customers that ‘this isn’t my job’, and opportunists have been more than happy to step in and fill the gaps.

Businesses and organisations exist to provide goods and services; their primary aim is not the creation of jobs

People are now literally led to believe by the Left that their job and their conditions are more important than the objectives of the business or the organisation that they work for.

Businesses and organisations exist only to provide the services, produce the goods or achieve the very specific aims that they were set up for or developed to do.

Job creation is literally a happy coincidence or consequence of this process.

Creating employment never was nor never could be a meaningful strategic aim for any organisation or business that has a real purpose, unless that purpose is itself simply to keep people employed.

Yes No10, we need a much smaller state. But it should be the consequence of reform and not just an aim that tells us you’ve really learned nothing from anything that you’ve already done

February 14, 2022 Leave a comment

The most successful lies are those that hinge on the tiniest of truths.

Regrettably, our current political class knows and understands this only too well.

It has sold itself continually on virtues and commitments that basically don’t exist.

Such promises have become the political charlatan’s get out of jail free card at its absolute worst. And as we see and experience Boris Johnson pulling just about every white rabbit possible in order to survive as PM, the cynical use of sops to address what are growing and highly destructive societal problems are only being outshone by the reality that none of our politicians understand what is actually going on.

In fact, so out-of-touch with the realities we all face are those who preach their vision and abilities in ways that suggest they are the only ones capable of ‘getting things done’, that the so-called solutions that they release to the world with ever greater fanfare don’t even scratch the surface. That is where dealing with the realities of cause, rather than effects are concerned.

Sadly, too many of us are unaware that politics in the UK is now all about doing and being able to continue doing the politics itself.

Politics is the end, rather than the means. This is why we have so many big ideas and projects being thrown around in the media that usually come with a substantial financial cost. But then don’t ever seem to work out or deal with the issues the way they were supposed to.

This week will apparently see the push to protect and sure up Boris’ tenure move in the direction of ‘smaller government’. Such a policy is of course ridiculously ironic, given the massive theft of freedom that two years of Johnsonian Covid Measures have effectively imposed upon us all.

Just in sense of the step back from the way that government and the public sector has behaved and treated people since March 2020 could see the end of Covid Measures in the next few weeks qualify and therefore spun as the delivery of a smaller state.

In terms of the miniscule truths that these incompetent leaders need present within a story to gain public acceptance that what they are doing is ‘true’, it is sadly the case that this in itself would be enough to make the lie work.

Yet the idea of a smaller state, where government and public service provision simply isn’t as big or doesn’t have the reach that it does now, is in itself a very good one. That is, if it were to be the consequence of well-intended policy implementation, rather than the defined and intended result.

This is because as with most things that relate to the ideas that drive this Government and the political class and establishment that sits behind it, there is always a much bigger self-serving philosophy or way of thinking involved.

Now, at a time of national crisis where the Tories default setting is to prioritise the problems being experienced by Boris, the lack of understanding and competence that these wannabies have is making them reach ever further into contents of a rotten suggestions tin.

That battered, rusty and hole-ridden tin is of course the one called Neoliberalism. One that has market freedoms and catastrophic practices like FIAT money and money printing at its root.

Those behind this drive have used every part of government to sure up the messes they had already made when the arrival of the Covid Virus threatened to tear their playhouse down. Yet they now want to push even harder to put everything and everyone at the mercy of big money and market forces. All the time paying nothing but lip service to what those who understand government would see as a happy consequence of genuine public sector reform.

What we are likely to see, if ‘delivering smaller government’ should turn out to be any more than words, will be the slashing of budgets, the closure of departments and perhaps even entire organisations.

Any real responsibilities will be palmed off or redefined, so that the mechanics of any practical or operational changes that come as a result of this further meddling will just become someone else’s problem and part of someone else’s job.

The march towards the systemic collapse that years of political meddling and mismanagement have created is not a practice that is restricted to Conservative Governments alone.

Indeed the last Labour Government between 1997 and 2010 created a seedbed of policy and public sector problems that have been coming into full bloom for years now, that makes the hypocrisy of Labour front bench ‘solutions’ to the problems that the Johnson Tories are out of touch with, significantly worse.

None of the politicians we have sitting as MPs, representing the Political Parties in Westminster have the commitment, desire or wherewithal to deal with the real issues that we face across the public sector, or indeed any of the problems faced where services for the public good are concerned.

In fact, they live in a permanent state of fear over the realities demanded of any politician who is prepared to face up and do all that is necessary to deliver bottom to top reform.

Only by dealing with the systemic issues – which are about people and they way they think, and cannot be addressed with new rules, new jobs or new structures of any kind – will any government legitimately deliver a genuine and realistic ‘smaller government’ in a practical and meaningful form.

We really are damned for as long as this political class continues to have entry to Parliament barred to any politician who really cares about the people they represent and has the leadership skills to deal with the turmoil these idiots have created that now lies ominously in store.

Until the time arrives when we have and can enjoy the benefits from what will be a genuinely representative government, our future will continue to be defined, corrupted and destroyed by the use of clever words that are unaccompanied by real and the purposeful action. Action that will be necessary at every step of the way if we are ever to have a fully fair and balanced way of being for everyone across the UK.

Single issue Parties or Movements (Covid Related) don’t win General Elections (All-issue), especially in a climate when there are so many other issues that people face

September 8, 2021 Leave a comment

What’s the number one issue of our time?

Covid? Education? Lockdowns? Social Care? Vaccine Passports? Black Lives Matter? The Driver Shortage? Afghanistan & The West’s Relationship with Islam? Labour failing as the Opposition? Brexit? Freedom of Speech? The ‘Great Reset’? Cross-Channel Immigration? Social Mobility? Cancel Culture? The Cost-of-Living Crisis? The Housing Crisis? Inflation? China? Knife Crime? A Conservative Government?

The chances are that for you the answer could be any one of the above, or none of them at all. And of those, the way that you see that issue could itself be different than any number of other people, who could again think differently about the same issue as everyone else.

Yet the most difficult and challenging thing to get your head around when you think about issues affecting the public in this way, is that nobody is wrong. Different people just see the same things in different ways because their experiences of them and of life up to that point have been different. And it is important to recognise and accept that in this broadest sense, no matter how many different views of the same situation exist, none of them are wrong.

With all that is going on in the world around us, it may seem like a strange time to be discussing the mechanics of how different people think. But with Government and therefore the Public Sector which it runs effectively out of control, a moment in time like this one may never have previously existed where the importance of recognising the mechanics of the differences between us has been so important for us all to absorb.

My motivation for writing this blog – like a number of them before, is the situation that we collectively face going forward, where a so-called Conservative Government has been making and implementing decision after decision both in response to Covid and also before, based not on what’s best for the Public, but based on what’s good for the politicians and what’s best for all of ‘them’.

Regrettably, we are walking through an age or chapter of our history where experience doesn’t matter, but the platform and profile you have most certainly counts. So, irrespective of how the voice or speaker got there, if that voice has something to say about the issues that we relate to in the way that we relate to them too, they become the voice of reason and the one that we choose to follow – no matter what the real nuts and bolts of these or the wider issues might well involve.

You may listen to one or more of those voices yourself. People who speak passionately and knowingly about one, or perhaps several of the different issues that I listed above. Yet the problem that we all face, often without even knowing it, is that the outcomes that we want in respect of the issues that we want addressed can only be achieved if we apply the same approach to all the different issues that are important to everyone.

People want change. Yet at the same time that they see so many people saying the same things that they think, feel and believe, nothing seems to be changing. Instead, it all just seems to be getting worse and worse.

The things that you feel are the ones that need to be changed, can be changed. But those things important to you will only be changed if you can see, feel and embrace the importance of all the other issues that everyone else is facing too.

Those lined up or lining up against the Johnson Government today appear to be great in number. But when the next General Election comes, which is planned for 2024 but is likely to be a lot sooner, there will no alternative available on the ballot papers right across the Country for anyone or anything political that is doing the work necessary to connect all of us and all of our issues – no matter how different – with policies and an approach that is as effective as it needs to be, whilst doing all that is necessary to reach across.

There will be The Reclaims, The Reforms, and many others who are selling change and a difference to what we already have in the way that they see it. Yet the elephant in the room for all of them is and will continue to be that they are behaving as if the problems we collectively face are just one issue, overlooking the reality that the only reason UKIP, The Brexit Party and Vote Leave won EU Elections and the EU Referendum was that people saw those votes as being purely about just one issue or thing.

I have no interest in doing any of the voices who speak on behalf of these or many other organisations down. In fact, I would like all those who oppose this tyrannical and self-serving form of government come together and do all the things necessary so that we can collectively succeed as one.

But coming ‘together’ in the way that it will need to happen in order for us to succeed will simply not happen whilst all of them look at our political system and continue to think that this situation or any of the problems we face can be solved by rattling on about only one thing.

Furthermore, it is not enough simply to pay lip service to all the other issues and think that by publishing manifestos or any other kind of marketing-based ‘promise’ that enough people will suddenly see and share the same point of view, and then propel you into government as the political option of choice.

To succeed now, you must connect. We must ALL connect.

People want to be treated and respected as adults again. Yet this is something that the political parties in parliament and our councils have long since forgotten to do. In fact, they are so drunk on the perception they have that voters have no choice but to vote for them, they no longer believe that connecting with the people is something they need to do.

They will not change whilst they retain or have any hope of obtaining power. And once they have been removed and have lost that, these are not the people we will want to give the same chances to hurt us all as they have been doing all over again.

Covid and everything related to it IS a single issue in electoral terms and so it is necessary for those who want freedom to return and embrace the conversation, debate and need to address all of the issues that are facing our society today, so that the electorate no longer believe that the only way the issue important to them have a chance of being solved is to see the existing mainstream Political Parties as the only option or choice.

Politics is a game and there is no way to escape this reality if you genuinely want to see us all embrace and facilitate change.

Single issue politics in a multi-issue political world will not solve any problem and it is only by becoming a multi-issue political movement that the single political issues for us all will ultimately be solved.

Changing Politics for the better Pt 1: Public Sector Reform

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

The key aim of my discussion on change in politics is to talk about Brexit and the possibilities that it opens up to us more openly, and how a good Government can go about putting the ideas underpinning A New Politics into practical and meaningful form.

In the first instance, it is easy for us to assume that these changes can come about just by changing the way that Politicians think, or replacing the Politicians themselves. But the reality of changing the way that Government and the Public Sector works is so very much more.
One of the reasons it has become so important that we get the right Politicians in place, is because the Public Sector itself has as a result of EU influence and poor political management over many years, become rotten to the core.
The Public Sector has become for many senior officers one big gravy chain with tentacles that reach outwards and far beyond. There is a protectionist culture in place from top to bottom that shies away from responsibility and passes the buck onwards an upwards – usually to consultants who actually add nothing new, rather than simply getting the job done, which is after all exactly what all Government Officers and Civil Servants are employed to do.
Rather than the priority of Public Services being to serve the Public, the focus has become all about the people who are employed within its jobs. The employment rules and regulations and bottomless pits such as the Local Government Pension Scheme are a gargantuan drain on just about every resource.
And it is because it has become so very expensive to employ staff directly and to keep up with the legal obligations to those staff that once were, that significant incomes generated by Council Tax and Business Rates go nowhere near as far as they should.
Poor Management, management based on self-interest and management which is incompetent whilst selling itself as knowing better than elected decision makers is at the core of this rich malaise.
Any original thinking that could find solutions to the problems is restricted by all the rules that being tied to the EU has put in play.
And the rich mix of key positions of influence in the Public Sector being filled by people who really shouldn’t be there, entwined with the incompetence of politicians who are in it for themselves as simply assume that the executive is there to decide what work to do, rather than being there to do as they are told, means that the whole Public Sector System is failing us. Is too expensive to run. And is at the mercy of idiots who have concluded that getting more money from Central Government is the only way to get anything done.
A Good Government will immediately embark upon top to bottom Public Sector Reform.
To begin with it could:
  • Create a new code of ethics and protocol that requires all public employees to fulfill both the obligations and live up to the responsibilities of their jobs.
  • Ban the use of outside consultants, agencies or temporary staff to carry out work that a public sector employee could do.
  • Ensure that Employees and the expectations placed upon them are realistic and where extra is required from them, that they are happy to undertake additional work voluntarily if that is the most sensible way to get things done.
  • Stop councils and other public sector bodies contracting out services to profit making contractors and agencies.
  • Reform and remove the guarantee of the gold-plated pension schemes and put them on a par with those in the commercial world.
  • Reverse the reforms that Gordon Brown enacted to Pension Schemes in 1997.
  • Remove the Working Time Directive and any Employment Rules that mean the employer has to prioritise the rights of the Employee above the execution of the job and the responsibilities that they were employed to do.
  •  Put a fixed, realistic and mandatory pay scale in place for each and every level, role or position, placing the emphasis back on jobs in the public sector including the benefit of putting something back, rather than being all about what the employee can gain from being in the job that they do.
  • Take appropriate steps to stop ambulance chasers and everything that contributes to the culture of blame. Public employees need to know that they are trusted to do their jobs and to adapt to circumstances rather than having to do everything based on a risk assessment first in case they should be accused of intending to hurt others in some way, or do something that could otherwise be interpreted as being wrong

What the Carillion collapse tells us about the unspoken truths governing public sector contracts

January 18, 2018 Leave a comment

Carillion

Carillion is the big news this week, and is likely to remain on the media radar for some time, given the impact that the collapse of a Company of this size is almost certain to have on commercial relationships that are now an integral part of the public sector.

Moments like this are important for reasons which go way beyond the impact that Monday’s announcement is already having on jobs and the potential closures of many small businesses.

It is providing one of those very rare opportunities to glance inside the incestuous workings of contract delivery on behalf of government and gain an invaluable insight into why private interests working at any level within the public sector is in clear conflict with very ideals of what public service delivery is fundamentally about.

Regrettably, the clear focus of the media and political classes has already fallen upon the question and avoidance of blame. Yet if they were to begin to look just a little further and be open with what have for too long been the unpalatable truths, there would be just the merest hope that questions such as whether there can be a future for the NHS when it remains in a perpetual state of financial crisis could perhaps be genuinely answered.

So why are contracts going to private companies outside the public sector?

The best place to begin thinking about the contracting or privatisation problem is to look at why private business is really even involved in the delivery of government services of any kind, when government exists to operate for, on behalf of and for the benefit of only the public.

Man can only ever have one true master after all, and if money is the true motivator, then public service will at best become an oversight – the unwelcome relative left trailing way behind.

Whilst it may feel counter-intuitive to believe or accept it for many of us, the ‘privatisation solution’ has been in the main part created by Conservative governments in response to the consequences of policies created typically by Labour in order to enhance the rights, working conditions and influence of public sector employees.

Positive discrimination and rights, enhanced working conditions, gold-plated pensions and union indulgence within public sector organisations all cost an ever evolving sum of money in an increasing number of different ways, which usually create even more roles and dilute responsibility further and further still.

The cost of employing people within the public sector on conditions which exceed those of the private sector outside – even when salaries appear to be less, has simply made the delivery of services too expensive for government itself to provide.

Against this backdrop, all areas of he public sector have had to go in search of more cost effective ways to deliver services, and have had to do so in ways which also meet the rigorous requirements of providing services and employing staff as a government based organisations.

This has made the ‘marketplace’ fertile for the entry of private contractors who don’t have the same considerations as these former public sector based service providers.

When you consider that private contractors are providing arguably the same level of service, just without the same levels of bureaucracy – whilst making what in some cases is an outrageous level of profit besides, you can soon begin to see that something is inherently wrong with the way that the government system is now designed.

So how does public sector contracting by private contractors become a problem?

Business loves a contract. Contracts give surety. Contracts themselves can be used as a solid-gold guarantee – and particularly so when they are agreed and signed with government. This gives business confidence which can be misplaced, misused, abused and is almost certain to breed a feeling of complacency.

After completing what should be a rigorous ‘tender process’ – the company will sign a contract with the government organisation which agrees what, when and how the ‘contractor’ will provide a service, whether that just be 1 person to sweep a street or 32 bin lorries to collect your rubbish every fortnight for 5 years. On signing this contract, the company will know exactly what it will be paid, know what it will in turn have to spend, will have worked out its costs and borrowing, should have kept back a little for a rainy day and then know what it will make in profit – from which it will pay bonuses to staff and dividends to shareholders after it has paid any tax requirement.

Good managers know that some things change during the lifetime of a contract – such as fuel prices going up, which would be a real concern for a bus service provider or a private ambulance services. But contractual devices or clauses that allow for some variation in charges are usually built in to any contract to allow for this.

As such, genuinely unforeseen events or those which could not have been predicted by anyone within the contracting company itself are very rare to find.

What government contracts don’t allow for however, are lack of knowledge or understanding of the service delivery area on the part of those designing and agreeing a contract. They don’t make allowance for unmitigated trust on the part of either party. They certainly don’t consider the potential greed or indeed malpractice of a contractor or its decision making staff, which cannot be planned for or predictably defined even within the scope of a government contract process.

When a contractor has only a single contract, transparency is bizarrely much clearer and for the management, much more important and kept clearly in mind.

But when you have many more and perhaps and ever increasing number of contracts, the potential for complacency and overconfidence can lead to otherwise unrealistic opportunities, which in more focused circumstances would have been denied.

It may be as simple as paying senior executives massive, over-inflated salaries. But it has the potential to be much much more in terms of investment, questionable projects and big payouts for shareholders when little in terms of adequate checks and balances has allowed an adequate safety blanket to be retained from payouts and quietly put aside.

The overriding problem with a company which has grown to the size, reach and responsibility of Carillion is there is so much in terms of questionable financial activity that it has the ability to very easily hide.

The responsibility for contract design and management doesn’t just fall on contractors themselves however.

In the background to all this and within the protectionist culture in which contemporary public sector commissioning is currently enshrined, purchasing officers simply don’t have the motivation or willingness to do their jobs as effectively as they should. When the money you are allocating isn’t yours, public service and best value isn’t always the overriding priority. Sometimes it’s all about doing anything which proves to be easier, and who gets what doesn’t always work out exactly as it should.

Whether its building maintenance, bin collections, public transport, prison management, forensic services or interim and temporary staff services that contractors provide, contractors are all making unnecessary profit at the ultimate cost to us as taxpayers.

So what can be done to solve the problem and when will anything happen?

What has been outlined here provides little more than a simple snapshot of a very big and complex problem, which those in power are through their actions are continuing to deny.

For these problems to be addressed, it would first be necessary for politicians to accept that the whole system of government delivery is broken, riddled with management focused upon self interest, making decisions based on theoretical premise, and that there are simply too many people operating within the system who are ultimately being allowed to take us all for a ride.

The ‘too big to fail’ mindset has now permeated through political thinking to a level where contracts are being awarded despite very clear warning signals which would tell even very junior civil service staff that something is not right.

This is no longer a question of let’s bail them out so that they don’t fail like Labour did with the Banks in 2008; this is all about awarding contracts because there is a view that they never will.

Solving this problem is far from simple. It is not just about political thinking. It’s about getting the market’s to think differently. But just as much, it’s about getting employees to see their roles differently; to accept that they have a part to play too.

In simple terms, the free for all has to stop.

This bonanza based on self-interest is no longer sustainable.

The perpetuation of the lie that government genuinely works selflessly for everyone has got to be stopped.

No business can perform effectively on the basis that it prioritises the working conditions and needs of its staff before the priorities upon which it was created to deliver. Yet this is how liberalism and rights culture has manifested itself within all parts of government and the public sector.

Not only has the NHS become hamstrung by lack of staff and inefficiency, it is being cut up by the cost of the staff it hires through contracts – thereby being destroyed by the supposed solution itself; by the very respite that additional money is supposed to provide.

Meanwhile local government has its own substantive bogeyman too, finding itself tied up in knots by the cost of the local government pension scheme – the destination of the better part of our council tax, in many of the Boroughs, Cities and Districts where most of us reside.

Then there are the PFI contracts upon which the last Labour Government so heavily relied. A coarse, deceptive instrument designed to hide public spending, whilst fire hosing cash at private contractors over 30 year terms. Just another financial time bomb legacy like the raid on pension funds by Gordon Brown which we overlook daily on the basis that out of sight is very much out of our minds.

The power rests with government to change all of this, if only they would try.

Regrettably, the will doesn’t even exist to even begin doing so today, even if the Government could begin doing so – something that a hung parliament which could last until 2022 will simply deny.

With a good chance that the next Government will be based upon or built around a militant form of Labour, the chances are that politicians will only continue to try and hide the truth thereafter, because action which doesn’t just look responsible is not a pathway to which they are inclined.

As Jeremy Corbyn made clear in his questioning of Theresa May at Wednesday’s PMQ’s, the answer is just to do everything to return everyone to employment in government jobs. No doubt based upon further borrowing, which to those who don’t understand business or economics is a perceived as a policy which when sold looks bullet proof.

images thanks to independent.co.uk, bbc.co.uk, wiltshiretimes.co.uk

%d bloggers like this: