Our third day at sea…

Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens. The Acropol...

Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens. The Acropolis in backgound. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 9.30 AM on day three. We left Piraeus (Athens) at 7.00 AM this morning and our next destination is Izmir, Turkey. We were on the bridge this morning as the pilot guided us out of Piraeus which is incredibly busy with sea traffic. It did not take long and we were in open sea again, passing lots of beautiful islands.

We have settled into a routine at sea and now fully understand that we are on a cargo ship and not a cargo cruise. There are twenty-five crew and just three passengers. The ship is Italian registered in Salerno and the majority of the crew are Italian but there are also a twelve Filipinos. The chef is really keen on pasta and pizza!

Last night, we managed to get into Athens for a few hours, took in the Acropolis, a walk around the centre and a couple of drinks, before returning to our ship. It was strange being in Athens the day after the election and observing life in Athens first-hand, with our own eyes. On the surface, Athens was as we remembered, bustling, with lots of traffic and shops full of produce of the World. However, when we looked more closely, we saw a heavy presence of police in the city centre, and we were pestered by a beggar who clearly had a drug problem. Nevertheless, we resolved to return to Athens and explore it a little more leisurely.

Civil Service Reform Plan – Ten open questions?

English: East entrance of HM Treasury Français...

English: East entrance of HM Treasury Français : Entrée Est de HM Treasury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you seen the Civil Service Reform Plan (CSRP) with forwards by David Cameron and Francis Maude? It’s well worth a read. Check it out!

Tony Colwell, a professional colleague and good friend brought it to my attention and asked me what I thought, so I thought that I would blog about it to the World and perhaps generate a bit of debate.

Personally, I was rather disappointed with the CSRP, with it basically being “too little” and “too late”. The CSRP seems full of motherhood statements and has probably had the once over from a tame consultant working for the Treasury or the Cabinet Office at circa five thousand pounds a day.

Critically, the CSRP seriously lacks quantification as to:

  1. Where are we?
  2. How do we compare to international benchmarks?
  3. Where we are going?
  4. How are we going to get there?
  5. What’s the route?
  6. What’s the cost?
  7. What’s the risk?
  8. What other options have been considered, like outsourcing transaction processing across Government?
  9. Why has Private Sector Best Practice in procurement has not been effectively deployed?
  10. Why have professional executive interims not been widely deployed to fast track delivery?

Sharing another personal view,  it is amazing that the CSRP highlights the need for best skills from the Private Sector but Messrs. Maude and Alexander have created a Catch 22 environment that effectively excludes the best Private Sector skills, like interim executives, preferring to engage big consulting firms instead.

What do you think?