Improving public service – John Redwood MP

English: David Cameron in Newcastle

English: David Cameron in Newcastle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Community and Public Sector Union Pledge Signi...

Community and Public Sector Union Pledge Signing 20th August 2010 (Photo credit: Senator Kate Lundy)

This is an excellent blog from Conservative MP, John Redwood. Check it out, both the blog and the one hundred plus responses.

Improving public service.

You will see that early on, in the thread I gave strong support to John Redwood’s argument but was challenged as missing the point that proposals were Neo-Socialist and I had a vested interest because I was a management consultant.

Below is a transcript of my two responses:

This is my original response:

I congratulate John Redwood MP on taking the initiative on improving the Public Sector. There are some excellent suggestions, worthy of wider debate.

On the other hand I have been disappointed with David Cameron’s Government’s achievements on Public Sector Reform. Sadly, too much of the austerity cuts have directly impacted front-line services.

What is required is an over-arching vision, joined-up strategy and carefully articulated delivery plan. Well done to John Redwood.

This is my second response after being challenged:

I am responding to the challenge made by “Outsider”.

I endorse John Redwood’s proposals, because by and large, they increase competition, rather than reduce it. In my judgement, that is not neo-Socialist, it is an excellent example of “Third Wave Neoliberalism”.

Secondly, I would add that many inefficient, regulated industries, are charging too much because their processes are not lean, oFten because of bureaucratic rules emanating from the EU – take procurement for example.

Thirdly, I do not make my argument because I am a management consultant. I am actually a retired independent consultant, choosing to retire, recognizing that David Cameron’s Government was hostile to independent professionals – this has left the way clear for major consultancies and outsource providers to effectively reduce competition.

What do you think? Do you agree with me or disagree, with an alternative view? I would love to hear your views. You can post your comments below and in John Redwood’s original blog, widening the public debate.

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9 responses

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  8. I agree with the thrust of your second argument not as an interim but as a concerned citizen concerned about the country’s future, a taxpayer and human being first and as someone currently living in England second.

    The fact that I am an interim manager and consultant, or that you are now embarking on a new one as a blogger, writer, political and travel pundit is not relevant to the point you are making or to the dire consequences for the country if nothing is done and our lazy duo do not start setting an example.

    To get out of debt and move forward the country needs economic growth not just austerity.

    So far the so called cuts have impacted the front line delivery of services but nothing has been done about reshaping those services and considering just how many local authorities, police constabularies, fire commands, layers of management, numbers of Civil Servants, numbers of quangos we need.
    Miraculously all the managers, quangos, Chief Executives, Assistant Chief Executives, Civil Service Mandarins, NHS CEOs are all in post and even when they are sacked, or prove not to be up to the task, they are placed as interims in other places often on more money than before. So unlike ordinary people who struggle to explain why they were dismissed to the point where they either become unemployed or have to take a lesser position (no “ladder ” of any kind for them), these tin gods carry on junketing as if there were no tomorrow.

    For example Sir Ian Blair, the dismissed Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police, now heads up “Blue Light Policing Solutions” is advising other police forces when he failed in his and is writing books.
    G4S are recruiting disgruntled policemen and policewoman in secret and undertaking policing duties in parallel with the running of 43 English Constabularies and the Highways Agency is to be given powers of arrest and will take over the entire functions of the Traffic Police giving us three sets of management,three sets of operational structures and massively increased cost for a worse service.
    The other bad cases I hear about via my own sources and through Private Eye’s fortnightly “Rotten Boroughs ” section.

    There certainly does need to be an overarching plan for bringing down the deficit and an overarching plan and strategy for doing this in a way which produces growth.

    Since we are now borrowing £20 billion gbp more this year than we did last year it is obvious that what is being done now is not working and that we need to do things differently.

    This is not so much a political point but a practical one.

    We need also to ask the question why it is that the Government, despite operating Prince 2 standards across all of its projects and programmes, fails consistently to deliver value for money to the taxpayer year after year and why we are so bad at procurement as Sir Philip Green discovered in his 2010 report.
    With value per taxpayer pound we are 17th in the world and for every £3 gbp Singapore delivers we deliver £1 gbp.

    I used to believe that this is because we were just inefficient as a country but now I have come to believe that the size of cost overruns on major projects and the scale of inefficiency, particularly in the MOD is because other factors such as corruption and malfeasance are at work.

    The police and forensic investigators need to be turned loose on the worst examples, of which there are many and targetted to recover funds on a 4 to 1 basis. The miscreants need to be tried, convicted and imprisoned and their ill gotten gains recovered and returned to the public purse.

    An amnesty should be given to the rest, provided they make full restitution but in the case of those who flee or dissemble the courts should be exceptionally severe as they were with the 2011 rioters.

    So as a first step we need to ensure any strategic plan is fraud risk mapped so that the potential for fraud is reduced before the plan is applied.

    Within that framework we need to decide on the organisation structures.

    To quote Tom Peters the “winning look is clear “we need something flat (maximum of 4 layers from top to bottom), a maximum headcount for each core function with no way of circumventing it and we need the optimum number of Civil Servants, Councils, Constabularies, Fire Commands, PCTs and NHS Trusts.

    In terms of local governance, we clearly do not need 43 County Councils, Police Constabularies and Fire Commands, nor do we need District and Borough Councils, which are relics from the 18th century and serve no purpose in the modern age.

    Similarly, we should within the strategic plan decide what services are core and which are not and then carefully outsource those which are not to a broad range of providers not just the usual suspects.

    With PFI/PPP the formula which Andersens came up with for value for money, is flawed and needs to be recalculated with new hurdle rates which should be applied immediately to all new projects.

    Existing contracts under the old arrangements should be renegotiated where possible but should not be renewed when they end.

    The Government is wasting money in other areas too:

    –Overseas aid,sometimes to countries like India which do not need the money


    –Special Forces in Syria and other places where we have no business

    –IT projects which go wrong such as “Choose and book for the NHS”

    –Civil Service junketing

    –Studies into things that are obvious even to a person of low intelligence

    –Retaining buildings that are surplus to requirements

    –The retention of outmoded institutions

    –Keeping more than 250 MP,s

    –Litigation within the NHS

    The situation is so dire that before we can sell our way out of trouble we need to engage in a Keynsian stimulus and build essential roads, high speed trains a second hub airport and a transport infrastructure worthy of a modern country rather than Bilbo Baggins’s “Shire”.

    Had Cameron, the holidaymaker, started measures to export our way out of trouble from day 1 and started reforming faster this might not have been necessary, but he has left it too late.

    The remaining measures have to include:

    –A massive and sustained expansion of our exporting capability

    –Pimsleur style language training

    –Export sales training in Mandarin,Portuguese,Spanish,Korean,German,Urdhu,Vietnamese,Arabic,Swahili and French

    –A competitive tax structure

    –Inward investment

    –Enterprise Education for our young people

    To pay for some of these things in the short term we will also need OPM (Other People’s Money)
    That means schmoozing Sovereign Wealth Funds in the Middle East, Temasek in Singapore and the Chinese.
    Sadly David Cameron opens his mouth first and thinks afterwards.

    He has insulted the Chinese on a number of occasions publicly including twice in speeches in their own country so he is the wrong person to do the asking.

    Theresa May with her hair brained remarks about Chinese visas and increased organised crime has also insulted them.

    Both of these lazy and ineffectual people should be removed and replaced by someone else.

    Then with suitable contrition we can devise infrastructure instruments with an attractive rate of return and send competent and respected people to the Sovereign Wealth Funds to get the money to build the infrastructure we need.

    We will condemn a generation, possibly two, of young people to the scrapheap, despair, drugs and criminality and we will risk more riots and the Bosnian style breakup of the UK into wealthy enclaves guarded by private armies and others where marauding outlaws will roam.

    At best, we will become a 3rd world country in very short order and most of our unemployed single 40 year olds will go to an early grave as happened in the 1980’s.

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