English: Brief diagram comparing the constitutional role of civil servants in each system. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yesterday, I re-blogged an FT article entitled “Three suspended over West Coast fiasco – FT.com“, added my two cents to the debate and invited comments. I received a detailed and thoughtful response from John Gelmini which I am re-blogging below.
The Ministry of Transport has a long record of miscalculating costs, delaying projects deliberately to save money yet ending up costing the taxpayer billions of pounds due to the inflated prices created by road and infrastructure.
For once, they have been found out and about time too.
It is my contention that this is part of a much bigger malaise comprised of :
–Too many Civil Servants
–Civil Servants frustrating Government policies by deliberately torpedoing policies they do not like or do not agree with as Francis Maude has discovered
–Civil Servants who are lazy and incompetent giving Ministers wrong advice or basing their advice on false or incomplete data or incorrect calculations as happened in this case
–Malfeasance and criminality on the part of a small number of Civil Servants who plunder Government budgets for their own gain
What is the solution?
1) To begin with the idea of an “impartial” Civil Service needs to go and be replaced with people who come in on fixed term contracts to do a specific job after an election and who go after 5 years when the next Prime Minister comes in whichever comes first.
2) The number of Civil Servants needs to be halved and kept at that level and experts from the private sector need to be used on an interim basis to help them.
3) All policies should be decision treed and sense checked before implementation as happens in Singapore the 2nd most competitive country on the planet after Switzerland
4) All Government programs need to be independently audited as does the cost of Government.
5) This accounting needs to be independently scrutiniZed by a different accounting practice with no connection to the Big 4 or major systems integrators with alliances with the Big 4.
6) The penalty for a Civil Servant, Minister or advisor caught stealing from the taxpayer must be dismissal for industrial misconduct, sequestration of assets, a repayment order covering their estate if they lack recoverable assets and on conviction a long prison sentence plus restorative justice in the form of public works.
7) Civil Servants should not be unionized and the present trades unions should be de-recognized.