Opinion – George Osborne has missed his chance to end the British disease – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph – John Gelmini

Dr Alf raises a series of conundrums but public sector debt has to be dramatically reduced.

This not least because when NNDR and local authority charges for planning, parking etc are added to Corporation tax the UK has one of the least competitive economic environments it is possible to imagine.

Local Authorities are for the most part grossly inefficient, often corrupt and always overmanned. They waste money on unnecessary planning applications and are run as personal fiefdoms by overpaid CEO’s. Worse than that, there are far too many of them, and often even after the outsourcing of services, the original headcount stays the same whilst the outsourced employees and related costs represent a double whammy.

Public sector workers take 9 days uncertificated unplanned absence a year, as opposed to the private sector average of 6 days.
Public sector productivity runs at 32% or just 70 working days per year out of 220 working days and spans of control are too narrow with each team leader and manager given assistants so that people who are “plateaued” can be paid more (i.e. money above their actual grade).

Even in 3 star(top 25%) County Councils, there is 67% overmanning, so what it must be in the more inefficiently run 1 and 2 star councils I dread to think.

This logic mandates that the UK needs 15 large local authorities, police constabularies and fire commands and that 2 million unnecessary people could be cleared out with no loss of efficiency whatsoever.

Civil Servant numbers need to be reduced to 15,000 and Districts and Boroughs abolished and replaced with outsourced provision.

The overseas aid budget currently runs at £12 billion gbp and needs to be scrapped, the same goes for the Barnett Formula and the running sore represented by subsidising Welsh,Scottish,Northern Irish and Cornish citizenry wanting their own Parliaments and handouts from the rest of us.

After the above is done, businesses can expand, take on people and the economy can start to be re-balanced.

Corporation taxes are too high as are energy prices. Reduce these and get the offshore stashes of hidden cash back onshore.

It is not rocket science.

John Gelmini

Opinion – Public Services Reform : Zooming in on the Risks of Implementing Shared Services – John Gelmini

Dr Alf is correct.

Having been personally involved in the largest piece of Local Authority transformation ever undertaken in the UK (An East Anglian County Council), I know that there is a scarcity of ambition for what can and should be achieved in this area.
We have 43 English County Councils, 43 constabularies, 43 fire commands.

In Scotland, we have 8 County Councils but police and fire commands have been merged to form 1 of each.

Wales, an economic basket-case of monumental proportions we have 6 County Councils, 6 police constabularies and 6 fire commands and Northern Ireland has 6 Counties, 1 Police Service of Northern Ireland and 6 fire commands.

On top of this, we have Unitary Authorities and District and Borough Councils making a total of 3,500 councils.

Most County Councils have their own call centers, some of which are shared with the police, emergency services and District Councils but many which are standalone.
Others outsource Highways to Mouchel, Education/Childrens Services to Capita PLC, Parking to people like Serco PLC , street cleaning to Serco Plc and strategically insource HR and IT to people like Capita PLC and IBM and BT Global Services.

Worker productivity in Local Authorities is just 32%, or 70 days of actual work out of a possible 220 working days (Source:Knox D’Arcy and ONS); absenteeism is 9 days a year on average, versus 6 or less for the private sector and layering in terms of bogus grades and “assistants” is rife creating overmanning and large numbers of non jobs.

Out of 10,000 employees in the County Council I worked in which was a 3 star authority (1 star-bottom , 2 star second from bottom, 3 star upper 25%, 4 star top 10%), I calculated, as did IBM Global Services that services could be improved to Lean /EFQM standards and staff numbers cut by 6,500 people).
Applying that logic to the UK as a whole one could:

1) Reduce the number of councils to 12 for England,1 for Wales,1 for Scotland and 1 for Norther n Ireland and 1 for Greater London

2) Abolish all District,Borough,Metropolitan Borough and London Borough Councils,abolish City Councils and so called Unitary Authorities.

Replace all of them with a rotating panel of outsourced provision

3) Create 4 shared services centers for police, fire, ambulance, social services and general communications for England, 1 for Scotland, 1 for Wales, 1 for London and 1 for Northern Ireland and have outsourced mirrored contingency,overflowing and disaster recovery provision on a 1 for 1 basis.

4) Create structures with no more than 5 layers (top to bottom) and spans of control of 1 to 10 people.

Abolish assistant roles, the revolving door and apply strict headcount limits per function

5) Outsource all non-core functions and purchasing, facilities management, website hosting and printing.

Create formula for capturing “embedded value ” in each outsourcing contract and ensure that outsourcing agreements are prepared and negotiated by skilled outsourcing lawyers not council officials and legal departments who do not know what they are doing and are prone ,to quote the “Donald” to having “their lunch eaten ” by outsourcing lawyers acting for the suppliers of outsourcing services.)

John Gelmini