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

Opinion: Boots owner Alliance ‘uses havens to save £1.1bn in corporation tax’ – ex Independent – John Gelmini

Dr Alf’s simple concept, simple question, and call for the UK Government to action what appears to be obvious belies the true position.


To begin with, Osborne, Cameron et al, are in thrall to multinational businesses who pay very little tax and are not prepared to upset them by doing business with smaller local firms.


This is why the Government spends £12 billion gbp a year on Big 4 management consultants and systems integration houses like IBM Global Services, whilst spending less than 8% on all other consultancies and interim management providers COMBINED.


That same percentage applies to all other Government contracts, including those for NHS provision despite the fact that there is supposedly a 25% target for Government Departments to deal with home-grown and smaller UK businesses.


Secondly, the larger businesses have CEOs who are donors to the major political parties and who are personal friends of Government Ministers, officials and Civil Service Mandarins, either through school, Oxbridge or by dint of membership of certain secret societies.


Ordinary people, even those who have built larger businesses are normally not part of this charmed circle, and are probably regarded as stupid for paying their full share of taxes, whilst the people within the charmed circle pay nothing or next to nothing.


For all their rhetoric, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats are exactly the same because they know that if they upset these large firms they can base themselves in a tax haven just as Sir Richard Branson has done only last week.


Those firms that are based here and the people who are working are effectively “milch cows” to be put through an “olive press” far more effective than Don Croce’s fictional one in the Mario Puzo novel and even William the Conquerer‘s “Doomsday Book” backed up by armed knights to enforce tax collection.


Taxation in the UK is complex, too high and applied capriciously to those who have been thrifty, productive and honest who are regarded by Civil Service Mandarins as “our sheep”.


Then, of course, there are Local Authority Chief Executives, a group of people, who like the Local Authorities they run, are too numerous in number and in need of elimination, like Japanese knotweed. Already their councils are raising more money from parking and parking fines than they raise from council tax and as a result damage or put out of business those who might otherwise make a contribution.


The burden therefore continues to fall on those who are left which is why Dr Alf’s simple question will continue not to be answered in the way that he would like.



A pie chart showing the projected constituents...

A pie chart showing the projected constituents of UK taxation receipts for the tax year 2008-2009, according to the 2008 Budget. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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