We are all a bunch of layabouts - Printable Version
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RE: We are all a bunch of layabouts - Steve Sienkiewicz - 20-08-2010 11:04 AM
the thing with headlines like this, is that people sit up and take notice and so far as the consultancy firm is concerned - job done - an awful lot of free publicity comes their way as a result. This sort of thing really gets my goat. If they were to make such generalistic unfounded comments like that about a private organisation they would more than likely be sued for libel.
RE: We are all a bunch of layabouts - Steve Sienkiewicz - 20-08-2010 11:07 AM
by the way, you can always rely on the good old BBC to give airing to this sort of clap trap.
RE: We are all a bunch of layabouts - Nick Beale - 20-08-2010 01:00 PM
The other bit I caught (also half-asleep and not in work time!) was that 44% in the private sector were productive. So if we sack 64% of public sector and 56% of private sector workers, prosperity will be within our grasp?
Typical rent-a-stat filler material for a slow news day and about on a par with cosmetics adverts. Perhaps in the same spirit the LGA should respond that public sector workers are up to 17% visibly more radiant?
RE: We are all a bunch of layabouts - Ed Hammond - 20-08-2010 01:35 PM
Entirely agree with both of you chaps. I was depressed, but not surprised, to see the way it was reported, notwithstanding the fact that the findings make no sense. As you said, they are on the make and have managed to successfully lever some publicity for whatever it is that they do.
I note that John Ransford and Dave Prentis of the LGA and Unison respectively have provided reasonably solid rebuttals of this.
But, as you say, it is all part of the "drip, drip, drip" of the prevailing narrative that public services are inefficient and ripe for savings. This was reflected in surveys carried out before the election which suggested that many people thought that the deficit could be handled by efficiency savings alone. They'll be in for a shock come 20 October.
We at the CfPS are increasingly going to be putting our head above the parapet on these kinds of things in future because the debate needs to be steered back onto evidence rather than being kicked into the long grass of prejudice as this kind of research will continue to do.
RE: We are all a bunch of layabouts - Heather Smith - 23-08-2010 12:13 PM
I have a feeling we're fighting a losing battle. The current narrative is, as Ed says, that the public sector is not as effective as it should be and is poor at managing public money.
Another example to cheer us all up - Michael Higgins' rebuttal to Eric Pickles:
There are lots of good reasons why public bodies hire venues and feed people attending day long meetings but these explanations seem unable to withstand the prevailing wind.
It is going to be very hard to challenge this narrative. I have a horrible feeling that the narrative won't change until people start to feel the real pain arising from cuts to services. It might then be too late.
RE: We are all a bunch of layabouts - Ed Hammond - 23-08-2010 12:42 PM
There's certainly a risk. There is, at the moment, a bit of a vacuum of sensible, considered policy discussion happening at the highest level. A lot of the discourse about transparency, openness and accountability is a race to the bottom, typified by random allegations of money being spent on "frivolities" such as staff training. As Michael O'Higgins says it is meaningless to highlight some random items of expenditure and use them to support a far more general thesis, that the AC is somehow a waste of space. It's one step removed from being an ad hominem attack.
Sadly this also comes across in the Spending Challenge website (have a read of that if you want to get even more depressed) - although there are some excellent suggestions they are swamped in a sea of ill-informed opinion.
It isn't really evidence-based policy-making at its best. There seems to be little understanding of the on-the-ground impact of the level of spending cuts we're talking about, and no real thinking about how unpopular spending decisions will be held to account and analysed. I'm not talking about just Ministers here - this applies to officials, civil servants and other politicians too, from all parties.
The question is whether things will get better or worse after CSR - you could be positive and think that CSR might provide some necessary focus to the debate, or there is the alternative possibility that everyone will just panic and Q3 and Q4 this year will be bedlam. I remain confident that the reason why things have been so febrile recently is that everyone *knows* that big cuts are around the corner but nobody knows the detail yet - consequently, this narrative has started to develop that "public services are inefficient" as a way to manage the process.
RE: We are all a bunch of layabouts - Nick Beale - 23-08-2010 01:38 PM
Add to the mix the reported scandal of the NHS spending countless millions on "consultants", many of whom turned out to be the very services - architects and the like - that public services were made ot sell off so that they could buy them in more efficiently.