Take your partner for the Christmas Side Step Turkey Trot

A Turkey.

Image via Wikipedia

No, I’m not talking about a new seasonal dance, it’s all about that age-old public sector adage and well baked chestnut; Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas

On the day local authorities and Police Forces in England and Wales started to make announcements about future budgets, I was unsurprised to hear the usual comments being trotted out by those at the head of public sector agencies.

Up and down the country, council CEO’s and Emergency Service Chief Officers alike are issuing stark warnings about the forthcoming impact upon local service delivery levels and side stepping the real issues. It still really doesn’t have to be as bad as they would have us believe.

English councils face average cuts in “spending power” of 4.4% next year, the government has announced. (Read more)

Many of these comments are simply calculated and systematically designed to offset critical examination of the public sector management machine. The same management structure which has effectively lead us to the abyss of the austerity measures we now face. Measures that have (necessarily) been forced upon us by central government, thanks to the decades of wastage and mismanagement at local levels.

As an aside, the facts about the figures are also being manipulated by the media. Take the BBC News headline quoted above, visited some three or four hours after my original visit, it now reads…

Councils in England are to face cuts of almost 10% next year in their core central government funding. (Read more)

Same article but different editorial spin, a factor that is so prevalent with today’s media style. I suspect the editorial mantra of the day, even at the BBC must be; ‘let’s make things look as bad as we possibly can to get the public attention’ or, is that me being an old cynic again? Back to the Turkey trot

The North Yorkshire Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell has said; “employing fewer people would have an impact on the force” which realistically is probably correct. The secret is minimising that impact in the right manner, it’s all about trimming the right posts to maintain the service the public requires and deserves.

Police authority backs compulsory retirement measure: A measure which allows North Yorkshire Police to force officers with more than 30 years’ service to retire has been approved by the police authority. (Read more)

North Yorkshire Police is only one of several forces looking to implement the A19 regulation to save money. Although it’s all supposed to be about police ‘efficiency’ the actual reason for its popularity amongst Chief Constables is simply a financial one, that and probably the fact it can’t be applied to any member of the ACPO social club. If ‘efficiency’ was measured simply by monetary value and not operational capability and/or service delivery standards, which it shouldn’t be, ‘efficiency’ could be claimed as a valid reason however, as Mr Maxwell is also the ACPO lead on financial matters, it is obvious which definition is being applied here. There I go being cynical again.

To be fair to Mr Maxwell, he has intimated job losses by means of redundancy schemes amongst police staff (non warranted personnel). Now I have no desire to see anyone lose their livelihood however, there are still many aspects and large areas of the police administrative monster which are ripe for culling. Strange how in a top-heavy organisation, particularly in the public sector, no moves have (as yet) been made to address the over inflated hierarchy of these self-important and self-perpetuated fiefdoms?

The majority of the Emergency services and public sector agencies are all facing similar financial difficulty but you can rest assured, the top brass of all of them will do all in their power to secure their own tenure, even if it is at the expense of service delivery to the public. After all, they’re more important than we are, aren’t they?

If things are actually done in the correct manner (and I very much doubt it), the redundant chiefs can always put themselves forward (with the rest of the has-beens) for the Strictly Come Dancing Turkey Trot.

addendum: The chairman of the Police Federation in North Yorkshire has said it may take legal action over plans to retire officers forcibly. (Read more)

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 14-12-2010, in Leadership & Management, Police and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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