More ‘Bandaid Management’ in policing!

Sticking plaster

BandAid Managers?

According to sources, North Yorkshire Police have hailed their recent recruitment ‘open evenings’ as a ‘great success’… But in reality, this latest episode in the long running control room crisis, was simply engineered to propel (the still evident) problems into the yesterday’s news basket…

The force may have been pushed into this recruitment drive, in an attempt to fill gaps resulting from the application of budgetary constraints however;  many of the vacancies were mostly created by poor redundancy management. That and a limited management understanding of departmental processes and procedures.

But what constitutes success and, is it really acceptable to manipulate and massage facts to paint a rosier picture than actually exists? Could this be just another poor attempt at damage limitation marketing, simply to improve public perception of the organisation and it’s leadership?

According to Facebook apparently; “staff were paid overtime to fill seats” and give a false impression of normal staffing levels. Strange the force can’t afford these levels of staffing when it comes to providing a proper service to the citizens of North Yorkshire, but they can when it comes to deceiving the press and prospective employees?

Staff were also instructed to lie briefed about practices and procedures, and how to describe the quality of service, conditions and their working environment. Corporate clones espoused the virtues of departmental line management, the force executive and career progression prospects at every opportunity. No doubt the usual, mostly manipulated, call statistics were also trotted out to illustrate good levels of public service?

However, if anyone does have a pressing desire to work for North Yorkshire Police, especially during the current climate of public sector decline, perhaps they should really ask someone who does (or has) worked for them before applying? The ‘successful’ campaign (above) was and is little more than a sticking plaster applied to a gaping wound of problems, all delivered in a vain corporate attempt to market a lame duck. But who is to blame for the problems the staff and public are suffering from today?

Simplistically, many of these failings are born out of lack lustre self-serving leadership inherent in much of public service today. The type of management that is delivered solely to enhance the credibility and CV content of individuals. In real terms, it those managers who have caused the haemorrhagic loss of staff during recent years. Indeed, they themselves were surprised by the mass clamour for the voluntary redundancy ‘opportunities’  announced earlier this year. They may have dressed the process up under the mantle of budgetary constraint, caused by government austerity measures however, the question begs to be asked; why did so many want to leave, especially during this period of glum employment opportunity, if they were really happy in their work?

It’s obvious that previous concerns, around the force monitoring of social networks, relating to staff comments were unfounded. Either that, or the management don’t really give a toss about what their staff think about the organisation. Because if they did, they should be mortified about the comments and impressions of their staff currently. How can you realistically ‘sell’ a service when the ‘sales force‘ has no confidence or belief in the product?

It is this type of senior management that is at the heart of North Yorkshire Police (and others). Irrespective of all the (mostly) piecemeal actions being implemented by the Government and Police Chiefs at present, most of what they do now is merely aspirational. It is unlikely to achieve the success a little boy’s thumb did in Hans Brinker‘s dyke.

Realistically, politicians and police leaders are (unfortunately) reaping the consequences of the seeds sown by their predecessors in the past.  However, without a sea-change in that leadership methodology, the not insignificant changes they are (supposedly) implementing for the better continue to be destined for abject failure… The quality of public service we are all crying out for will not be enhanced any time soon!

Look after your staff properly and they will look after your organisation and enhance the service it provides; they are your most valuable (and expensive) resource (non more so than in the police). Keep them in the dark, consistenntly lie to them, constantly beat them with a stick and treat them like mushrooms, then (as a manager) you deserve all you get!

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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 15-10-2011, in Leadership & Management, Police, Public Service Babble and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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