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Friday, May 11, 2012


the civil service are receiving mixed messages at the moment. on the one hand you have lord browne (ex of bp) who says that top civil servants should be paid more, because the pay constraints mean that it is hard to recruit 'talented' staff. lord browne says that while the overall the quality of staff in the civil service is high there is scope for 'talent management' (something i thought you only did with people like tom jones)by bringing in people who have commercial skills or experience in handling major projects. to me both seem to be odd statements (but as i know nothing about the civil service - i could be barking up the wrong tree), i am never sure how commercial skills are going to help as the civil service isn't a profit making organisation. the only way commercial skills are going to help is by stopping commercial companies taking the piss out of the civil service by overcharging and under-performing. if this is what lord browne means - then i agree with him. the simple solution is to look at your staff, see who has the desire and then send them on a sensible and serious training course - you know the sort of ones that people with commercial skills have gone on: say an mba or two. (no need to thank me lord browne - i am sure you would have thought of it yourself). as for the second claim - surely one of the tasks of some civil servants is indeed the managing of large scale projects - they should be doing it all the time, it is part and parcel of helping to run the country. what lord browne is really saying is: a bunch of his business friends think that they can make some easy money working in the civil service but the basic salary needs to be more in line with private companies (though of course this only holds true at the top, at the bottom the argument is that pay should be less). "the constraints on public sector pay and recruitment pose particular challenges for talent management. even so, there is scope to improve incentives and reward, ensuring these are aligned with the strategic priorities. individual departments could potentially be given more flexibility on pay, within a controlled overall envelope." says lord browne. i like the 'controlled overall envelope' - i think what this means is the amount available for salaries remains the same but if you thing johnny whizbang from 'biggabetta biz' is the man for the job you can pay him as much as you like as long as somewhere you make cuts and savings in salary. i have another solution for you lord browne: promote from within. there are over 400,000 civil servants, somewhere among that lot is the talent you are looking for. go find it. though if you listen to david cameron and francis maude have been talking about getting rid of 'lazy' civil servants. this has been brought about in part by the 'omnishambles', the conservatives rather than taking the blame for their mistakes have decided that it must be because the civil service is not giving them the right advice - which is sounding pitifully like the 'wrong snow' defence. in their minds the civil service would have spotted and advised against some of the errors that have come together for the 'omnishambles'. the problem is that it is the government's job to police and check its ideas not some civil servant. we elect the government to govern and that means they should be checking their legislation to make sure it is what they want it to be. i am not defending all civil servants - there are several in my local jobcentre that i would happily see the back of, as they have no interest at all in the job, or the people they deal with. yet cameron and maude have hit on something - why not get rid of the lazy and the underperforming, it isn't such a bad idea. perhaps the conservative party could show a lead and get rid some of their under performing cabinet ministers i am sure mr. hunt and mr. maude would be more than happy to lead by example. oh i didn't think son.

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