We’ve just had a little look at the results so far from our currently running public sector poll. As a reminder, the aim of the exercise is to flush out insights, tips and tricks that can be of use to those involved in reporting and performance management in a public sector environment. The poll so far is confirming the need to …
Public Sector thinking remains firmly inside the box
Your questions at 3.2 and 3.3 illustrate the public sector malaise very effectively.
Analysis in these terms simply accepts the existing corporate view that the direction of travel is right.
The underlying assumptions for most of the public sector need to be questioned as we seem to have forgotten why we are doing the things that are done.
Why do we want people to be educated properly, treated when they are sick etc? Instead the questions that get asked are how can we do it cheaper, how can we do less of it, are more people less pissed off with us than last year.
We need an honest COBA approach in the public sector if we are ever to do anything other than chase pennies and approval ratings.
Big brother is in the counting house counting out his money.
Understanding Public service
Most public service work takes place in units that are tiny, with budgets that pay for front line staff and a bit of admin ( if they're lucky). There are vey few "back room" workers and most staff are doing the job.
Even big units, such as a major hospital, bear no resemblance to an integrated commercial unit. A hospital can't decide to reduce its heart team and increase its focus on orthopedics because that department uses fewer staff per patient.
Most of the items in your survey mean nothing to a social work team, let alone a street cleaning team.
Public service is about there being a job that needs to be done and finding enough people to do it or at least as close to that as the budget will stretch.
No amount of financial modelling will increase the number of teachers in a school.
No amount of bean counting will increase the number of beans. On the contrary, the more resources that are employed to count the beans the fewer beans there will be in the pot.
Even in the "back room" departments there are generally just about enough staff to do the work.
The idea that public service is inefficient and expensive is a myth.
The reality is that we've had a generation of duplicitous politicians pretending that we can have better public service and employ fewer public servants at the same time.
In reality, if you want your bed pan emptied you have to pay for someone to empty it.