Saturday, 13 August 2011

Probity and Stewardship

The cancer of management consulting and scabrous growth of something called 'HR' has corrupted and distorted  the essential tenet that no one should go into public service expecting to get rich. A pretence that private and public are equivalent has seen greed and self-interest justify the most egregious misuse of public resources. We have seen police bosses struggling to justify officers' credit card bills in the millions of pounds for lingerie, flowers, booze, lavish meals in top restaurants, gifts, electronics, trainers, bling and all the expensive rubbish of conspicuous consumption at the taxpayers' expense. Senior police bosses are resigning in the dozens as gifts, hospitality and inducements from the sleazy and dodgy are revealed. That Paul Stephenson can even have considered a £15,000 gift of spa time as anything but improper and compromising his integrity speaks volumes about the way in which the requirement for personal probity and stewardship of the common weal has been eroded at the most senior levels. 


And it's not only the top ranks of the police. Council and quango bosses such as the vile Andrea Hill formerly of Suffolk or the previous head of the Audit Commission typify the perverted sense of entitlement, narcissism, selfishness and avarice that seem to have become essential 'person requirements' for the top jobs in the public sector. And Parliament, the voice of the nation, has become emasculated, an object of derision and ridicule, and unable to comment and be heard, because our MPs have joined the troughing, abuse and abnegation of probity that characterises all the rest. The filth of unalloyed corruption from the exposure of Parliamentary 'expenses' will linger in the nostrils for many years to come. 


And so today we have the spectacle of the soiled and befouled police bosses and the filthily corrupt political class flinging ordure at each other in a scatalogical dogfight. The poor domestic burglary victim must be wondering this morning how 1,600 looters can be arrested within 48 hours and some 800 brought to court within 72 hours when all he has to show for his ransacked and violated home is a crime number and the vague promise that someone from victim support will phone. Clearly, the police can solve crime when they put their minds to it. But then to be told that those who pay for the police can have no say in operational priorities adds insult to injury; it leaves the message that both the police and political class will deploy full resources to meet a challenge to the central State, but will not do so to better serve those who pay their wedge. And this, too, betokens a failure of stewardship. Despite Hugh Orde's distorted and perverse world view, the police are not the guardians of the monstrous State but the servants of the poor and law-abiding.


Those who come out well from all this, the inspectors, sergeants and police officers who have spent the past week on the streets, exhausted, bruised, and with aching feet and calves, have every right to feel aggrieved that their achievements are claimed by both sides in the scatalogical dogfight. No doubt as their silver-braided capos return to fine-dining and playing politics in the better Victoria restaurants at the taxpayer's expense ordinary plods will join the ordinary public in wondering how on earth we're going to sort this mess out.  

15 comments:

Flyingwellie said...

As Always well put

Woodsy42 said...

Exactly right.

English Pensioner said...

And 45 years ago, as a junior engineer in the civil service, I was given a right bollocking for accepting a bottle of Scotch from one of our contractors at Christmas! Things have certainly changed.

Anonymous said...

Over the old gates of the Central Criminal Court in the Old Bailey there is the legend; 'Defend the Children of The Poor and punish the wrongdoer'

As presently managed neither the police force nor the courts nor the welfare state is defending the children of the poor or punishing the wrongdoer.

I think police management has been infected with managerialism which has not improved the service that the police give.

As regards to who should be Met Commissioner I'm in the almost anyone but Orde camp. It's possible that the Met management is so inefficient that the appointment should be made from outside the UK if necessary.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful stuff, couldn't agree more with your opening line.

Anonymous said...

The idea was to make the public services more efficient by introducing competition and paying top management much more. This would make the public services more like private industry, which was thought to be more efficient.

It turns out not to be true.

john in cheshire said...

Ask yourselves how many of the senior police officers have been on Common Purpose courses? And why is ACPO allowed to exist, particularly with tax-payers funding and without any apparent accountability to those who pay their bills?

measured said...

I bet a number of police found out how unfit they were. Their commanding officers left them not fit for purpose. However, the police must know the difficulties and temptations they face. I thank them for undertaking a very challenging job.

Andrew said...

"The idea was to make the public services more efficient by introducing competition and paying top management much more. This would make the public services more like private industry, which was thought to be more efficient.

It turns out not to be true."

Wow. Are you actually attempting to lay blame on how private companies operate?

No real company could possibly survive if they pissed money away like the state has absolutely no problem at all doing.

No real company offers the inflated wages and pensions of the state.

To claim that the public sector is (or was) more efficient than the private sector is just mind boggling. You really need to take your blinkers off.

Bil said...

"The idea was to make the public services more efficient by introducing competition and paying top management much more. This would make the public services more like private industry, which was thought to be more efficient.

It turns out not to be true."

The problem that you overlook is that they didn't get private industry people in the roles. They simply paid the same civil servants more money.

That does not behove prudence or sense. Just because you pay someone more doesn't mean they'll act any differently to the way they've always acted.

I tried to apply for jobs in the public sector. The overwhelming response - you've got no experience in the public sector.

Hmm. Speaks volumes. Jobs and money for the boys.

Sassoferrato said...

To resolve the problems ? Simple!
For those that are presently employed, and those that want employement in the public sector, they must pass a test, give them a nail and a hammer and see if they can figure out how it works.
For the police, give them all a bicycle.

John said...

Anonymous said...

" The idea was to make the public services more efficient by introducing competition and paying top management much more. This would make the public services more like private industry, which was thought to be more efficient.

It turns out not to be true."

Public services have yet to adopt one crucial aspect of the private sector.

The only way I can pick a different 'supplier' of many services is to move house. I can no more change my council than change my water supplier. I cannot elect to be protected (ha!) by a different police force. And if I want to buy my services privately it comes out of my after tax income.

There are no real penalties for failure and for providing a crap service.

Another reason it didn't work is that we the general public are not the consumer - the state is. The State shuffles the money to the public services so the State is the one who public services are most keen to satisfy and a lot of that now includes spending time collecting data in minute detail and promoting a myriad of political ideals when they should just be cleaning streets, educating children, maintaining law and order, etc.

Anonymous said...

@Bil

I tried to apply for jobs in the public sector. The overwhelming response - you've got no experience in the public sector.

Very true. Public sector jobs have become a sort of "funny handshake" club where the same crap personnel get recycled into better paid and pensioned jobs, or otherwise leave with a million quid and an index linked disability pension. You only have to bring Sharon Shoesmith to mind to get the picture of just how hideously wrong things are in this country.

Coney Island

ordes said...

This piece and the comments that follow are some of the most apposite that I've yet read on any blog. Congratulations to all contributors!

Weekend Yachtsman said...

...Parliament...has become emasculated, an object of derision and ridicule...because our MPs have joined the troughing...

And also because the MP's themselves emasculated parliament by surrendering all its rights and privileges to a foreign power.