Should the Public Sector Take the Blame for Failure?
Is Public Sector incompetence the problem?
Is our public sector the problem, for example, the NHS? If so, where does the responsibility lie? For instance, should we blame officials, civil servants and expensive consultancy staff? Alternatively, is the truth nearer to the top?
The reality of the economic and fiscal challenges facing us ought to be at the very top of the news agenda, not the spin and bluster of politicians on all sides pretending there are easy solutions, that the promised land is just around the corner, or that they can reinvent the laws of economics. There aren’t. It isn’t. And they can’t. Paul Johnson, director of the IFS
As a matter of fact, Galbraith shared a pithy point of view on incompetence avoidance:
It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled sea of thought. J K Galbraith
How does ineptitude happen? Leaders, Politicians and officials may point fingers with further rounds of blame and routine reorganisations.
Are people who work in the Public Sector as capable as anyone? What do you think?
Delivery and performance are essential. With this in mind, how many leaders and organisations actually work in a productive way at a human level? We can’t escape a natural law
Working culture is a by-product of what is (and what has) been going on. It’s an outcome. M A Logan
Stuck needle … myth or reality
In other words, politicians and politicised officials and advisors aside, is (public sector knowledge, competence and commitment a scapegoat? What makes for inability anyway?
- political agendas?
- denial/avoidance of reality?
- ingrained pettiness and infighting?
- barefaced dishonesty?
Where is the justification for brutalising, undervaluing, misleading or misusing a national asset … people (human capital). In other words, a rich vein of opportunity awaits those who can tap into it and foster the improved use of all available resources.
Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) burst like a bomb in the public sector in the mid-eighties. For one thing, money was tight and harsh measures became the order of the day. In fact, CCT forced redundancy and pain on many middle and senior managers. ‘Equal Misery’ became a cynical slogan.
Ideology drove political attitude. Of course, like many aspects of change, a germ of truth and logic lay behind the thinking. Nonetheless, success needed people who, in turn, needed leadership and the right tools and techniques to do the job. Whatever the rationale, ‘Change’ became the watchword. Likewise, the achievement of good results happened in some places.
Political leaders and public sector failures
Bearing change in mind, in organizations of all sizes, clear facts emerged over many projects and sectors. In particular:
Human potential and the power of goodwill exist… even in scary adversity … even when the ideology behind the scenes is inhuman, harsh and bullying. M A Logan
All things considered, it’s not public sector inability that leads to screw-ups. For the most part, the cause of failure is under-funding, poor leadership, which includes inept politicians, ineffective (or zero) guiding principles founded on flawed ideology and a lack of human consideration. Of course, it’s important to use resources well and work effectively. Ultimately, we need visible fruits of stable ways of working delivered by people free of fear.
Since 2010, we have seen a decade of squeezed funding – resulting in a lack of investment in maintaining buildings – a declining number of beds, insufficient diagnostic equipment, failure to grow the NHS’ workforce in line with increasing service demand, and a failure to invest in community, mental health and primary care. Jonathon Holmes
Shame on our Westminster bubble for their lack of insight and leadership. Shame on our mechanistic ˜Management“ ethos and thinking. People are humans.
Great things will happen if we let them!