Posted tagged ‘productivity’

Productivity in the Public Sector, or value?

March 29, 2011

Are we productive or valuable?

We continue our week with a brilliant guest post which hit our inbox.  If you have something about local government you’d like to share with the world e-mail it to us at welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com, but not until you’ve enjoyed this.

One of the most corrosive “narratives” around at the moment in the media, and amongst the commentariat, is that the public sector is unproductive.

The private sector creates jobs, promotes growth, and pumps needed cash into the economy. The public sector is parasitical, taking a cut of the economic wealth of the nation and siphoning it off to support a never-ending tide of bureaucrats and middle-managers, none of whom are involved in front-line service delivery – yet who are adept at feathering their own nests.

A lot of commentators are keen to argue that such people are inherently unproductive. They are the antithesis of entrepreneurs – dynamic go-getters with the will to succeed and the knowledge that if they fail, the buck stops with them. And they’re the polar opposite of the chief executives of big corporations – who stand and fall by the support of their stakeholders, who have the freedom to take their money out and invest elsewhere if they’re unhappy with the direction of the company in which they have a stake.

Simplification? Quite possibly. But it’s a compelling argument if the only public services you see day-to-day are rubbish collection and street lighting. And it’s an argument born of enraged impotence – firstly, at the injustice of a world where the richest spoils go to those who do the least to earn them, and secondly, at the utter unaccountability of these pen-pushers in their non-jobs – even though, as the refrain often goes, “we pay their wages!” (more…)

Advertisements

Clocking off from clocking in

February 17, 2011

Time for a change of approach?

I had a chat with my boss the other day.  It revolved around the amount of time I was working and my penchant for keeping a track of this by completing a timesheet every day.  This timesheet was a simple excel spreadsheet which tracked the numbers of hours I’d worked each month as I filled out my starting, finishing and lunch times.  Being a responsible sort I’ve got these dating back to my first week at the Council, and can pick out everything from long lunches to 72 hour weeks (rare but draining).

The chat with my boss wasn’t about seeing mine however; she told me to stop completing them.  Apparently I’ve now reached a level where the exact number of hours I work is far less relevant than the actual work I complete; effectively, I’m judged on outcomes not hours.

Since this chat I’ve stopped filling in those little boxes and noticed something: I’ve been doing slightly longer hours and feeling better about doing so.  Whereas before I would try my damnedest to stick to my 37.5 hour working week, maybe adjusting my start or leaving time by 15 minutes or so and clock watching as either rolled around, now I find myself arriving at and leaving the office when I’m happy with my days work.  And I feel better for this.

I get the distinct impression that I’m not alone here.  I have in all but writing been running my own team like this for some time, asking them to do their weeks work whether it takes them 30 hours or 45.  The relaxing of monitoring them and having them stick to strict times for starting and finishing has made them a more flexible and responsive team, happy to work longer when needed safe in the knowledge that this will come round to reward them when times aren’t quite so busy, or when they have personal appointments to be kept.

To put it simply, I trusted my staff.  I trusted them to understand the work they were being asked to do and to get it done, and I trusted them to be responsible about their working hours. (more…)

How rubbish are we?

September 22, 2010

The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.  Ronald Reagan

That quote by the former Most-Powerful-Man-In-The-World™ is one that has been playing on my mind ever since the Panorama report earlier in the week, which we commented on here.

What I want to ask now is whether or not the ex-actor might or might not be on to something?  Are the brightest amongst us all ambitious executives climbing the greasy private sector pole, or are there plenty of razor sharp minds plying their trade for the good of their fellow man? (more…)

Productivity and Local Government – 2

September 10, 2010

Recently, we highlighted the work of the helpblog in debunking a report into Local Government productivity. Well, the author has posted a follow up which we thought we should bring to your attention, right here.

One thing to note; although the research that found it’s way into the papers in August is flawed this does not mean that local authorities don’t need to improve their productivity. In fact, with massive budget cuts coming increased productivity is going to be one way of ensuring the continued delivery of high quality public services.

Still, it’s always nice to stick a couple of fingers up at some big-headed consultants!

Another fine example of blogging

August 27, 2010

NB: Updated on 8/9 to remove bad grammar.

My colleague recently started a series of blog entries detailing other blogs out there that we think are worth looking at. First came the local government worker and today I thought I’d add my twopence worth.

This blog is called helpgov and came to my attention because of its superb dissection of the recent story about local government unproductivity.  

The Blog’s pretty good all round and in particular I would read the discussion of alternatives to staff redundancies as budget cuts hit locla government which can be read here.

We’ll try to provide other sites and blogs to follow over the coming weeks so if you have a suggestion please e-mail us at welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com

M