Posted tagged ‘value for money’

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…)

Just a little effort

December 1, 2010

Today I got a phone call.  Not in and of itself an exciting event admittedly; in fact it was nothing to do with my day job at all, and was someone who was trying to get through to the rent office to pay their bills.  I work nowhere near this team and have never even encountered them, so had to rely on the vagaries of our intranet and internal phone list to find a suitable person to put them through to, which I did.  I also gave them the number I was sending them to, just in case they got lost along the way.

Normally that would be that and I’d go about my day, forgetting about them as surely as a politician forgets a manifesto pledge.  However, today I decided to take a leaf out of my own book and do something a bit extra.  We have new fangled phones in the office which record the phone numbers of incoming calls, in case you miss them or want to call someone back easily.  So I did a little research, found out a few more rent-related numbers in the borough and called the person back in the afternoon to check whether or not they had got through to someone and sorted out their issue.

Okay, so I got through to an answerphone, but I left a message and my number along with a message to explain that I wasn’t stalking them.  All of this took an extra couple of minutes, but I’d like to think that it might have had the dual benefit of helping that person out and also giving them a good experience of calling the Council.  In the grand scheme of things it was no hassle, and had the added bonus of making me feel like I’d done at least one good turn for the day. (more…)