Monday, 7 December 2009

Hit the week running

I'm on an early train, heading for London for meetings with Intellect followed by PiP (Partners in Professionalism). althuogh having just checked my e mails they may be the other way around - some diary juggling to do there!
Anyway, reading the Times this morning there are some things in the pre budget numbers from our esteemed leaders that seem not to add up! See this article  ( Brown targets civil servants for £10bn efficiency savings) in today's Times. Well, apart from our civil service colleagues apparantly about to get it in the neck (Brown to 'slash' the cost of senior civil servants), there is a new found appetite to slash and burn through the quango wilderness that they have spent so many years nurturing. It is here where the numbers get weird (or even more weird than those we are becoming used to). I haven't got a degree in maths or accounting so I could of course be wrong, and I am sure, if that is the case, it will all be made clearer by our (privately educated, Scottish) chancellor on Wednesday (couldn't resist it).

So, quango's - and I quote: 'The abolition of 123 of the 752 quangos, delivering a saving of £500 million from the £82 billion a year spent on [them]' OK so the numbers are big, and therefor have the capacity to confuse, but, 123 out of 752 equates to 16.3% of the number of quangos - that's 16.3% of them for the chop. This will, we are told save £500 m from a spend of £82 bn which, if I am not mistaken, represents about 0.6% of the total spend on said bodies. Hmmmm...what's going on?  Either they will be picking on some  very (very) cheap quangos to obliterate (avg cost £4m p.a. each) hoping that people will focus on the actual number dissappearing rather than the actual scope of the savings or it is pure spin and the apparently dissappearing quangos will just be 'reassimilated' (have I just made that word up?) into the remaining 629, and who will notice the extra cost in the remaining £81.5 billion - which  they are still planning to spend on these unelected, virtually unaccountable organisations? Still, I'm probably wrong, because unilke our chancellor, I was educated at state schools (I promised myself I'd let that drop, but it is labour that seem intent on the class war thing).

Oh, and if the the broadsheet draft predictions (leaks?) are correct it could be goodbye NPfIT,our hitherto aggresivley defended, multi billion pound (late running) health IT system. And to cap it all Mr Liam Byrne will be marching thousands of civil servants (probably against their will) out to the provinces - possibly on push bikes (the middle managers) or, the more highly paid one's, in Prius's (what's the plural of Prius?). They wouldn't be trying to, er, make some desperate changes before an election would they?  Then set about persuading us that this was their plan all along? Of course it's easy  to knock those in power, and I really do not envy them, so it is probably worth saying that, whichever school they went to, the other crowd, although I suppose I should acknowledge there are another relatively serious party -so crowds, are not setting the pre election world alight with any knock you down policy ideas...

Anyway, tommorow it is off to Birmingham for one of our managers meetings. These are 'informal' get togethers of the Socitm managers from our various commercial and member service areas to try and ensure a consistent and coordinated approach across the Society and a forum to discuss common concerns and opportunities. I'll let you know later if we acheive that! Then it is back to London for a Commercial Board meeting on Thursday and up to the 'toon' (google it if you're not sure) for Socitm North East on Friday..after which we will undoubtedly adjourn to the Strawberry (you gotta live up there to understand). That's how the week looks standing at this end of it, not sure what it will look like gazing back on Friday.

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