Friday, 5 May 2017

Public Service.

I've touched on this before, the waste and the sense of entitlement in public services. One of the best examples of this was the case of  Katrina Percy. She was the boss of Southern Health, under fire for various reasons, but mainly a number of deaths during her tenure.

Under fire from the media and others she resigned from her £250,000 a year job and moved to a new consultancy job.....paying £250,000 a year. The consultancy job apparently didn't exist before she moved into it, the assumption being she was moved to get away from the media spotlight, but got to keep her salary. So it appears the Southern Health Trust decided to magic £250,000 a year from the wages pot to stop bad publicity. But not employ extra front-line staff. Quite a skewed sense of priorities there.

In the end after media scrutiny of her second job, she left Southern Health, but not without getting a £190,000 payoff.

I've previously mentioned my dislike of public servants being paid such high wages. But it also shows that the public service managers see the money not as taxpayer's money to be spent wisely and with care, but an entitlement than can be spent and used as they see fit, whether that gives the best benefit for the public or as with six figure salaries, not.

I dislike public bodies being run wholly on the private business model. Sure, running a public service in the most efficient way, making the money go further like you would in a company is a good model to follow. Even making a profit is a good thing as long as it is ploughed back into service itself.

However, management structure and six figure salaries, these are not in the public interest.

The board structure in most public services doesn't have the checks and balances a private company does. A private company has shareholders, who can overrule pay awards if they see fit. They can veto the appointment of board members too. Where is the same brake on excess in public services? Who has the power to sack board members if they underperform or curb pay excesses?

The case of  Sharon Shoosmith (salary a slightly less obscene £130,000 a year) who successfully sued Haringay council after they sacked her when Ed Balls, the then Children's secretary got involved, shows that even when these high paid higher-ups in public service lose the confidence of their board and/or the government, they can't be removed painlessly.

But these are not isolated examples. If you can get the information, look at the salaries at the top of council departments, Police, charities, health trusts and the like. There will be a lot of six figure salaries.

Unlike the private sector they get all the reward for nothing like the risk in the same position in the private sector.

In some cases such as the Rotherham sexual abuse case exposes the lack of real leadership and the ability to actually earn the salaries they get at the top of all of the different agencies all at once.. And at the top of all of these public bodies are people claiming six figure salaries. With very little by way of consequence when they bugger things up.

The abject waste of public funds supplying senior managers in public service with these massive salaries is wrong. All future governments should be working to reduce this excess and introduce checks and balances to ensure those at the top are actually earning the money the public pay them.  And have mechanisms to remove them if they are grossly negligent, incompetent or inefficient.

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