In which I revisit my Christmas wishes …

I suppose its my thorough indoctrination in public sector performance management that makes me want to measure progress against objectives. It seems a little like overkill to do this with Christmas wishes but I like to think I am a thorough sort of chap.

Here’s my progress report to date –

… public servants get the recognition they deserve for helping to keep society glued together …

Well, there’s not much sign of this so far really. The evil bureaucrat rhetoric was being trotted out again yesterday in the latest Big Society boost. Far from being the glue that keeps things together public servants are now often seen as the treacle that gums up the wheels.

Get rid of them and the machine can really get motoring. All I can say is watch out for the wheels flying off when it reaches terminal velocity. It will not be pretty.

… truthfulness becomes a defining characteristic of our national life …

As MPs and Lords begin to be convicted for their expense creativity you might think that truthfulness is on the up. Well I’m not so sure. As cuts begin to bite and threaten cherished projects like The Big Society watch the intensity of the blame game deepen.

The public will soon lose patience with endless repetition of statistics and claims of who is or isn’t to blame. My experience of electors is that they live in the now. Macroeconomic theorising means little if your valued service faces being closed.

One of the interesting things emerging is how attached people are to all sorts of public services that many of them never go near. People get misty-eyed about libraries, forests, community centres, leisure centres, museums and the like.

I cannot help but be reminded of the Not the Nine O’clock News skit by Rowan Atkinson as the vicar during a recording of Songs of Praise lambasting his suddenly very large congregation for all the years of ‘no-shows’. All rectified by the appearance of s few TV cameras.

Part of me cannot help but wonder why changes to welfare entitlements that affect many of our most vulnerable fellow citizens seem to attract less mainstream attention than a library closure. (And I’m a bibliophile.)

That’s the problem with electorates though. Whatever politicians may want voters get to choose what it is they care about.

… emotional intelligence becomes a valued trait in the workplace …

This has been a bit hit and miss in its delivery. Not through malice or any lack of interest but simply through the sheer pace and scale of events. The sense I have from talking with corporate departments and with other fellow travellers on the road to redundancy in other organisations is that people are close to being overwhelmed. Vacancies are being frozen. Outside help is being provided from agencies or short-term contractors. Organisations are beginning to lose their sense of self.

In these circumstances its easy to see how it’s hard just to keep up with statutory requirements let alone adding an extra dimension of humanity to these processes. And we’re now dealing with mass redundancies in public and voluntary sector organisations. The sheer logistics of doing these in a careful and thoughtful way is daunting just to think about.

Of course many of those having to manage the process are already on their own journeys to redundancy. It’s easy to forget that. I know I have been guilty of that myself. I cannot remember a time when I have met so many people who seem so physically and emotionally tired. Actually not just tired. They’re exhausted. Exhausted people make poor decisions. It’s hard not to be anything other than gloomy about the prospects for this wish during the rest of 2011.

… to be wrong about the prospects for the economy …

I’m not sure things look any brighter here really. The GDP figures for Q4 of 2010 were bad. My experience of being out and about since the start of the year is that people are drawing their horns in. And who can blame them? We certainly have shifted to an austerity household budget.

There is some evidence that manufacturing is doing well helped by a weak pound but overseas demand is pretty patchy. In the meantime planned public sector job losses here are already greater than organisations like the Local Government Association were predicting.

It’s hard to see where significant growth might come from particularly as the government has set its face against any public sector stimulus. Of course we can take some pride from the performance of our financial sector. Even our banks seem to be able to take advantage of relatively cheap money and a state guarantee to create profits and big bonus pools.

Makes you proud doesn’t it?

My final Christmas Wish was that al readers got to have a wonderful and joyous Christmas. Seems a long time ago though doesn’t it?

Still cheer up there are only 313 days left to Christmas 2011. Get Easter out-of-the-way and I’m sure we’ll begin to see Christmas merchandise hit supermarket shelves.

About redundantpublicservant

A redundant UK public servant looking for work, sharing his experiences and providing a space for others to do the same.
This entry was posted in A Christmas wish, bad news, Big Society, bureaucrats, Christmas, CSR2010, Good Society, political debate, Redundancy, war on the deficit and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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