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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Changing the culture in govt

Whilst cuts etc are understood, what is incomprehensible is the lack of joined up thinking in the civil service.....

This blog post can be read at

Here's an example. It took me 23 minutes on hold on the phone the other day whilst someone worked out how to email my council tax bill to me. Now that the council has worked out that their system can do this, it should be possible to save money by emailing everyone with an email address rather than posting envelopes which eat up trees and petrol in their delivery. Using existing software, citizens could update their own email address, and confirm receipt of their bill each year.

As a business person, you are constantly looking at ways to cut costs and increase profits. Any entrepreneur who received a suggestion that they could be saving money by emailing all their invoices rather than posting them would accept, consider and apply that way of increasing their profitability.

Suggest such a thing to the civil service and you are immediately threatening the envelope stuffer's job. The assumption being, surely, that a citizen's concern for spending public money is misplaced. However, what is misplaced is the assumption within the civil service that a) it is not our money and b) councils etc should not be run in a business-like manner.

Wastage needs to be knocked on the head and despite the cuts, we will still see wastage of public funds whilst the "thoughtless" culture continues within those organisations who spend our money.

This to me is what #BigSociety should be about. Each of us taking responsibility for the mess this country is in, in whatever capacity we are able to. Exactly the same as we should all be taking responsibility for cutting our electricity usage.


Cyberdoyle said...

what gets me mad is the envelope stuffer needn't lose their job, but by going digital that person could do such a lot. Updating websites, emailing answers to questions, engaging on twitter, facebook etc and providing a service. Which is what they are there for. They work for us.
don't they?

Cybersavvy UK said...

Each of us should find one person in our local council who is switched on. And ask them what they would do to improve the council.........

Mark Holdstock said...

In all of these criticisms of the public sector I'd just like to mention that on of the bodies which has caused me some of the greatest grief over the past couple of years is BT, who are a private company. The fact that in the end I actually ended up recording my phone calls with them, over a matter which has now, thankfully been resolved.

I also have some dealings with a private property management company whose level of incompetence, and serious shortcomings when it comes to communications skills is quite frankly breathtaking.

I have some very good private companies which I deal with, particularly my insurance broker, and accountant, but there are also very good public sector bodies who I have dealt with, particularly the NHS.

I also wonder whether more should be done to question the true motivation of those making the cuts, and why they are doing it in this way.

This article raises some interesting questions, even if you don't necessarily agree with some of the answers George Monbiot is putting forward