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Good proposals that seem to go a long way to cutting out the cancer of bureaucracy in public services. I like the proposal to review the way social housing is allocated. A lot of families in particular appear to be falling through the safety net. Many councils now adopt the 'view and then apply' approach which should be replaced with a properly ordered chronological waiting list in which priority points are earnt by circumstance.

Yet again education is being used as a politcal football. :(

Just to add, wasn't it the Tories who brought in AS levels?

No it wasn't, Comstok. Promising proposals, we'll see whether it forms into proper policy.

Anything that gives the professionals in these sectors more autonomy and responsibility can only be a good thing.

Get them to do the job they took the vocational calling for and get the bureaucrats of their backs can only be a vote winner.

Looks like I was confusing Advanced Supplementary with Advanced Subsidary, Culture Warrior

Acronym soup or what :D

I like the sound of the proposals. What worries me slightly is to what extent such measures would bring along their own bureaucracy. For example would a
"...Chief Education and Skills officer ...along the lines of their counterparts in the NHS..." not wish to devise targets, requiring statistics for measurement purposes and therefore staffing for that purpose? whilst "Commitment to mixed communities" sounds perilously quangoid to me - with a czar in charge, of course!

Ken, I think it will be necessary to hire a team of troubleshooters to look for where bureaucracy is clogging up public services and to clean it up.

Rather like a team of modern 'Witchfinder Generals' A group of troubleshooters should be set up by the future Conservative government to roam the public services to find and exorcize those bureaucratic demons.

Establish a Chief Education and Skills officer

Provision of 10% equity for social housing tenants after five years good behaviour.

Socialism is indestructible it would appear. Taxpayers to make gifts of housing-equity to those in subsidised accommodation.....let's pay for it by raising Stamp Duty for first-time buyers.

And to have an "Officer" to control Education and "SkillS" whatever the h@ll they are.

This is rubbish. This country has a completely unskilled workforce, it has tradesmen who are basically Journeymen and not Master Craftsmen - it had a City & Guilds qualification that went some way towards making British workers able to work as assistants to German craftsmen - but now it is a farce.

So an NVQ in Childcare is worth 5 GCSE passes and an NVQ in IT is worth 2 GCSE passes......I would say Vocational Qualifications are making a monkeys out of education

Whoever put forward these crackpot proposals obviously cribbed them from a Labour wastebin

On education, did the Report Group also consult with heads and others from the independent sector? Some of these schools are rated as being among the best in the world and they know how to manage schools.
I see one proposal, for instance, is to take on an administrator (or bursar) to take away business administration from the head. That is very sensible.
Was there any proposal to reintroduce grant maintained schools is some form or are the academies rather similar? GM schools seemed to me the quickest and possibly cheapest way to drive up standards?
Was there any debate about excluding potential yobs with no interest in education from comprehensives?

Rather like a team of modern 'Witchfinder Generals' A group of troubleshooters should be set up by the future Conservative government to roam the public services to find and exorcize those bureaucratic demons.

You've obviously never run a large corporation - private or public Tony. You would lose the little dears - they would vanish without trace. I like the "roam the public services" bit - it shows GSOH......but you would not even have a prayer trying that at BP or Shell never mind in government.

Most pubic institutions are in the mess they are because of McKinsey or Bain or PA......after all it was Keith Joseph who got McKinsey to set up the NHS Management Structure in the Heath Government based on their work for Shell.

It was John Birt that let McKinsey restructure the BBC into its brilliant managerialism

"Greater freedom for individual healthcare professionals, in return for
clear accountability for outcomes"

That is meaningless...so if you don't want the Political Commissar persecuting you don't treat old people who might die....freedom to do what ? Prescibe drugs that NICE refuses to pay for ?

Encourage patients to move to Scotland for drugs unavailable in England, or to Wales for free prescriptions ?

What is this freedom ?

ToMTom | September 04, 17:39

"Most pubic institutions are in the mess they are because of McKinsey ..."

I thought it was Kinsey that reported on the pubic stuff ;-)

Tomtom, unfortunately I can't claim to have any executive powers! I certainly see your point though. The ideal way to run anything is with a chain-of-command, thats the way the army does it. That may not sound very democratic but at least there is accountability.

Something definately has to be done about all these Labour appointed gravy-trains. I read that some people running the New Deal are on 500 pounds a week. What on earth could warrant such a salary? I certainly defer to businessmen who know how to run a business successfully. If only we had such types making our public services more efficent.



To help you synthesise your errant perspectives McKinsey would no doubt invite you to kiss their *** - they are very skilled at ripping off public sector clients - they even paid for William Hague to work as sidekick to Geoffrey Howe when he was Chancellor

The ideal way to run anything is with a chain-of-command, thats the way the army does it.

Not necessarily - you assume the military know what's going on. Go and google "The Penrose Effect" - noone controls large organisations least of all the boardroom - they simply haven't a clue.

£500 a week seems reasonable, a McKinsey consultant will run you c. £1000/day + VAT

Tomton, I've bookmarked the Penrose Effect and will have a proper look at it later. On the New Deal, I can't see what is so difficult about running the scheme that warrants 500 a week? Mind you a Sociology lecturer told me she was on 20 pounds an hour back in 1992. Now that definately is money for nothing.

Tony Makara | September 04, 16:15

"..A group of troubleshooters should be set up ... to find and exorcize those bureaucratic demons."

I don't think they would need to roam very far from Ministers' offices. Much bureaucracy (i.e. control from the centre) arises from politicians' desire for a constant stream of facts & figures to show how wondrously well every conceivable facet of a headline policy is working. There is also the impact of EC legislation to be transcribed into domestic law and, of course, gold-plated. The resultant army of bureaucrats are mostly blameless and worthy individuals whose only sin was to apply for or be drafted in to positions necessitated by the demands from above.

Eliminate micro-management by politicians and cease goldplating of EC legislation (or, better still, resign from it!) and you're much of the way towards the objective.


I like the housing ideas. I work in social housing and am currently evaluating the Governments social homebuy scheme which allows tenants to buy 25% or more stake in their homes. It is unaffordable and not attractive to tenants. 10% stake much more affordable.

I've just been reading the Health paper.

Should I say manifesto for the health fascists. It is a dreadful socialist bureaucratic document. Even the Democracy Taskforce Paper deserves more credit and that deserves binning.

Quite frankly the health paper should be ceremonially burned! How much party funding has it wasted?

Perhaps it was the motivation for Ancram to write his pamphlet and the Telegraphs recent behaviour!

I would never have believed that any Conservative would produce a document which in potentially proposes so much waste, bureaucracy and interference into peoples' personal lives. No wonder George Osbourne cannot promise any tax cuts.

Its focus is setting up committees, training courses and so forth for medical professionals and telling us how to live our lives. Nothing about how they are going to increase front line services or improve quality.

Better health services - not a chance - more jobs for the health fascists more like it!

If the party leadership supports this then I want my NI contributions back and I'll make my own pension and health arrangements thank you (some chance!).

I'm off to read the Education & Social Housing proposals - they sounded much better!

What exactly would owning a 10% stake in your home mean? Why would you want to do it- it sounds neither here nor there to me

What a load of tosh: it's nothing more than the extension of the 'managerialist' view of government to another level! We really need to break with the idea that "we can run the engine of government better than the current bunch". It just doesn't work - a 'better' layout of deck-chairs on the Titanic is not going to stop the ship sinking. The only honest answer is less government, less bureaucracy, less targets, fewer 'programs' and - lower taxes. Present it as "freeing the people from the dead hand of government" and we've got a hope. Otherwise we're doomed.

Abolish "AS" levels
How about a more modular approach with a Diploma replacing A Levels and then have GCSE's at 14\15 and reintroduce O Levels for 15\16 year olds at a higher level?

Make it more difficult to get into University and raise Degree standards.

To my inexpert eye, viewing the theory for the first time, it would appear that the Penrose Effect relates more to middle layers of management, though this obviously means that by implication the top management loses control. Quote from one paper:

“The finite capacities of a firm's internally experienced managers limit the rate at which the firm can grow in a given period of time. One empirical implication that follows logically from this line of reasoning is that a fast-growing firm will eventually slow down its growth in the subsequent time period because its firm-specific management team, which is posited to be inelastic at least in the short run, is unable to handle effectively the increased demands that are placed on these internally experienced managers due to increased complexity as well as the time and attention that the new managers require from these internally experienced managers. Consequently, inefficiency in the firm's current operations will follow if the firm maintains its high rate of growth.”

Thus the Effect seems relevant to the enormous growth in the public sector, resulting in it being populated by a large proportion of inexperienced staff, or experienced in other fields but having to grapple quickly with the complexities of Ministers’ latest ‘good’ ideas. Bringing in consultants then further befuddles the situation, as they peddle their particular brand of snake oil thus creating another steep learning curve. The fact that some consultancy staff have little direct management experience themselves is unhelpful in providing realistic solutions rather than formulaic processes.

The only difference I can see between the quote and its applicability to the public sector is that the Penrose Effect does not slow down the latter’s growth!

Agree with abolishing AS's.

I was in the guinea pig year that first had them and from what I've gathered they were initially a success. As the teachers weren't really sure what was required they taught more than they needed to so that we were well equipped for university. Unfortunately, as they got used to what was required they found they didn't have to teach as much. A friend of mine who studied chemistry at Oxford noticed the difference between his year (the first AS year) and later years. While his year had had good grounding in the subject, the later years were having to be spoonfed more.

If the proposed Royal College of Teaching extracts money-for-nothing at the same rate as the BMA and the medical Royal Colleges did for GPs and Consultants, then God help the Education budgets for a new Tory administration.

allows tenants to buy 25% or more stake in their homes. It is unaffordable and not attractive to tenants. 10% stake much more affordable.

Posted by: Cleo |

Oh you're Cleo in Camden involved with some housing trust or other....

Just why should taxpayers subsidise people to buy into social housing ? Especially with such a huge need for such housing....the last thing we should be doing is selling off publicly-funded housing stock so long as local authorities have a statutory obligation to house

Remove the obligation on local authorities before selling such housing then let the homeless look after themselves

""Children from inner-city estates should be "bussed" to schools in suburbs and villages, according to the latest Conservative policy review. Under the plans, half-empty, failing city schools would be shut and their pupils dispersed to smaller, out-of-town schools, which tend to be more successful and have better discipline.""

I can't see this happening. This would cause absolute uproar.

I hate to say it, but if the schools had good discipline before, it will probably nosedive if 25% of its pupils are suddenly sourced from the inner cities.

The good standard of behaviour at some suburban and rural is, as suggested by Mr Hatchet above, probably more to do with upbringing than schooling.

The "commitment to mixed communities" is obviously impracticable unless you tell people where they have to live and prevent people with money spending it on moving to nicer areas.

Why exactly do they want to remove AS-levels? I agree as it happens, but I hope they've got the right reasons.

Under the plans, half-empty, failing city schools would be shut and their pupils dispersed to smaller, out-of-town schools, which tend to be more successful and have better discipline.
The reason that the rural schools are more successful is that the pupils are more ready to succeed, not because the teachers are any better, the failing children more commonly come from failed families. Move them around to schools that have had better results and all that will happen is that the schools with the better results will then have worse results than they had, and lots of money will be spent busing people around - surely this is also another idea contrary to the idea that Local Schools and Hospitals should be largely autonomous - busing aroung on top of holding pupils back a year by dictat from the centre. Surely if anyone was going to be moved around it would either be cheaper to move the teachers around, or move the rural schools to the towns and cities and have far fewer schools. Most children from rural areas have to move around anyway, indeed many go to school in the town or the city anyway.

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