politics, protest

91000 Civil Service Job Cuts

I have a theory. If you want to make a case for outsourcing a public service, the first thing to do is to make the existing in-house service so inefficient that it can barely function. And then blame it on staff-underperformance. Even if you are the minister in charge of running the service.

Photo by Dominika Greguu0161ovu00e1 on

For me the obvious example is the Land Registry which, 20 years ago, provided the gold-standard in public service. Now, any registration application which I make seems to disappear into a bottomless pit. I can’t remember the last time I logged on to the Land Registry Portal, and found that something had been completed. Now we’re hearing it again with the Passport Service and the DVLA. You can cut staff posts, but the work itself still has to be done.

So what are you going to do? Outsource bits to a low-wage economy? Is that going to improve customer-satisfaction. No – you can’t blame it all on covid.

If you want to make an in-house service so inefficient that it can barely function, there are several ways of doing this. Here they are:

  1. Impose a top-heavy management structure. The appointees to these golden posts must not have any operational responsibility. It must be pure management.
  2. Change the ethos of the organisation from one which is customer-focused to something inward-facing, where more time is spent talking about the work instead of actually doing it. Introduce endless reorganisations, where staff spend time re-applying for their own jobs instead of just getting on with it. Invent other distractions such as bonding sessions with flip charts and sticky labels.
  3. Further demoralise permanent staff by appointing some highly-paid consultants to oversee these endless reorganisations. The main qualification for such consultant-appointments should be that they have some personal connection with the minister in charge of the service.
London, peoples vote, politics, protest

For Whom Should I Vote? 2022 Local Election

My postal vote has arrived. My pencil hovers over the ballot paper in front of me. There are a dozen candidates but, apart from the political parties they represent, I do not know anything about any of them. So I might as well be picking a horse. As someone who prefers to back outsiders instead of putting money on the favourite, my horses seldom come in. I have only received one campaign leaflet. The faces of three candidates smile out at me. So maybe I should vote for them. But I’m not impressed by the text. It’s not just the typos. More that it looks cut-and-pasted from something else. Why does it talk about saving me dollars instead of pounds?

Law, protest, society

If You Think You’ve Been Scammed

If you think you’ve been scammed. If you have received debt letters from a mobile phone company you’ve never even heard of. Don’t spend hours of your time breaking your head trying to convince someone in an off-shore call centre. They are not equipped to deal with it. Its off-script. Forget about e-mail. Instead write a FORMAL LETTER to their complaints department and post it recorded delivery. Yes-I know it’s a pain, standing in line in a post office with only one person serving. But is the only way to prove delivery. If you don’t get a reply or can’t find the complaints address, write a personal letter to their chief executive. Make it their problem. It’s all about creating a paper-trail. About covering yourself. About creating the evidence you need to take your complaint to the financial ombudsman if you can’t get a satisfactory response. They can’t ignore that. Just one other thing. Buy a copy of my book, ‘Get Paid’. It contains essential information for anyone being hassled by an unfair claim. It’ll show you what creditors can – and can’t do. Here is the link.

Brexit, business, culture, diversity, history

Imperial Measurements – Letter to Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

House of Commons

London SW1A 0AA

10 February 2022

Dear Mr. Rees -Mogg,

Imperial measurements

I am writing in response to your invitation in the Sun newspaper today to write to you and tell you of any absurd EU regulations that should be abolished.

Although I have never been an ardent Brexiteer, I have always regretted the mandating away of our traditional system of weights and measures over the past half-century, which now only exist in popular culture.  I can buy a 454 gramme jar of marmalade but am not allowed to call it a pound of marmalade.  I can weigh myself in stones and pounds but if I have to complete an official form, I have to convert it into kilograms.  A shopkeeper who sells a pound of apples without using metric scales, can be prosecuted.

For me, our traditional system of weights and measures is just as much part of our national heritage as the many languages, accents and regional dialects, which give colour to our lives.  It should be valued.  Not mandated away.  Although metric measurements have become the international currency, there will always be a place for other forms of measurement for the following reasons:

  • The United States of America, the world’s biggest economy, still works in imperial units.  Even its space programme.  American Tech (which uses imperial measurements) has more influence over our lives than any national government.
  • There are some types of measurement which don’t even lend themselves to Metrication.  I give as my example the measurement of time and angle, which is geared to the Earth’s rotation and dates back to the Babylonians.

The changes which I am now seeking are twofold, namely:

  1. That traders and the customers are given freedom of choice as to the units within which they choose to trade;
  2. That government communications include imperial units alongside metric units to encourage their use.

Thank you,

Yours sincerely

V.Charles Ward