An Abject Apology

Sunday 23rd June

After yesterday’s post regarding the lack of competence in some highly paid women in the Care and Quality Commission I feel I should abjectly apologise.  It is perfectly possible that the debacle we are witnessing was nothing to do with the gender of the people running the Commission at all.  It may just be down to a general level of incompetence anyway, and the fact that they were women could be completely irrelevant.

One does wonder however how these people get presumably head-hunted , selected and employed in the first place.  There appears to be a happy coterie, a cosy network, a jolly band of professional public servants who simply pass jobs around between them.  We are still in the golden age of the Quango, and despite successive Governments ‘outsourcing’; and creating Agency upon Agency where mere Civil servants existed before, there seems to be no change in the ethos.  There used to be a tendency, especially prevalent in the Civil service, but also in large Private concerns, that people would be promoted until they reach a level of incompetence, where they would be stuck, rising no higher but unsackable and undemotable, often side-lined or simply given less and less responsibility until they took early retirement.

But now with each successive Governments re-organisation of departments and hiving off and reviewing and renewing there is a constant churn of ridiculously highly paid people whose only qualification is that they have somehow managed to be in a ridiculously highly paid semi-autonomous public-sector post before.  There seems to be no requirement to have done the job well, simply that you are a known name, and therefore some sort of safe pair of hands.  And these people are very clever, managing every so often to get themselves made redundant with large pay-outs, only to walk straight into another job, often in the same sector.

But it is also true in Corporations, where the same faces pop up time and again on Boards, as Non-Executive Directors, as Chairmen, or as CEOs even.  And often they have both Golden Handcuffs and Golden Handshakes on starting and leaving.  As they and their friends are both the appointees and the deciders of salaries there seems nothing we can do to stop this financial merry-go-round.

It’s a bit like the England football manager, for some absurd reason the powers that be think they have to offer a salary of several millions a year simply to achieve mediocrity.  Why not drop the salary levels of all these jobs, public and private, to say three or four times average wage.  You would get hundreds more applicants, and quite probably a far better end result.

Grab your pitchfork folks – it is time to clean out the stables.