"Forcing Mechanism"

Many good ideas about improving the effectiveness and productivity of the Island's public sector.

With my private sector experience hat on I would be a bit doubtful that much will happen unless the public sector has a "forcing mechanism" imposed with genuine intent by our politicians. Will they be far-sighted and brave enough to do this?

As examples this mechanism could be one or a mix of the following:

  1. imposition by the Treasurer of a, say, 10% cut in the total PS budget and a requirement for Department Heads to come back within 4 weeks as to how the revised cake should be divided between departments. Politicians would need a final say.
  2. similar to 1. but impose a staff cut target rather than a cost one,
  3. a requirement that within three months a mixed public/private sector working party will have identified which currently taxpayer funded public services can be privatised, if there are disagreements minority recommendations to be included,
  4. a three month timeline to identify how PS pensions can be funded into the future without the currently planned diversion of general revenue and general reserves to do this - with the understanding that if no alternative is forthcoming pensions will be subject to 'Irish style' sliding scale reduction and tax free lump sums will be limited to £30,000,

No doubt there are other 'forcing mechanisms' that could also be deployed.

Why the contribution is important

​The reason to do this is to focus the mind on getting tough decisions implemented not talking- not destroyed via ongoing debate.

The deadlines and the alternatives if the PS don't come up with the actions must be real and must be followed-through.

This is a version of the New Zealand Government's TINA - there is no alternative - programme of the 1980s that forced the NZ public sector to reform and streamline itself.

by dpfellows on April 17, 2017 at 01:51PM

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Comments

  • Posted by LeanGreen April 17, 2017 at 14:03

    Yes there is too much, 'We're looking at it.' and not enough, 'We will do it.'

  • Posted by Yukiyama April 17, 2017 at 14:26

    IOM Civil Servants have a Cabinet Office if 271 staff "talking about work", all of which will walk away with serious tax free lump sums.

    1 Forcing Mechanisms is a good idea
    ADD
    2 get rid of 200 Cabinet Office staff (not move em round)
    3 tax lump sums

    Then you start seeing real money savings
  • Posted by ManxVoter April 17, 2017 at 15:28

    I do not wish to see a 'forcing mechanism' remove essential public services to keep 12,000 government emplyees in jobs
  • Posted by Yukiyama April 17, 2017 at 15:42

    12,000 in public sector are not all in essential jobs.
    That's the biggest challenge to get it essential services that we can afford.
    Tax 12,000 lump sums looks a fine target for savings.
    A Forcing Mechanism is exactly what's needed.
  • Posted by ManxVoter April 17, 2017 at 16:45

    By all means weed out those not in essential roles
  • Posted by dpfellows April 17, 2017 at 21:40

    12,000? Do you have a source for that number MV? It seems, even to me, to be much higher than I managed to find some time ago in IOMG stats.

    I agree that it would be daft to get rid of services to save jobs - in fact it would illogical - if a service goes so too does the job in my world! I tried to give some examples though of how it might operate - but politicians would need to make sure the outcome was sensible or they'd end up going the way of Mr Gawne...
  • Posted by Yukiyama April 18, 2017 at 10:30

    It used to be a figure of 9,000.

    But it was never sure how part time workers and these on short contracts figured in.

    Civil Servants were between 1,000 and 1,200 ish.
  • Posted by dpfellows April 19, 2017 at 12:47

    I've posted elsewhere on the need for a seismic shift in public sector culture - the comments here add further to that.

    Problems identified as problems more than 10 years ago are still problems. Now it appears the public knowledge of staffing, temp and consultant levels is subject to broad generalisation not monthly facts (like monthly unemployment numbers).

    Significant change will not happen unless someone in authority makes it happen.
  • Posted by Fairforall April 21, 2017 at 18:03

    While I agree with most of dpfellows suggestions item 3 worries me profoundly.
    A few years ago the Moneyweek magazine printed an article from the Guardian about contracting out services in America that had been the responsibility of Governmental departments.

    It was found that in over five hundred cases analysed the costs to the taxpayers had doubled.

    With this in mind and before there are anymore third sector services created we should scrutinise and analyse in detail the performance of such services that we have already.
    The glaring example of a flawed largely contracted service is the appalling state of our potholed roads, poor road markings, unnecessary signage, unusable footpaths, dangerous hedges and walls.
    Potholes, stone walls and overgrown hedges creating a real danger to all road users.
    Care of children is another area that needs scrutinising.
    Contracting out can be more expensive.
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