“they keep giving a pretty devastating indictment of public administration”

In the Belfast Telegraph, David Gordon reports the comments of Labour MP Ian Davidson who sits on the Public Accounts Committee and is less than impressed with Northern Ireland’s public administration at government department level.

“I think there is an extent to which the Troubles in Northern Ireland are used by some officials as an alibi to excuse themselves from taking hard decisions. There is an extent to which Northern Ireland is a bit of a sleepy hollow and that best practice is not being followed.”[added emphasis]

From the Belfast Telegraph report

Mr Davidson told the Belfast Telegraph he was “disappointed” that problems were repeatedly being exposed by the committee.

He added: “I think there is an extent to which the Troubles in Northern Ireland are used by some officials as an alibi to excuse themselves from taking hard decisions. There is an extent to which Northern Ireland is a bit of a sleepy hollow and that best practice is not being followed.”

Referring to his Troubles “alibi” comment, Mr Davidson said: ” Whether or not it is justified on the basis that probably a lot of officials there have had a hard time keeping the basic services going, never mind anything else, is really for others to judge.

“I’m not setting myself up as a commentator on Northern Ireland.

“These reports keep getting produced. The fact that they keep giving a pretty devastating indictment of public administration is something that people in Northern Ireland will have to take account of, in my view.

“They’ve got to decide what type of discount they are prepared to allow on the basis of the Troubles.”

, ,

  • mnob

    The reason civil servants wont make decisions is because they are scared of being hauled in front of the public accounts committee. Its easier to do nothing than be blamed for doing something wrong.

    But the question is – who is at fault – the civil servants for not wanting to risk their careers or the PAC for creating a climate of inactivity?

  • Nepotism, to those talentless people, who, by virtue of their affiliation, get positions that they are certainly not qualified to hold.

    If ability was the benchmark, rather than political divide, then there may be better management.

    The fact London bails out NI when the coffers run dry does not encourage better management.

    Is £1.5 billion a year enough to provide adequate sevices?

  • Cynic

    errrrrr …………… Civil Servants taking decisions?

    Isn’t it usually Ministers who take the main decisions?

    Civil Servants are then usually only responsible when the decisions are the wrong ones!

  • IJP

    the civil servants for not wanting to risk their careers or the PAC for creating a climate of inactivity?

    … or the local politicians who should be making the decisions preferring to ramp up their tribal bases to elect them to truly gross inactivity?

    At a debate yesterday Alex Attwood said he thought the SDLP would make a comeback and he’d leave (fellow panellist) Tom Elliott to speak for the UUP and its chances. In other words, the SDLP cannot speak for Protestants and will not seek votes from Protestants. What kind of democracy is that?

    If you continue to define your core voter groups on the basis of the divisions that we should be trying to heal, you get nowhere. That is the real problem.

  • I notice there’s another PAC report out today on MAGNI – pretty scathing, as usual.

    I should probably just change my blog name to NISucks. 🙂