Civil Service’s arrogant attitude to public appointments…

IF you’re one of those sceptical types that believes public appointments are a political stitch-up, your suspicions probably won’t have been allayed by the exposure of this prickly correspondence. It was sparked after the Commissioner for Public Appointments told Stormont’s Public Accounts Committee: I think I could best sum up the attitude that I see on a daily basis by mentioning a phone call that one of my officials took recently from a civil servant who said: ‘well we know who we want to appoint, now how do we get round this code of practice’. It’s the second time this month that Felicity Huston has ruffled feathers – not bad, considering she’s funded by OFMDFM, who are currently embroiled in the biggest appointments row right now.

  • Jo

    It is somewhat arrogant of Ms Huston to claim on the basis of a phone call from someone she refuses to name, someone possibly at a junior level, at an unspecified time, that this is in fact representative of the entire civil service attitude to public appointments.

    Put up or shut up is a reasonable expectation?

    At a single stroke she has alienated an entire group of people who will understandably feel annoyed at her assumption that a group comprising thousands of managers all share the attitude of the alleged caller. If indeed, that caller existed.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Jo You wouldnn’t happen to be a Civil Servant?

    Are you also asserting thst the Commissioner is lying?

  • Pigeon Toes

    Nevin over at nalil.blogspot.com has been examining the arrogant attitude of Civl Servants, towards proper tendering procedures.

    http://nalil.blogspot.com/2008/11/santas-grotto-breaking-news.html

    In another surprise announcement, The Department for Reindeer Development confirms rumours that Santa’s Sleigh has been taken over by the elves.

    A spokesman said “There is absolutely no proof that Santa’s sleigh was ever able to complete all the work in one night, or indeed that it was capable of carrying the amount of parcels needed. You have to think of elfin safety…

  • Alan

    “It is somewhat arrogant of Ms Huston to claim on the basis of a phone call from someone she refuses to name, someone possibly at a junior level, at an unspecified time, that this is in fact representative of the entire civil service attitude to public appointments. ”

    It happens to be her job to raise these issue – and should have been NH’s job to meet with her immediately, rather to respond in such a hectoring manner in writing.

    Is this the first example of the use of the threat of FOI disclosure of an individual to prevent bureaucratic issues being properly investigated?

  • Jo

    Any allegation as to improper attitudes to public appointments would appear not to be substantiated in the Commissioners own report.

    So, there is an allegation being made by someone who, in their own report, cannot find any evidence for what they are claiming to be the case. That’d be a QED. 🙂

  • Pigeon Toes

    Jo were you the one making the call?

    Is that the reason for this. I understand that in a number of departments civil servants are feeling rather uneasy, awaiting the results of another report.

    1.I could name them 2. I do have evidence that they acted without reference to procedures, codes of conduct etc.
    However that would neither be professional or fair.

    Do you still assert that without naming these people publicly, that such evidence does not exist?

  • cynic

    Why do you think that the Commissioner is saying this if it isn’t true? I suspect that it was a clear shot across the bows of Ministers and Departments.

    “Departments were failing to “face down” potential appointees on conflict of interest issues. ”

    If the Head of The Civil Service wants evidence of this he might read a few of the reports his own Audit Office have recently produced on various Quangos in NI. There has been a major breakdown of governance in some areas with blatant conflicts of interest and appalling mismanagement of public money. Saying ‘whoops’ and promising to fix it again and again just will not wash.

    In appointments the whole process is open to question. Even where there is a proper selection process all those “considered suitable” go to the Minister who then decides who to appoint. If you can walk and talk and scrape past the entry barrier you go on the ‘suitable’ list and then the Minister can appoint you. Not necessarily on merit. Not necessarily the best performer.

    So, in Northern Ireland guess who often gets appointed? Cronyism is bad all round. It is unfair, discourages good people from bothering to apply, we get poorer management of public services and a lack of independent scrutiny. Money is wasted and eventually it fosters corruption.

    She is right to challenge it.

  • Jo

    ..there is some higher authority than an elected Minister of the Crown to make a public appointment?

  • Pigeon Toes

    “there is some higher authority than an elected Minister of the Crown to make a public appointment?”

    What was that cynic about “governace” and “croneysim”?

    But sure if Jo thinks it’s alright, then it must be.
    He/She is an esteemed civil servant and better placed to know about these things than us “Taxpayers”.
    (Jo you might want to check where your lovely salary actually comes from-which logically makes us your boss)

    A group which I am sure Jo has no allegiance to, in the pursuit of squandering their money

  • Pigeon Toes

    “there is some higher authority than an elected Minister of the Crown to make a public appointment?”

    What was that cynic about “governance” and “cronyism”?

    But sure if Jo thinks it’s alright, then it must be.
    He/She is an esteemed civil servant and better placed to know about these things than us “Taxpayers”.
    (Jo you might want to check where your lovely salary actually comes from-which logically makes us your boss)

    A group which I am sure Jo has no allegiance to, in the pursuit of squandering their money

  • Pigeon Toes

    Jo,
    Are you prepared to tell us all yor identity, what Department you work for and your areas of responsibilty?

    Until then there is no evidence that you actually exist…..

  • Pigeon Toes

    Now I wonder if Mrs Huston would like my evidence for her report – just to make Jo happy of course…..

  • Mcgreggor

    I think the Commissioner would be delighted to hear from you Pigeon Toes. Contact details on http://www.ocpani.gov.uk

  • Llamedos

    I always got the impression that the dear Flickka had become a professional long term quango cat. However if she shows some character and is a true cynic and sceptic all power to her elbow.All parties are guilty of it and their policy is to keep all members of the awkward squad at arms length at all costs. It would upset the New Unelected Establisments cosy and lethargic well paid existence.Their’s is an omelette free zone where all the hangers on clutch the top of the greasy pole and lack the cahones to smash a few eggs. All they have to do is to give all the thicko Mla’s scripts to painfully labour over, whilst reading them out and this joke of an assembly rolls on,whilst the MLA’s compliance is bought with allowances, inflation proof pensions, indecent severance terms and continuous trips and piss ups at the taxpayers exspense. It makes you as sick as a very dead parrot. Lets hope the bold Flickka starts a crusade against all these money grabbing under achievers; who enjoy multiple pay packets and expenses in return for little education and real interest in this world’s affairs. It’s always the continual bleat ” No One Understands the Ulsterman’s politics and anything radical is too early at this “particular moment of time” why not say “NOW” and do something constructive and save the planet and the poor Hansard Writers’ fingers.NOLI ILEGITIMI CARBORUNDUM .

  • Pigeon Toes

    Mcgreggor,
    So were the NIAO…

  • Pigeon Toes

    Would you believe that even when there is an “investigation”, some departments allow those being “investigated” to remain in post?

    They also allow these individuals to answer FOI requests!