If we are going to have cuts, let’s start at the top…

Time to reduce MLA's?Photo by: Dom0803

Time to reduce MLA’s? Photo by: Dom0803

We received this letter from a Senior Civil Servant, we are republishing it in full.

There has been significant talk over these past few days on the budget cuts and the impact these will have on the public sector. However before we all jump to our usual stereotypical conclusions I would like to present my views on the issues we now, as a community or society, face as a consequence of the cuts. As a lifelong civil servant I recognise that the public sector in N Ireland is over staffed, and has been for some time now. This is a hangover from direct rule and the “troubles” where successive governments had a policy of “bulking” out the public sector, in all its forms, as a substitute for not attracting or establishing sufficient private sector jobs. So we had our multiple health boards established, along with education and library boards, various agencies and enough quangos to shake several sticks at.

The direct rule government at the time also had a policy of ensuring the public sector offices were, for the most part, used to prop up city centre locations. All of the organisations established needed to be supported, policies for each developed, Service Level Agreements established and maintained, memorandum of understanding developed, supported and reported on. So the public sector, civil service, call it what you like were employed to fulfil these support functions.  Add to this our 26 councils and we have one heck of a public sector to maintain. Then there is the “lie” propagated by parents across N Ireland that public sector jobs were the best jobs to have, and they encouraged their children, particularly those with high levels of educational attainment to join the public sector. “It is a good job and a job for life”. And while our loving parents were not wrong, it seen a constant stream of our top talent moving to the public sector rather than take a “chance” in the private sector and develop their own career and business.

Then along came the Assembly. 108 MLAs, 11 governments departments, the policy giant that is OFMDFM and, as they are all elected representatives of the people of N Ireland, all have to be supported. The 108 MLAs in themselves generate enough assembly questions, oral questions, formal invitations and correspondence to keep a small army of civil servants gainfully occupied.  A significant portion of the public sector is employed just to respond to our MLAs. Several thousand man hours are required each year to support the needs and requests of our elected representatives. The questions they demand responses to are designated as being a priority with deadlines for responses set. However most questions asked could easily be answered by the MLAs themselves, if they bothered to read the legislation they passed, the debates that occurred in the Assembly or the use of the army of researchers at their disposal.

A huge public sector has been created, percentage wise more than Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales, thus providing an imbalance between public and private sector. None of this should be new to our Executive. For years they have known about the public sector/private sector imbalance and they have chosen to do nothing about it, to ignore it, to “kick the can down the road” as some pundits have stated. If they had developed a strategy to reduce public sector posts year on year, while at the same time developed or encouraged private sector employment we would not be in the position we are now. Pressure from the Treasury, who have forgotten that they helped create and support the monster that is now the N Ireland public sector, has been so great the Executive are now faced with only one alternative. To implement the austerity plans that will result in thousands of redundancies.

So what will thousands of redundancies look like? They will not all be civil servants, they will include the likes of teaching staff and health staff. But the cuts won’t end there. They will affect the arts, sports, community development, the young, the old and the vulnerable in society. It will also have a direct and indirect impact on the private sector. Contracts for new builds, such as roads, schools, hospitals will not proceed. When the sums are done and government departments assess the rental cost of city centre locations compared to relocation to Stormont or out of town locations you will see thousands of staff moving from the likes of Belfast city centre. This will impact on the sandwich bars, shops and city centre business that depend on these office workers for survival.

Then there is the thousands of redundant staff, which, by N Ireland standards have a good income. While most will have a decent pension so they won’t be hitting the poverty trap, we are taking about thousands of well-paid jobs out of the economy not to be replaced. Families, who won’t be changing their car or cars, won’t be building that new extension or putting in their new kitchen. They won’t be able to afford to eat out buy the clothes they have been used to. And while that presents small hardships to those made redundant, the likely impact on the private sector will be the closure of businesses and the laying off of staff. There will also be a huge impact on our school leavers, our future workforce.

As I said, I have recognised for some time now the imbalance between public and private sector needs to be addressed. And if we are, as a community, prepared to address this properly we need to take public sector reform seriously.

Do we need 108 MLAs and the machinery of government that has to be in place to support them?

Do we need 11 government departments with the accountants, HR officers, IT staff etc to support each one?

Our 26 councils are soon to reduce to 11, can we expect to see efficiencies in councils.

Do we need 6 Health Trusts?

Do we need 6 education and library boards?

Do we need to the amount of quangos we have, figures from OFMDFM show that in 2011 they cost us £7b per year.

We can make public sector savings and do so in a way that should not impact directly on health, education or learning. However to do so and tackle public sector reform and target our reduced budget into front line services might we need to have a more holistic approach to reform?

If we are going to do this let’s do it right.

 What do you think? Tell us your views in the comments below. We are especially keen to hear from Civil Servants.  Are you fed up of being accused of getting an easy life? Do you see waste in your department? Tell us your stories below. If you want to write a post for us to consider publishing, email it to brian@sluggerotoole.com

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    A Civil servant who blames the Politicians -( nothing new here yes minister )-

    When is this Civil servant going to Blame the billions spent on bombing Iraq for all these cuts-Westminster would rather bomb on Remembrance Sunday than spent the peoples money on the people-

  • chrisjones2

    I agree.This is a small place. We.We need a lean and effective administration.The existing shape and scope of Government in all its guises is horrific.

    Wherever possible it should be single tier with one organisation covering all of NI and with a clear remit to provide services for the entire community not narrow sectional or geographic groups.

    But it will never happen.The mantra in all the parties is ‘too many hungry mouths to feed’.The system has become like a set of leeches living off the community. This starts with the fact that we have too many MLas who need too small a quota to get elected – 3000 first preferences will get you home.This encourages narrow sectarian bases and MLAs who approach to Stormont as glorified Councillors It also encourages local pork belly politics.

    Sweep it all away. Cut the number of MLAs in half. Either abolish the councils completely (we only have 1.7 m players here) or cut the number of Stormont Departments by 50% and the non-operational staff by the same amount. Single tier effective efficient Government

    Clean the jobsworths and incompetents out of the Senior Civil Service.

    Then you will have a start

    I stress though this will never happen unless the cuts cointinue and force on our body politic the reality that we have to pay our way .There are too many Sean’s and Wullie’s who want to spend their days (well-allowanced) arguing over the colour of railings or the names of streets or putting one up to themuns next door.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Pretty certain the average NI civil servant does not have a wild lot of control over the UK governments defence policy.

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    Civil servants don’t have a wild lot of control over the Assembly now a days Brian- ( hence their chop )- but they still whine about it-

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sounds like a manifesto for getting rid of the government completely and allowing the civil servants to run it.

    Though, I agree that the British government missed a trick when they issued their £100m loan by failing to ask the Executive to propose a plan to cut the number of government departments or the number of MLAs.

    That said, getting rid of government departments won’t massively cut the spending bill. If you were to combine, say, the Department of Education with the Department for Employment & Learning, you’d lose a handful of administrative staff, but the same number of civil servants (and IT systems etc) would be required to run the combined whole.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “…would rather bomb on Remembrance Sunday …” Pot-kettle-noir anyone?

  • I have worked in both the civil service and wider public sector beneath management and along side, I believe it’s time to move on from new public management, perhaps strip it out altogether and ditch the customer concept too.

    Firstly new public management, well, this theory has in practice introduced well-paid manager salaries into the civil service and has come at a great expense with little output, secondly the customer concept was introduced to improve responsiveness in the public sector. I think both NPM and customer concept have failed as they have not addressed nor changed the way the public sector operates. It is still hierarchical and organisationally operates to command and control, planning theory. Therefore paying private sector manager salaries has not created a new private sector-type management of the civil service, very little has changed in terms of effectiveness and efficiency except more money is being paid out in management titles, these managers achieve very little, but cost a lot. The organisational structure and role of the hierarchy within the civil service means NPM theory is just that – theory, it doesn’t work so it’s time to remove its practices within the civil service because it would save an absolute fortune.

    Taken from wiki, below is why New Public Management does not work due to the public sector being subject to:

    legal, formal constraints—courts, legislature, hierarchy

    political influences

    top-down authority relations (i.e. the organisational hierarchy) blunting the impact of managers if not negating them entirely should the hierarchy wish to.

    The customer concept, this is where civil servants are forced to pretend that everyone is a customer to improve efficiency and behaviours because “don’t we all just want to be treated like a customer” as the customer experience should be a nice one! Nonsense, behaviours in the civil service are affected by hierarchical arrangements that disempower and disengage staff, the customer concept should therefore be replaced with a cheaper alternative to improve responsiveness, such as employee engagement initiatives, perhaps by bringing together some of the big society ideas and blue Labour ideas around employees on decision making boards of public sector organisations and departments along with senior management. Engage the workforce in decisions so that everyone becomes accountable for the work of the organisation than just managers and senior management, this could improve responsiveness within the public sector much more than any new public management initiative or customer concept initiative.

    Disciplinaries within the civil service, well disciplinaries, these usually almost involve behaviours as opposed to competency failures, I will give you an example, it should be possible to say to your manager “you are one useless lazy bstrd” if you can prove this with facts, so if you have a competency-based outburst towards your manager or staff and can prove they have continually fckd up and this outburst is you at your wits end, you should be applauded you should be deemed a hero by management, than penalised and disciplined. You will get pulled up for losing your cool in the civil service which is unfair if you are totally exasperated with poor performance and can document and logically construct a case that proves this, you will in front of a management-led disciplinary still sadly get pulled up for your behaviours. Your behaviours will be focused on and penalised while all the same the competency based problems you swore over will be left untouched and ignored as that is hard work and too much hassle to deal with. This is another example of why new public management is just a complete waste of money.

    Next up, special leave, paid special within the civil service, this is a blank cheque, a complete and utter blank cheque!

    See here – http://www.dfpni.gov.uk/3.08-special-leave.pdf It says – This policy is about approved time away from work that is not covered by annual leave or sickness absence. It can be a *concession at the discretion of management.*

    This policy is open to abuse, the civil service is majority female, women use this policy to get paid leave based on looking after dependants, usually at short notice, how very handy?! Paid special leave comes with no robust verification checks as to the veracity of the claims of “my child’s not well – temperature, I’ll not be in” and culturally the civil service being a female gendered organisation well a phone call will suffice and no more is ever said about it apart from, i hope your child wasn’t too sick, as a mother “i know what it’s like myself” type thing, so said the female manager in cahoots with the sisterhood. This is a blank cheque for women with kids in the civil service as I have never seen management discretion applied that doesn’t pay out, perhaps some are concerned about discrimination on gender grounds, regardless it is utterly abused and is a free one for women with Monday blues looking a Monday off or time off from work, paid.

    I have loads more ideas swirling around here but that’s a start any way!

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Arise sisters…its emasculation time!

  • chrisjones2

    That shows how much you know.

    Many Ministers have not really been masters or mistress of their briefs including one memorable Minister where Civil Servants bemoaned that it was ‘very difficult’ to explain quite simple concepts to her and that when she didn’t understand her immediate reaction was to lash out and blame them for deliberately ‘misleading’ her.

    She generally had to take everything away so her SpAd Minder could explain it to her and tell her what her line should be

    Mind you, some of the males have trouble walking and talking at the same time too

    And PS the Assembly has no control at all over the Executive.Its supposed to hold the Executive to account ……. in the same way that the Politburo controlled Stalin

  • chrisjones2

    I will bet that MOD have corporately forgotten the Assembly Exists

  • Brian Walker

    Great to see a senior civil servant speaking out even if anonymously.
    His questions are largely rhetorical. Of course we don’t need this size of
    bureaucracy. But the huge task of reducing it requires mature debate leading to an economic strategy. This is the business of government which has yet to develop in Northern Ireland.

    But a big public sector creates consumption and sustains spending
    in the private sector. Wielding a big axe suddenly solves little and creates a
    massive redundancy bill. Moreover a large bureaucracy isn’t the same as “the public sector. “ Fewer bureaucrats should lead to higher spending on front line services, a planned switch of skills from management
    to applied skills such more specialisms in teaching, medicine, science and high tech.

    What else? A bigger private sector boosted by lower corporation tax? That’s a blind leap, without any real sign of a growth strategy. Or higher investment in house building, infrastructure, agricultural development and a sustainable green economy?

    The bureaucracy is currently bloated because real decisions and all implementation is still in in bureaucratic hands because politicians are not trusted, least of all by each other. Stalling over council and education reform exposes the blatant preference for a culture of little sectarian victories over a culture of government. Until this changes, little else will change.

    We do not have properly representative government.
    We are closer to late communism subsidised from outside the immediate state. In the post Troubles era, this failure to take responsibility is intellectually and politically corrupting and blights our development towards a stable society.

  • chrisjones2

    Michael why are you so worried about bombings in Iraq by the USA UK an Arab States and not about the mass murder of your fellow citizens of de Nurth by PIRA? Can you explain?

  • Dan

    Whilst politicians suffer no consequences for their abject performance and delivery, there isn’t a hope in hell anything will change. Offering them the bail out loan was the worst thing that could have happened.

  • Dentrassi

    Hmm. Let’s put this carefully. I ‘work with’ a group in the Civil
    Service. There is a Head, a couple of stressed-out ob/com functional
    managers, a couple of invisible, ineffectual people managers, and about
    50 workers in a 3 level hierarchy. Around ten of those workers are so
    slow; incompetent or disruptive that their departure would make life
    better, not worse, for the rest.
    The actual work to be done
    could be managed by 20 of the remainder – keeping the best, and
    abandoning half of the box ticking, double and triple checking, and
    queries up the hierarchy that is used to protect the system from the
    lazy and incompetent. The 20 kept would not be working any harder than
    before, but their work would be more interesting and
    satisfying.
    But the problem is, you can’t get rid of the
    slow and incompetent. First the cuts hit the contractors and temporary
    staff. If the cuts ever got any deeper than that, then it would be
    recent recruits. The useless lump who has achieved nothing and learned
    nothing in 20 years – his job is safe.

  • Old Mortality

    It has to be an SF woman since the only female DUP minister is pretty bright. So is it Ruane or Gildernew? My money would be on the latter if only because Ruane looks and sounds more intelligent and the CAP is more complex than anything you’re likely to come up against in education.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Sorry the stats dispprove your ‘civil service is majority female’ theory, from:
    http://www.dfpni.gov.uk/gender-review-march-12.pdf

    ———————————————————
    • At 1 January 2010 the NICS workforce totalled 27,399 with an overall gender profile of 48.2% male and 51.8% female. The 2001 census profile of the economically active population was 55.6% male and 44.4% female.

    • In the General Service grades:
    males are under-represented at the administrative grades of Administrative Assistant and Administrative Officer; at junior management grades of Executive Officer 1 and 2; and at middle management grade of Staff Officer;
    males and females are fairly represented at Deputy Principal
    females are under-represented at Grade 7 and in the senior management grades of Grade 5 and Grade 3+.

    • In the professional and specialist groups:
    14 groups have been assessed as having a fair representation of men and women;
    11 groups have an under-representation of men; and 17 groups have an under-representation of women.

    ———————————————————–

    I love the line ‘males and females are fairly represented at Deputy Principal ‘ who are Deputy Principals if they are not men or women, weird Lizard people?

  • Old Mortality

    It’s quite correct to say that Westminster was responsible for creating the indoor relief scheme that bequeathed us such a bloated public sector. Apart from compensating for the loss of employment in the private sector, it was also an attempt to correct perceived imbalances in public sector employment which could not, of course, be achieved by sacking incumbent workers. Thatcher used NI as a dumping ground for her ‘wet’ opponents in the Tory party who had little inclination to curb public spending.

    Westminster had a responsibility to clear up the mess ahead of devolution, especially in more favourable economic circumstances but Labour completely ignored the problem in pursuit of the peace process.

    Now the coalition government is attempting to do so by proxy through imposing a squeeze on the devolved executive which is plainly ill-equipped to deal with it.

    It would be worthwhile looking back at the old Stormont government which was never known for profligate public spending and got by with seven or sometimes eight departments.

    The executive should be setting itself the target of reducing public sector employment to the same proportion of the workforce as it was 50 years ago.

  • Are there not more females than males employed overall? And the cohorts with least males are those with the most numbers employed the AA-EOs in fact that group accounts for 18,000 of the 27,000 employed at the date of the report. If so that’s the vast bulk of the NI civil service which has a higher female representation. Surely your figures also show the NI civil service is disproportionately female given the proportion of those females that are economically active?

    Also the wider public sector which has same terms and conditions and in some cases the same sort of management approaches and initiatives as the civil service has a gender breakdown of 65% female and 35% male, which might explain why there are more males on the dole at the moment seeing as the biggest employer in NI has taken on more females.

    Taken together I am not quite sure if the stats do disprove.

  • Old Mortality back 50 years ago you had the shipyards and other profit spinning publicly owned enterprises they are gone now, if they were still here you might have a point.

    I think public (service) sector work is as a result of globalisation and the inability of governments to have any meaningful impact in the labour market in terms of profit spinning job creation, at least government owned profit making industries back in the day were a way of gainfully employing someone; but now stuck for a way to create employment in the face of a neoliberal globalised world, unnecessarily so I would argue, they – successive governments – give a nod and wink to public (service) sector job creation as a stop gap.

  • carl marks

    in my local council i could name at least 5 mid to high level managers who got their post from the system known as vertical dismissal, they are incompetent but because of the system cannot be sacked so the person in charge of them give’s them a good reference for a promotion to a different department to get rid of them, i hope the new super councils are a opportunity to get rid of the dead wood save us money and improve the service.

  • babyface finlayson

    Caral does not strike me as having a thorough grasp of cultural issues

    I hasten to add the men are generally no great shakes either, in case there any women reading.
    Usually not so I think we’ve got away with it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_hlMK7tCks

  • carl marks

    was the shipyard not receiving massive government grants, and did it not have a rep for time servers?

  • The civil service like politics today is a largely middle class enterprise and institution, looking back over the last 50 years or so you have to ask yourself, do the middle classes really make good policy and really have they been any good at running the country?

    They certainly can’t run a civil service efficiently.

    They’ve been in charge of Westminster too and looking back successive governments have run the public finances into the ground.

    The place is indebted which I think it would be fair to say has come about with the middle classes in charge.

    At least 50 years or so ago when you had the beer and sandwiches crowd attending downing street and being listened to and publicly owned money spinning industries, we the populace at the time had more meaningful employment to look forward to, there was a more mixed economy, but oh no we were told this was too dear to be propped up! And in contrast today we instead simply prop up the upper middle class banks and financial institutions. And no one has drawn the same conclusion for that sector? Well it’s not their jobs they want to put on the firing line is it? Just beer and sandwiches jobs that get junked and dumped in the bin which politically were too dear to be propped up?

  • carl marks

    what the hell is a neoliberal globalised world, you seem to blame everything on neoliberalism, I would love to know what you mean by this!

  • carl marks

    and all this has what to do with neoliberalism, sound like right wing capitalism to me,
    the global market is driven by the greed for profit and the big players are all large multinational,s hardly liberal’s !

  • Well my point is that the globalised economy has seen to it that decent manufacturing jobs have now been outsourced to china and elsewhere, away from Belfast and other places. Very crudely speaking all there is left is finance in London to tax, therefore with little else happening by way of job creation the government is stuck with creating public (service) sector jobs, non-profit spinning of course. So the large public sector is as a result of globalisation and the inability of government to produce policy that can have any sort of impact in terms of creating more labour intensive jobs, as they have gone to other economies with cheaper labour because the government and the EU run the economy in an open way that let’s this happen, as opposed to a more managed and perhaps closed economy eg no more Chinese imports, stuff your Japanese cars type thing build things nationally, you catch my drift? However, if the economy were left to tank around 2007 and reset itself at the expense of the middle class and pension funds, the economy could have been rebuilt from the ground up, than propped up as it was.

  • honest joe

    i have said it before and i say it again. GET RID OF STORMONT. Its the most expensive joke in the modern world. But no-ones laughing except those muppets taking home substantial pay packets at our expense.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Serious question. How do you define a middle class person? And how would you define a working class person?

  • barnshee

    yes

  • ..

  • Tacapall

    Brian thats like asking whats the difference between the personnel dept and the human resource dept. I suppose it depends where you were educated and what type of work you do but either way they are both sets of people are simply human capital that can be utilised or exploited in the pursuit of profit.

  • chrisjones2

    I made it clear that its a personal issue not a gender one …but then we do elect them

  • Jag

    I thought the principle behind having so many MLAs was that even the minor, fringe parties (sssh at the back about loyalist paramilitaries) would have a seat in Stormont and consequently more likely to support the peace process and allow democratic politics to get embedded.

    Of the current 108 MLAs, outside SF, DUP, SDLP, UU and Alliance, there is
    one TUV, one UKIP, one Green, one NI21 and two independents (John McAllister formerly of NI21 and moderate independent unionist, Claire Sugden). In other words, there’s no PUP, UPRG, Eirigi, 32CSM, RNU representation, and society isn’t crumbling as a result (the smaller fringe parties do have representation at local council level).

    So, is the original rationale for such a large government needed? If we only had 50 MLAs (and no TUV, UKIP, Green, NI21), would it make any difference, would it undermine the peace process to any significant extent. I don’t think so.

    But what turkey is going to vote for Christmas?

  • Jag
  • NMS

    Brian, You raise some interesting issues, firstly the number of Civil Servants. There are just 34,000 Irish Civil Servants to carry out a much wider range of functions, e.g Foreign Affairs. The UKNI population is approximately 40% of that of Ireland, suggesting that the NICS is perhaps twice the size required.

    The Public Service generally attracts and holds women far better than the Private Sector because of “family friendly” policies and far less covert discrimination. Cutting large numbers of Civil Servants will particularly hit women.

  • babyface finlayson

    chris

    I know you did.

    I included men in my own comment to prevent any charge of sexism being made against me not you.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Yes carl, “the global market is driven by the greed for profit and the big players are all large multinational’s, hardly liberal’s ” but there are liberals and there are Liberal Democrats. It’s quite instructive to look at the party’s record on these issues, although you will find nothing of this on their all too carefully presented website…………

    http://www.libdems.org.uk/issues

    I’ve always ben very interested in what people do not say out loud.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And hey, this Wikipedia article is says it all much better than me just rabbiting on:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

  • barnshee

    “Whilst politicians suffer no consequences for their abject performance and delivery, there isn’t a hope in hell anything will change”

    “Normally” politicians suffer -eventually loss of seat/job for “abject performance” – (personally I don`t think that`s enough -a further penalty in a range from fine to imprisonment should also be imposed) in NI as you indicate “normal” suffering of consequences for politicians can`t happen-the tribal vote bails them out every time.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Brian, “We do not have properly representative government.
    We are closer to late communism subsidised from outside the immediate state.” A very neat summation! I think myself that belief in the long stop, final authority of the London Politbureau to right things has meant that a great number of conflicting opinions at the time of the GFA were never actually resolved, simply buckled together and expected to work (or not).

    It’s instructive I’ve found to read Dick Kearney’s “Postnationalist Ireland” again at this point and note just how much of the “Rethinking Ireland” chapter has been simply used raw by policy makers.

    And the issue of throwing money at things as a kind of life support for failing, ill conceived policy, and reliance in the implicit belief that people earning decent money here for the first time would simply develop a similar mindset to equivelent earners in, say, the south of England was always going to be a “roadrunner’s feet beating the air” way of doing things.

    The dreary spires and all that………

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But you can only vote them out when the harm is well and truly done! Me, I prefer how they do these things in Switzerland where you can challenge laws and slap down the arrogance of our all too “professional” masters elect.

  • Starviking

    Talking in an overall UK sense, I think that the real reasons for the string of major policy failures over the past 50 years can be dropped squarely at the feet of people who put political philosophy on such a high pedestal that it was insulated from all criticism, especially that coming from reality.

    So we had governments with contrasting political philosophies coming in and changing all the orders of the day, whether or not they needed to change. We saw good political deals getting tossed, like for example the UK providing security to the Persian Gulf. 6 years later – OPEC and the Oil Crisis. Great idea.

    We had nationalizations, privatizations, strikes for jobs that lost jobs, efficiency tarred as the enemy of the worker, command economies and lassez-faire economies. Nothing really worked, as the answer was in-between. A little bit of what you fancy does you good – but we gorged on dogma.

    As for the Civil Service, quite often they had the expertise – but their employment conditions mitigated against applying it. Why correct a minister eager to apply dogma when it could ruin your career?

    As for the NI Civil Service, in a recruitment exercise I took part in in the 90s, groupthink and newspeak was the order of the day. ‘Stakeholder value’ and ‘stakeholder participation’ had to be reflected in any group exercise, no matter how unrealistic that was.

  • Zeno3

    The front page of the Irish News today.

    ROBINSON AND MC GUINNESS OFFICE HAS A WAGE BILL OF £16 MILLION. (a year)

    Also this little gem.
    OFMDEF was unable to say yesterday how many staff they employed.
    And even better..
    The wage bill has soared by £500,000 over the last 3 years despite cutbacks across almost all government departments..

  • Zeno3

    It gets better and better.

    Total Salaries for all 108 MLA’s £5,83 MILLION
    Total expences for all 108 MLA’s £8.38 MILLION
    Wages for the one single office of OFMDFM £16.6 MILLION

    It cost over £2 million more to run the OFMDFM than it does to pay all 108 MLA’s and their expences.

  • Thomas Girvan

    We could get shot of a lot of the Commissioners who seem to be self serving, well paid and basically useless.
    The Equality Commission must have little to do to justify their existence, when they are taking the action against Asher’s bakery.
    Why not get the Attorney General to advise on the case?
    It would maybe save the public purse a lot of money, and it would give the A.G. something to do!