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uncle_monty

Senior Civil Servants Yet To Tighten Budgets

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The public sector still doesn't get it. Despite rumblings from all 3 main parties that cuts are already "baked in", the civil service assumes that it will all be ok.

As myopic as BTLers and sellers holding on for 2007 peak in a "couple of years".

The next parliament will be bloody :o

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/44e212f2-69bc-11...?nclick_check=1

Senior civil servants fail to tighten belts

By David Fickling

Published: July 6 2009 03:04 | Last updated: July 6 2009 03:04

Public sector directors are not facing up to the probable need to rein in spending, despite the UK’s enormous fiscal deficits, according to a study.

Three out of five senior civil servants were looking for ways of increasing rather than decreasing their departmental budgets, such as by charging for services or increasing grants from central government.

That sits uncomfortably with government Budget promises to make £9bn of efficiency gains from public sector spending by 2013.

Just 15 per cent expected to change the strategies of their departments over the next year in response to the downturn, a survey of 20 senior civil servants in six countries by accountants KPMG found. This compared to more than 60 per cent in both Australia and the US. Respondents in the UK were the least likely to think the recession would have an effect on their budgets, and the least likely to be rethinking their long-term strategies. While every other country surveyed had clear priorities for how the government could help recovery, the leading response in Britain was “don’t knowâ€, at 30 per cent.

Forty five per cent of respondents said either that they did not know of any lessons to be learned from the recession, or that no lessons could be learned. The study was conducted in May.

The findings should “sound some alarm bells†about the need for reform, according to Alan Downey of KPMG. “In Britain we seem to be facing probably the most serious financial pressure of any of the countries surveyed, and yet we seem to be responding with the least enthusiasm and concern,†he said. “People have been used to a decade of substantial real-terms public sector growth, and so it’s a bit like turning round an oil tanker.â€

The UK faces the most acute deterioration of its public finances of the six countries surveyed by KPMG. The budget deficit is to swell from 2.6 per cent of GDP in 2007 to a predicted 10.9 per cent in 2010 – more than double the average of the others.

Concerns about the deficit’s size and duration have led to splits between public officials. Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, in June told the Treasury select committee that the government may need to shrink the gap more quickly than it is planning.

Edited by uncle_monty

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I work in the public sector (front line NHS). For some months now I've been trying to get the message across to the managers at all levels that there's a massive financial iceberg heading right our way & that we need to start making plans RIGHT NOW about how we're going to provide any sort of meaningful service with a hell of a lot less £s. After all, people get sicker in recessions, so demand will go up as resources go down...

I have been consistently greeted with blank looks of incomprehension worthy of a heavily medicated long stay ward in a Victorian asylum. They really, really don't get it. At all.

Although I suppose that's why they can only find paid work in NHS management, which is just like smoking dope. The more you suck the higher you get.

Edited by Shrink Proof

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Guest KingCharles1st

Got mandy written all over it-

For the population to see what is going on, will knock the stuffing out of Labour.

Lets face it- everyone knows what HAS TO BE DONE

But who exactly is looking forward to it being DONE TO THEM?

I reckon that all the cost cuttign will be done over the summer recess -when workplaces are weak with holiday absecences, there is no Parliament sitting etc etc. And then we will see cost cutting as part of some whacky (with strangely written wordings) manifesto to be shoved under the populaces' nose in the early Autumn

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Guest sillybear2

Senior civil servants get their gongs and fat pensions and retire pretty early, there's every chance the sort of people in charge of many departments right now have never directly experienced a recession, let alone a near depression, so are absolutely clueless about how to respond. Everything they've done in their career has been how to spend increasing sums of money, so asking them to do the opposite is probably an impossible task. I'm not optimistic, it looks increasingly likely IMF will have to do the job for them.

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I work in the public sector (front line NHS). For some months now I've been trying to get the message across to the managers at all levels that there's a massive financial iceberg heading right our way & that we need to start making plans RIGHT NOW about how we're going to provide any sort of meaningful service with a hell of a lot less £s. After all, people get sicker in recessions, so demand will go up as resources go down...

I have been consistently greeted with blank looks of incomprehension worthy of a heavily medicated long stay ward in a Victorian asylum. They really, really don't get it. At all.

Yup, know that feeling. My lot have just decided to start on a stupidly expensive change to their service to start in mid 2010 and finish in 2012, resulting in much the same service to patients (they won't notice one way or another) but vastly increased long term costs. I suggested that in 2012 we were going to see budgets slashed to unrecognisable ribbons and they just shrug their shoulders, laugh at the doomsayer and continue to plan on how best to spend the money.

A sensible trust would be, right now, cutting some service waste, making as many efficiency savings as possible and spending as much as they can on long term infrastructure updates, but only if they can be completed, guaranteed by Jan 2011.

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Shrink and Rafar... interesting posts. To play devils advocate somwhat, do you think it's possible that pre-cut planning is actually going on but kept well and truely secret? 'NHS cuts' is, for politicians, a close second on the 'Things We Don't Want To Come Out Before They Happen' list to 'World War III Starts on Wednesday Evening', so I would presume that any such planning would be kept as far away from anyone who'd leak it as possible. This counts doubly so for Labour at the moment, as it looks like they're positioning to fight the next election based on continued spending.

For what it's worth, I'm not standing up for your management at all (by the sound of it, they actually are a bit shit), merely considering how I'd try and play it if I were the one passing on news of reduced budgets to trust managers - "If the unions get a whiff of this before the General Election, you're out of here".

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I work in the public sector (front line NHS). For some months now I've been trying to get the message across to the managers at all levels that there's a massive financial iceberg heading right our way & that we need to start making plans RIGHT NOW about how we're going to provide any sort of meaningful service with a hell of a lot less £s. After all, people get sicker in recessions, so demand will go up as resources go down...

I have been consistently greeted with blank looks of incomprehension worthy of a heavily medicated long stay ward in a Victorian asylum. They really, really don't get it. At all.

Although I suppose that's why they can only find paid work in NHS management, which is just like smoking dope. The more you suck the higher you get.

No manager in the NHS would want it shown that the service can be provided for less. The way its done is to always ask for more knowing that you will get a proportion of it. If you ask for less they still give you a proportion of what you ask for.

I made this mistake when our department was computerised. I went around with the IT guy and carefully worked out what was the least amount of hardware we needed to do the job. We came up with a minimum figure and asked for this only to have it cut by a third without anyone even asking how I reached the figure I had.

I gave up with any sort of co-operation with management after that.

The converse is that money is often left over at the end of the year. We get told to put in bids for equipment on about 31st March. We are wise to this now and have costings already worked out so put a bid in for stuff we often don't need. If you dont put in a bid the money is just taken away - you can't bank it or carry it over for something you do need.

Edited by dr ray

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Shrink and Rafar... interesting posts. To play devils advocate somewhat, do you think it's possible that pre-cut planning is actually going on but kept well and truly secret?

Hardly likely. In my case, only a month or so ago I went to a presentation about a new unit. You know the sort of thing, all CAD pictures of happy, shiny people walking around outside pastel-shaded images of those Identikit public sector buildings that DEFRA use as grain stores, the MOD use as fall-out shelters & the NHS use as psychiatric wards...

"Er...so, given that we are only just in Act 1, Scene 1 of The Mother of All Recessions, which will inevitably lead to public sector spending being assaulted with a fire-axe the morning after the next General Election whoever wins, have you given any thought as to how you're going to staff & run this place?"

Suffice to say that I was given the kind of reception that I believe would have been given to a streaker at Queen Victoria's funeral.

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Heard some union idiot on the radio this morning saying the public sector would not stand for pay cuts. The private sector has suffered big cuts in income... we pay the public sector's salaries and pensions... so they are going to have to take a hit too. Expect loads of strikes and other leftie bull$hit no doubt..

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No manager in the NHS would want it shown that the service can be provided for less. The way its done is to always ask for more knowing that you will get a proportion of it. If you ask for less they still give you a proportion of what you ask for.

I made this mistake when our department was computerised. I went around with the IT guy and carefully worked out what was the least amount of hardware we needed to do the job. We came up with a minimum figure and asked for this only to have it cut by a third without anyone even asking how I reached the figure I had.

I gave up with any sort of co-operation with management after that.

The converse is that money is often left over at the end of the year. We get told to put in bids for equipment on about 31st March. We are wise to this now and have costings already worked out so put a bid in for stuff we often don't need. If you dont put in a bid the money is just taken away - you can't bank it or carry it over for something you do need.

Exactly right. It's perfectly rational to act as if there's still money - you're more likely to get more than you'd otherwise get.

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KPMG sent a questionnaire to 20 people in May. With that many people you don't even know they got the question wording right. You don't know who they sent it to beyond "senior civil servant" which can mean anyone from Sir Humphrey to a shift supervisor at the DVLA office.

You get that this is KPMG bidding for your money right?

You think this "study" was ever in danger of going the other way?

"A recent survey by KPMG found that civil servants fully appreciate and understand the situation and there is no place for KPMG to charge millions of pounds for consultants to advise government on how to save money".

Yeah, right.

Edited by Cogs

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I wonder if there is anyone here who has the knowledge over the last 3 or so governments to shed light on this - perhaps someone lurking who keeps saying they'll write and doesn't?

As a public sector minion not paid a lot - but hoping the final salary pension will compensate me for the lack of pay and madness - I keep seeing each government round - that there are more consultants / contracts each time cuts are put forward - and that the big cheese aren't affected - only those that have been "restructured/transformed".

The Labour government as with the Conservatives before - did massives of restructuring on the grounds of saving money - but I'm sure that someone could come-up with the real figures of what all of this means - and will find that the little people and base-line services (older people, children, etc) are the main ones hit - i.e. the normal people in society both employed by the Councils and receiving benefit from them.

We went from Health Authorities to PCTs - and I know that cost much more than expected - and now heard a govt minster for Conservatives saying they'll revert back to Health Authorities.

Just the transition alone costs millions!!!!

Labour brought in Unitary authorities - and some are still paying the costs involved in making them so.

Yes, there will be strikes amongst the little people - because they've seen the big people get bigger and bigger salaries for "managing" - and more and more layers of managers increasing - when before it was a flat structure - even Sir Humphries' day seems like a flatter structure to today's management.

The little people do - management "manage" - but lots of managers seem to have had a lot to manage during Labour's reign and have employed more management layers to manage for managers.

The public anger seems to be against the dinner ladies and minions that try their day-to-day best to keep things going - at not a vast amount - saying pay cuts must be enforced - like the private sector - but fail to understand that the structure of the government and councils and other associated bodies have huge layers of management at the top - not only getting the salaries but also then walking away with the pensions.

As some here suggested - they won't even understand - because probably they can do as many I know are doing - oops - time to leave with my nice fat pension in toe as I'm now about to hit ......50!!!!

The minions will have to work until 68 in the next govt - and 72 beyond that - but the fat cats won't.

So please - can we start a proper campaign - rather than saying that everyone in the public sector are creaming it - and so deserve a vitriolic attack - can we start being more sophisticated and attack of the right people?

Of course this needs those of you lurking who are in the know to come out and help.

It does annoy me a bit when some posts on threads like that that "they" are the only ones paying for all public sector pay and therefore have a right to say that the dinner ladies are made redundant and those that are left after the tranche should have their pay cut by massive amounts when they've barely had more than a 1.5% increase over the last 5 years with Gordon.

Please remember - that many of the minions in local government get paid less than normal rates and have been holding out in hope for the pension - which you now want to see cut - sure that's one way of doing it. But many of us minions would have been in competition for your job that you now have - if it wasn't for the false promise of a final salary pension - we'd be out there competiting for your job at the higher rates - and there are some good people out there who could have got your job - it's just that they want to live locally and be with their kids, and other agendas behind them for their day-to-day living (which also benefit the government).

And also, please rememeber - that we minions that you so seriously despise and keep writing about as if we are the fat cats -also pay taxes, NI and also our Council tax - and we too have mortgages, rents and all other bills to pay which are outside our control.

Worse still - in effect - we pay for OUR OWN LOW SALARIES - which you do not!!!!!!

So can we drop the "we pay for you" stuff - you don't - we pay for ourselves as little minions - and you benefit!!!!!!

And you get your private sector salaries - and increases and have done throughout all the boom years - and we have not.

SO YES, when we strike - because that's what you and the media whip up in your mad frenzie because you can't get at the Bankers and Government who have bailed out the bankers - but must pray on the next easy targets - just remember that in the 1970s:

Your dead weren't burried

Your dead weren't autopsied

Your dead, alive and living weren't registered

Your mother didn't get her care allowance

Your father didn't have his subsidised care home paid for

Your father had no-one to care for him

Your mother had no-one helping her to wash in the morning and do her local shopping

Your fight-fighters went on strike

Your minners went on strike and you had no coal or electricity and so no lighting

Your bin-men went on strike - and rats ran around your garden

Your delivery men had no fuel to put in the car - as the petrol guys went on strike in support.

Your kids didn't get the food they normally get because it wasn't available in the shop and there were food shortages

And that was just the tip of the ice-berg.

The fat cats survived - the little people who striked and were your target then - and the governments target then - did not - some committed suicide - families broke-up, kids went on the street, and education suffered.

Crimes escalated because otherwise lawful people just broke the law because they got so cynical that nameless people were against them that targetted them (otherwise known as bullying).

I see all the same things about to happen again - because many fail to realise - it's not all those minions above who are at fault - but the government and the fat cats within government - and now - the government and the bankers.

Just something to think over ........

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I feel some of your pain, but some of your points are illogical. We can't create jobs for you from our taxes just for the sake of it, at the same time it would be worse if legitimate jobs get sacrificed to support illegitimate middle management jobs. To that degree I feel your pain, I think.

Edited by Si1

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KPMG sent a questionnaire to 20 people in May. With that many people you don't even know they got the question wording right. You don't know who they sent it to beyond "senior civil servant" which can mean anyone from Sir Humphrey to a shift supervisor at the DVLA office.

You get that this is KPMG bidding for your money right?

You think this "study" was ever in danger of going the other way?

"A recent survey by KPGM found that civil servants fully appreciate and understand the situation and there is no place for KPGM to charge millions of pounds for consultants to advise government on how to save money".

Yeah, right.

Bingo.

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Shrink and Rafar... interesting posts. To play devils advocate somwhat, do you think it's possible that pre-cut planning is actually going on but kept well and truely secret?

No chance. When the cuts come they will come as a bolt from the blue "We thought that the NHS was ringfenced" or "It comes at a terrible time for us, with the new department opening up". Worst of all will be the bleeding inevitable "We've hired in a group from KPMG / PWC / Whoever to help us transition through this change".

The thing with the NHS is that the system ends up rather like an army. The management spend their time fighting the last war. When there was buckets of money, the managers in place were all good at running a department on a shoestring. Well, different skills are needed to run a department that has a lot of money to spend and a lot of them got fleeced by sharks. This time round we have management used to the years of fat and plenty and they will find it hard to transition to severe cutbacks.

For what it's worth, I'm not standing up for your management at all (by the sound of it, they actually are a bit shit),

Actually my management isn't bad, but then we've been running on ridiculously short budgets for years now.

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