Articles tagged: public sector reform

How the Tories wordgrabbed Progressive and sent Mandy Mental

August 12, 2009

Yesterday, unlike ‘Lord’ Mandelson, I saw George Osborne deliver his case for the Tories as the party of ‘Progressive Politics” at centre-left Demos think tank HQ. The hounhymns were confounded. Phil Collins – no, not the former drummer of progressive rock group Genesis but the former speechwriter for failed prog rock singer, Tony (Ugly Rumours) Blair – introduced Osborne’s speech as the latest attempt at Tory ‘wordgrab.’ He concluded by thanking Boy George and telling him that he’d be pleased to relay his advice on policy to the Labour war... More

Kicking National Express was a good call from Labour

July 5, 2009

First, let me apologise for foolishly assuming that National Express, the (privatised) UK bus company, chaired until last week by well-connected Richard Bowker, was clever enough to engineer a de facto merger with Virgin Trains/Stagecoach (Thus passim) and thus recreate a large part of the old subsidised British Rail monopoly under the guise of privatisation. I also apologise for stating the National Express was profitable: it was, until it grossly overbid for the UK’s East Coast Railway franchise. With decent rolling stock a clear run from London to Edinburgh and... More

Industrialising the service sector is a false economy and fatal in the public sector

June 8, 2009

Alistair Darling has demanded further £15bn efficiency savings through more IT-led front-office/back-office public-service designs. In the accompanying Treasury report, these totals are justified by ‘proxies, assumptions and estimates’, not evidence. Indeed, the evidence points firmly the other way; the further industrialisation of public services will inevitably lead to higher costs and worse services. By John Seddon. A version of this article appears in Public Finance, June 2009. The folly of industrialisation began in the private sector. Advances in telephony led companies to centralise telephone work in call centres, taking advantage... More