FTP is really about who is in charge
Wednesday 16th January 2013, 3:00PM GMT.
NOW that a States member who asked for some of the underlying detail about how the financial transformation programme savings have been made up has been answered, it is clear that about half are not savings at all.
Instead, they have been made either by cutting services or by increasing fees and charges. In addition, the biggest single ‘saving’ – some £1.75m. has been achieved by axing grants and subsidies.
What there is no evidence of is of government shrinking, of the artificial growth during the boom years being stripped out.
Instead, there is a systematic failure to take any of the meaningful action that the private sector has taken, and continues to do so, to live within its means since businesses cannot by and large hike prices.
Islanders are getting increasingly angry about this and they want to know who is to blame for the promised economies not being delivered.
The tax and spend lobby in the Assembly is having a PR field day because the Policy Council and Treasury and Resources are not playing their hand well.
In addition, as employer, what has the council and its chief executive done to ensure that what is still a clear States instruction to save £31m. is actually carried out?
Its own Billet d’Etat report makes clear that progress hasn’t been good because some departments decided not to cooperate and failing to do so actually protected their budgets.
This does rather beg the question of why the States has a chief executive if he is failing to motivate his lieutenants to implement corporate strategy. The fault might be with individual chief officers but, if so, who is taking responsibility for that?
Despite the belated moves to make the civil service accountable to a single CEO, are the civil service heads of departments still able to hide behind political boards and wriggle out of it?
In reality, FTP is about far more than saving resources and demonstrating value for money.
At its heart is the issue of who is in charge of government and who directs it.
Today, the evidence suggests no one – and taxpayers are paying the price.
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