Who would be failing in their duties?
Wednesday 30th January 2013, 2:55PM GMT.
NOW that the cost of keeping open the King Edward VII Hospital for a dwindling number of patients has finally been laid bare, the obvious question is why it wasn’t slated for closure much earlier.
According to political sources, it was – and the Health and Social Services Department board of deputies of the day were told quite firmly by civil servants that such matters were operational and off-limits to elected representatives.
Correct or not, the anecdote from a current States member illustrates the difficulty within government in trying to separate political strategy from day-to-day implementation by officials.
Loosely similar issues at the Guernsey Financial Services Commission were addressed head on by the then new chairman, who acknowledged that its governance structure was deficient. As he put it, he had never before been involved in an operation where he couldn’t see the whole organisation.
In other words, you don’t have to be involved in everything that it does but you do need to be aware of what is happening if you carry ultimate responsibility and are to provide any meaningful leadership of the organisation.
One of the reasons Flybe is currently culling 20% of its managers as part of a two-year programme to save £35m. – that’s more money than the States is looking for under FTP in half the time – is that its leaders are hands on enough to assess the risk of what they are doing and to see past the ‘it can’t be done’ reaction from the divisions at risk.
How many ministers and politicians here could say the same of their departments?
It is one reason why FTP savings have proved voluntary and involved service cuts and fee increases and definitely no loss of jobs or, particularly, civil service managers.
Instead of reform and restructuring being driven from the top it is actually being shaped and advised by those with the most to lose, leading the Policy Council to admit in its Billet d’Etat report that ‘not all departments were ready for the major change that was required to deliver the FTP’.
If Flybe hadn’t started its own FTP, shareholders would argue that well-paid directors and executives were failing in their duties.
Is Guernsey’s government immune from the same charge?
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