It was awfully thoughtful of someone from Wirral Council to share it’s latest draft “Vision” with their “critical friends” at Wirral Leaks. OK we admit we’re more critical than friends but we hope it enables them to tick the box marked “consultation”.
The full title of this magnum opus is : “Vision for Wirral and the Council’s Approach in Making It Real”.
This elicited a derisive chorus of : “Are they for real?” here at Leaky Towers with Eldritch adding further scorn by commenting: ” Don’t know why they didn’t do the whole “down wiv da kidz” routine and call it
” 4 Real 4 Life” ….” .
And so it would appear that after ” What Really Matters” and “Destination Excellence” (anyone remember that hastily ill- conceived car-crash?) that the pattern of empty sloganeering as a substitute for effective corporate governance is set to continue at Wirral Council.
And as you can see above “Making It Real” is hardly an original title.We don’t know what highly paid policy wonk wrote this draft but we suspect they adhere to the principle about not reinventing the wheel when you can just cut and paste.
As to the draft document itself it’s the usual dreary doublespeak that is the lingo of lobotomized local government bods.
There’s some blather about the Improvement Board wanting to know about Wirral’s “future state model” which sounds to us a bit like a totalitarian regime in a dystopian sci-fi movie.
Then some context for the vision is given : ” We recognise that the scope and complexity of the change needs to be captured and explained in a coherent framework which is understood by elected members,staff and partners”.
Might we suggest that for the sake of elected members the final document is printed in a format they can understand: B O L D. multi-coloured crayon.
But let’s not mock because apparently all by themselves (yeah right!) the elected member have identified 3 principles (yes yet more bloody principles) which focus the activity of the Council.They are :
– Enabling local solutions – local decisions
– Promoting Independence
– Driving Growth & Aspiration
Now you can call us cynical (and who could blame us) but using the language we’ve gleaned from “da yoof ” on daytime TV we read these principles as :
” We ain’t got no money aye, so you be on your own suckers – you just need to ASPIRE more jus’ like da sad wannabes on X-Factor…..
They then tell us how they intend to enact these principles – there’s exciting talk of new delivery models ,changing behaviour,work force modernisation and improved business performance.
New delivery models includes would you believe ” staff led spin out arrangements??????!!!!”
I think we can all agree we’ve all had quite enough of those type of arrangements already thank you!
Changing behaviour includes “accountability and responsibility” being clearly understood and putting an end to the “we know best” culture.
” The holding of one’s breath is most definitely not recommended…” is all that Lady W had to say on this particular matter
Workforce Modernisation includes the inevitable “directly employ fewer people” or as it’s better known -privatisation.Of course “Workforce Modernisation” is more acceptable terminology for a Labour-controlled Council. So to all those about to be made redundant or redeployed in the private sector on less favourable employment terms – remember you’re not just an expendable economic unit – you’re being “modernised”. Shame the workforce have realised all too late that they’re the ones paying the price for years of Council mismanagement. The irony being that the ones making decisions on peoples livelihoods are the Councillors who jeopardised them in the first place!
Improved Business Performance tells us that that “work has already begun in this area includes; the asset management strategy whilst providing a structure to how the Council manages it’s assets…”.
Well,well ,well hasn’t it just! To be frank we think it should be re-named the asset stripping strategy.
Might we suggest keeping a particularly beady eye on Wirral Business Partnership and the various inter-connections and relationships when it comes to this area of work.
Finally it is envisaged that by 2016 Wirral Council will have a new look .
The characteristics include words like “leaner”, “smaller and “slicker. “Which suggests that the Council’s aspiration is to resemble Olympic heptathlete Jessica Ennis rather than racist lard-arse Bernard Manning.
One of the characteristics is described thus: ” Focusing on early intervention to problems which is proportionate and outcomes focused e.g. learning initiatives such as Intensive Family Intervention pilots will be understood and imbedded (?) in day to day practice”.
Oh and believe us there’s plenty more where that came from.
Now we concede we’re not as clever as these folks with their Masters in Business Administration degrees and who can do fancy power-point presentations with sound effects and snazzy graphics but in these austere times we feel we could have provided a more concise vision for Wirral Council:
a) Challenge the half dozen or so of the political power elite who have held sway on Wirral for the best part of a quarter century to either shape up or ship out
b) Employ nice people committed to public service
c) Er,…that’s it
The final characteristic described before the next steps in the implementation of this vision describe Wirral Council as :
“Effectively managing it’s reputation locally and nationally….”
Which proves once and for all that the people formulating these visions just don’t get it!.
The relentless and ruthless focus on “Reputation Management” at the cost of absolutely everything else is not a sign of a fully functioning, healthy organisation.
As the saying goes: ” The Best Don’t Advertise” or indeed have the need to be seen to be : ” Making It Real !! “