Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Not so good

So as you can see in that little descriptive paragraph to the right I quote "The greatest love of all", but the thing is I do belive that children are our future.

I've said it before and I will say it again this government is letting down the children.

So if we pass over the fact that the benefit cuts, when introduced with housing cuts and increased unemployment almost certainly mean more children will be living in poverty it still looks pretty bleak.

Yesterday it was announced that the government is withdrawing all funding for book-gifting programmes. These programmes give books to children, get them interested in reading and help them find a way into self directed learning. It is not a programme that is losing money - they turn £13 million from the government into £56 million in terms of sponsorship to help the scheme run. So it seems like they use government funds efficiently to do a job that is worth doing. In terms of the nation as a whole £13 million to provide free books to schoolchildren is chicken feed, but this gets cut.

So we have free school meals significantly reduced, EMA cut, free books cut, Connexions services designed to help those young people not in education, employment or training (a number set to rise in this climate) cut, ring fencing of local government money for children's services and education removed, and funding to the poorest local authorities cut the most.

Theoretically devolved decision making could work. However it needs to be run effectively. So schools need to know what their special needs budgets should be if they are to set them, and many do not, in fact what we have is the worst of both worlds where they have the "freedom" to determine thier own budgets but no support - just stringent checks on the number of sick days teachers take under the proposals.

Please don't even get me started on the health "reforms" which take no account of teh fact that in seven years of trianing GPs get no training in budgeting, do not properly allow for sufficient oversight of the practice of doctors (and area the NHS and GMC have been working on for years now to ensure proper regulation) and which neglect all the work done by the NHS in the past few years to ensure more efficient procurement practices. Devolved units can't make the same mass puchasing savings as a PCT. Again there is a principle that can be argued is correct but the implementation is foolish and rushed.

I genuinely am scared for the future. If people argue (and they do) that the Thatcher generation are self motivated, individualistic and materialistic (those that were children more than those that were older and protested)- where do we see the generation born under this?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

You fall for everything

This post is brought to you by the words "despair" and "anager"

So times are tight. Cuts to change the nature of society are happening left, right and centre (though mostly the last two cutting the first). So what about organisations and businesses that are feeling the pinch? Well it seems that they are taking the same short sighted tack, I've seen before and will see many times again.

Let's take as an example a small enterprise, with 90 people, ranging from a Chief Executive and board of directors, via some high paid senior members of staff, some less high paid less senior members of staff, some administrators and down to the junior staff. For the sake of argument let's make this a not for profit organisation.

This not for profit private company tended to earn money from big government contracts but now the government has stopped ordering from it and so has local government. It has an expensive office space which needs at least one full time receptionist.

So who do you cut out?

Do you cut out the specialists who have specialisms that are no longer called for and who are bringing in no money (despite contracts saying they must) and who cost a lot in terms of payroll?

Or do you make strategic decisions about the future of the business and make posts redundant based on that?

Or do you make the "strategic" decision to make redundant the lowest paid and least likely to be in a Union/make a fuss. The ones who you feel no real short term hit from as their redundancy settlement is negligibility despite being with the company since the start.

Obviously you take option 3 and then get confused when the top heavy organisation you created falls over.

Cut off the legs and what have you got to stand on?

And this is happening at every level, local authorities, universities, management consultancies. This is hitting the poorest, and then when they are down the housing, welfare, health and education reforms will take it in turns to kick them further into the gutter.

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