Thursday, 10 September 2009

This all sounds very good. But....

From David Cameron:-

But perhaps the biggest change will come through transparency. With a Conservative Government, every item of government spending over £25,000 will be published. Online. In full. No ifs, no buts.And if we win the next election, we’re going to publish online all public sector salaries over £150,000 too.
I don’t think people understand yet what a big difference this is going to make to government and how it spends.

Actually, it will make very little difference. If Cameron had any real world operational experience, rather than being a PR flunky, he'd know this.

Because anyone who's been through a bureaucracy knows that getting around these rules is fucking easy.

Let's take Cameron's favourite example: The yacht that the NHS has that sits on the Humber. Yup, it sounds like a spectacular waste of money too. The yacht is valued at £400,000 and used for encouraging youngsters to do healthy things.

Now, if you think that Cameron's plan is going to expose things like that, you should think again. What will happen instead is that instead of buying and running a yacht, they'll just rent one each time they need it. If they have to pay for youngsters to get there, that will be paid for separately. See how that works? Everything disappears into sub-£25000 invoices and none of it appears.

It's just like the impact of targets in how they create incentives. People just work to meet it over and above things like delivering value.

The only answer is to accept that government generally performs badly and that the answer is to just have a lot less of it and leave as much as possible to the market.

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