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Thread: Consultant Eddie Molloy on managerial reform of civil service

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    Default Consultant Eddie Molloy on managerial reform of civil service

    Seven things the public service needs to do - The Irish Times - Fri, Apr 09, 2010

    The seven recommendations outlined above would help reverse fossilisation of management. But in my opinion,to prevent fossilisation in the first place,underperforming civil servants should be subject to the sack.

    There is an argument that the power to sack could tempt ministers to replace career civil servants with party placemen,but an independent commission could be set up to hear appeals into unjust dismissal cases.

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    This is an excellent series of articles.
    The underperforming Irish permanent civil service has got away with far too much over the years.

    This relic of British imperialism has shielded itself from any real public scrutiny while at the same time ensuring extraordinarily good pay , conditions & perks for its more senior members.

    I fully acknowledge that the vast majority of this priviledged elite are fine and decent people but the sorry state of Irelands economy and educational system is in part a reflection on their poor performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Field Marshal View Post
    This is an excellent series of articles.
    The underperforming Irish permanent civil service has got away with far too much over the years.

    This relic of British imperialism has shielded itself from any real public scrutiny while at the same time ensuring extraordinarily good pay , conditions & perks for its more senior members.

    I fully acknowledge that the vast majority of this priviledged elite are fine and decent people but the sorry state of Irelands economy and educational system is in part a reflection on their poor performance.
    FM, would you not agree that the article by Molloy is pretty standard, text-book management consultancy waffle. It all makes a degree of sense but is totally non-specific. There are a lot of chancers in the consultancy game - not implying Molloy is one, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patslatt View Post
    There is an argument that the power to sack could tempt ministers to replace career civil servants with party placemen, but an independent commission could be set up to hear appeals into unjust dismissal cases.
    That already exists, it is called the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
    When you see the words "Mises" or "Hayek" in someone's post, just ask yourself: do I really want to ban paper money and go back to gold?

    You have to pity the kind of people who buy into conspiracy theories. I find the following to be the saddest words on the internet: "Re: connection between Bilderberg puppet lady gaga and viral outbreak in ukraine "

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    the article by Molloy is pretty standard, text-book management consultancy waffle.
    That's much as I feel. I'm actually more than a little surprised that anyone thought they were good. Each of his seven points is vacuous. Just briefly:

    1. If official are to become publicly accountable, then they become part of the political system. Molloy has nothing to say about that at all - he hardly seems to have noticed that suddenly our elected representatives are detached from all responsibility.

    2. He says self-regulation doesn't work, and then says external assessment doesn't work either. So what works? This is completely woolly.

    3. What system of accountability would have prevented the evoting waste?

    4. He contradicts himself by both saying departments need to move away from generalists while at the same time saying expertise was lost when those same generalists were moved around to accommodate decentralisation.

    5. His 'managerial role' stuff seems to be anecdotal. There may be an issue here - but he is saying nothing substantial about it.

    6. Does he really think decentralisation would have been stopped by a Department of Finance risk assessment? If so, he's a space cadet.

    7. He falls into the usual trap of "set up a Department for the thing I'm talking about". Why, if the system of administration is so lacking, would exactly the same kind of organisation cure the problem?

    His conclusion is a joke - particularly putting DoF centre stage when the strategic direction for the Government policies that brought us here is set by the Department of the Taoiseach through the so-called Partnership process.

    All in all, a very poor article. Its actually quite abysmal. The more I think of it, the more shocking it is that this tripe ends up getting printed, let alone getting favourable comment.
    However, banks know they have a duty of care to their clients and I'm sure that this should prevent them lending irresponsibly.

    George Lee 2 June 2006

    Ziggy

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    Having had to endure several "staff development" sessions given by Eddy "Get your arms round the concept" Molloy in the '90s I was pleasantly surprised by much of what he wrote.

    I would make just a couple of brief points:

    Measuring the effectiveness of Secretaries-General is a largely meaningless exercise as so much of what they actually do is determined for them by their Minister and his/her daily demands. Few Ministers take a long-term view of anything....their eye is on their seat from day one and they are inherently risk-averse so delivery of long-term departmental goals is of little interest to many of them.

    The reaction of the senior civil service to McCreevey's bombshell on Decentralisation was very interesting. With one possible exception they reacted like meek little lambs and went along with the madness even though they knew it would be unworkable, would decimate departments of expertise and lead to low morale and promotion based on a willingness to travel.

    THis is symptomatic of one of the major problems in the Service at present....at the senior levels it is populated by a large cadre of sycophants who see their job as nodding meekly every time a Minister makes a demand. Few if any see their role as including challenging Ministers.

    I would love to see a system whereby advice can be seen by a Committee or the C&AG but the sad reality is that many Ministers now no longer want anything put in writing as they do not want such information/advice getting into the public domain via FOI. Far from operating in an era of transparency we appear to be becoming more secretive and less inclined to seriously discuss/debate issues before policy decisions are taken at a political level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    FM, would you not agree that the article by Molloy is pretty standard, text-book management consultancy waffle. It all makes a degree of sense but is totally non-specific. There are a lot of chancers in the consultancy game - not implying Molloy is one, of course.

    Can you be SPECIFIC about where he could be less non-specific?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schuhart View Post
    That's much as I feel. I'm actually more than a little surprised that anyone thought they were good. Each of his seven points is vacuous. Just briefly:

    1. If official are to become publicly accountable, then they become part of the political system. Molloy has nothing to say about that at all - he hardly seems to have noticed that suddenly our elected representatives are detached from all responsibility.

    2. He says self-regulation doesn't work, and then says external assessment doesn't work either. So what works? This is completely woolly.

    3. What system of accountability would have prevented the evoting waste?

    4. He contradicts himself by both saying departments need to move away from generalists while at the same time saying expertise was lost when those same generalists were moved around to accommodate decentralisation.

    5. His 'managerial role' stuff seems to be anecdotal. There may be an issue here - but he is saying nothing substantial about it.

    6. Does he really think decentralisation would have been stopped by a Department of Finance risk assessment? If so, he's a space cadet.

    7. He falls into the usual trap of "set up a Department for the thing I'm talking about". Why, if the system of administration is so lacking, would exactly the same kind of organisation cure the problem?

    His conclusion is a joke - particularly putting DoF centre stage when the strategic direction for the Government policies that brought us here is set by the Department of the Taoiseach through the so-called Partnership process.

    All in all, a very poor article. Its actually quite abysmal. The more I think of it, the more shocking it is that this tripe ends up getting printed, let alone getting favourable comment.
    A lot of the problems are due to ducking,diving and evading of responsibility by mangers who can avoid all risks. Hence,the need to introduce the fear of the sack as a deterrent to this ass covering.

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    Incentives- does the system punish failure and reward success? It's not that complicated.
    If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.

    Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Tom Frost View Post
    THis is symptomatic of one of the major problems in the Service at present....at the senior levels it is populated by a large cadre of sycophants who see their job as nodding meekly every time a Minister makes a demand. Few if any see their role as including challenging Ministers.
    Grand, but can we be a little bit practical about this.

    As I'm typing this, our State apparatus is struggling with how best it can find a formula to rob the taxpayer to pay the debts of the Quinn Group.

    Why is our State apparatus doing this? Why are they not united in saying "Put them into administration, and let due process sort it out"? Because the overwhelming bulk of agitation has been for the taxpayer to take on these debts, by whatever means. (Yes, I am deeming Anglo Irish to be a mechanism to stuff the taxpayer in this context.)

    Can you see how the 'layer of sycophants' is largely irrelevant to this process? Because essentially what you are saying is the civil service should stage a coup by reducing the elected representatives of the people to the status of advisors.

    This isn't to say reform is not necessary. Just that its not the primary solution to the main problem. The main problem is political - as evidenced by the way that all of the purported commitment to rebuilding our system of financial regulation goes out the window at its first test.
    However, banks know they have a duty of care to their clients and I'm sure that this should prevent them lending irresponsibly.

    George Lee 2 June 2006

    Ziggy

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