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Public Accounts Committee former Chair helps state the problem

posted 11 Apr 2017, 02:32 by Peter Webb   [ updated 16 Apr 2017, 03:41 ]

Public Accounts Committee former Chair Rt. Hon. Dame Margaret Hodge’s new book Called to Account draws conclusions from her razor-sharp and fearless examinations of government workings. Taken together with the revelation of a management void which she acknowledges in correspondence (attached) it can be concluded that: POLITICAL LEADERSHIP DOES NOT TAKE PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE GENERALITY  OF GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE. THERE IS A DEFINED MANAGEMENT VOID.  FORMAL DEMOCRATIC ACCOUNTABILITY IS ABSENT.

Yet Members of Parliament place themselves 'above the law and best practice',  sit in judgement of others in Select Committees and employ quangos. 

To resolve this a royal Commission would take too long. No new knowledge is needed. Suggested is a specific command from the Prime Minister to the Cabinet Secretary, preferably supported by the Monarch under the Constitution, for a standard Cabinet Meeting Agenda fed by Management Information and upward reporting. Additional observations are:

 Political science is dedicated to explaining politics. It hasn't much to offer the execution of policy and its management. It disjoints operational hierarchies ('Keep out. This is political').

 Politics seeks a happy populace by buying the vote with its (our) own money plus borrowings and accrued liabilities and obligations. Those unrecovered costs convert to  taxes or borrowings when falling due. Total liabilities including borrowing at 31st March 2015 of £3,558 billion are on a rising trend. They are out of control in the sense that government doesn’t  know what they were at 31st March 2016 or at the end of 2016-17. There is no plan (budget) going forward.

 The"economy" is the word used to imply a 'good' but only  to maintain activity by circulating money.  By default, policy has been for a 'lossful' economy(deficit). Printing money without value to match is not an option. "Quantitve easing" has unproductively channelled into inflated asset values, enriching some too easily. For the necessary objective of a gainfull economy with productive growth we have to trade and  manage the currency in competition. That produces infrastructure investment funds and reserve strength. Stop pussy-footing round “the economy” and go all out for resourcing and profit as is normal and healthy.

 Political and media  led public conversation over 'brexit' reveals how little understood even in high places is the business of running a country, or anything. Talk of a divorce settlement to be met by taxpayers may be partially relevant but so far forgets the normal course of dealings and work in progress which are continuous. There are liabilities and obligations which are what they are at any given moment.  There is  talk from Germany of a "calculation" and audit when what they mean is a conventional balance sheet. Politicians don’t do balance sheets. They don’t think beyond 'overnight' borrowing in fear of  "the markets". Presumably there is to be a difference between accrued liabilities and unassigned EU budget contributions. The settlement sum would simply 'fall out' of proper Accounts on departure day.

 Our WGAs (Whole Government consolidated Accounts) are immaturely claimed to lead the world. But we still await those for 2015-16. That delay certainly isn't the right example for the world outside government. And there is still no WGB for performance against budget as the primary management tool and policy adjustment prompt for the Cabinet.

Peter Webb,
11 Apr 2017, 02:32
Peter Webb,
11 Apr 2017, 02:32