The immense challenges we face go well beyond party politics… beyond management vs trade union… beyond “them and us” and “who is to blame”! We are facing a national debt crisis in “perfect storm” economic conditions across the Globe. This is a tragedy unfolding before our very eyes, as we seem to be contemplating mass job cuts and unemployment across our public sector when our Leaders have the tools to make things different. All we need is a different “can do” mind-set and some “fresh ideas” based upon Equity, Fairness, Unity and Service!
In this blog post, we share just one of ten “opportunities” identified by an impact intervention team that looked at public sector transformation and the part our precious public service has to play in helping the Nation transition from two decades of year-on-year debt-fuelled growth to handling a national Debt Crisis. The team were tasked to address “Must Win Battles” that our public sector leadership simply must tackle in the coming months and years. We will share more of these opportunities that aren’t currently getting exposure over the coming weeks and months.
“These are seminal times… things are going to get tougher in coming months and years and the latest estimates suggest that the number of public sector jobs shed across Wales by 2014 could rise to between 22,000 and 60,000! The impact will be devastating and many talented and passionate people will be confined to long-term unemployment and inactivity. It is a modern day tragedy evolving before our very eyes.
The adverse impact upon Wales (which has a higher proportion of public sector employment) will hit harder than other parts of the country. That’s why I think we need a radical approach in Wales, built-upon strong unified leadership, fairness and inclusivity. The current approach to mass job cuts and unemployment is plainly not equitable, just, fair or indeed socially or economically sustainable.
There are alternatives… the minute you set people free from the imposed constraints of vested interests the alternatives simply flow out and leave those involved questioning.. Why haven’t we done this before? Deciding which new options to adopt and implement will be difficult and will require courage and visionary leadership… but, many of the alternatives are infinitely better for our public sector and society as whole than the options we are currently pursuing and protecting!
By releasing the outputs of this passionate intervention team over the coming weeks and months I very much hope that it will stimulate a desire by those leading our precious public sector, and those within it, to openly explore alternatives to mass job cuts. I want this to be constructive and help the debate and it is no way meant to be negative. It is just facing up to reality – we simply cannot afford to keep borrowing to fund our services and we need to find a route that is inclusive and fair.” John Dew OBE
Sustainable Public Services Intervention No.1: As part of an emergency three-year national recovery strategy there should be a moratorium on all allowances over and above basic salary on the grounds of unaffordability, equity, fairness and social inclusivity. The savings should form the basis of a job creation fund aimed at spreading the socio-economic benefits of public sector employment more widely across society.
John had this to say about this particular measure:
“I listened to this measure when it was explained to me… and reflected how tough it would be to implement. But, the more I think about this… the more I think about the public service values that have guided my public sector working life… and the massive socio-economic impact it could have - it simply has to be taken forward. Surely on ethical leadership grounds alone… it has to be done!
Reflecting back, if I had been given a choice when in the public sector that I could take a pay cut or lose some enhanced remuneration and save many of my colleagues from the spectre of long-term unemployment I would have chosen it. The question our leaders, unions and employees need to ask themselves is how they would feel if they lost their job, and their home, and their family was put at risk.”