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Productivity and Confidence

My MP happens to be Stephen Barclay, the current Health Secretary.  I have no issues with Steve, when he became the MP for North East Cambridgeshire it was in the belief that he had the potential to put the area on the map by becoming a Cabinet Member, he has done that and I know he fights hard for our area, although the nature of being a minister means that it        isn’t always as visible as it could be.


The fact that he is my MP means I occasionally write to him, just to let him know my thoughts and throw a few ideas out there. I always do it politely and I do it because I think it is important to let your views known – more people should do the same.


A few weeks ago, I wrote to let him know my views about the way forwards over NHS and public sector pay.  Basically my view is that there needs to be a focus on productivity in the public sector, both because the public sector is not productive enough, but also because it would be a good thing to take the lead on the issue and set an example for British industry which is nowhere near productive enough.


My suggestion to Steve was that they need to sit down and set specific, achievable productivity goals, based on specific projects, with the savings made from those productivity gains being split between additional salary increases and savings to the exchequer.   It strikes me as a great way of getting explicit buy-in from staff.


Today, Steve has written in the Daily Telegraph that he wants to have conversations through the pay review bodies ‘to see how we make any settlement done through the independent pay body more affordable, where there are productivity and efficiency opportunities’ and cites examples that suggest that our thinking is on the same page.


You might ask why I am writing this?  Well, what I am not doing is taking credit for the idea, if he did like what I wrote then I am, of course, happy but I also know that he has lots of very qualified people talking to him and giving him advice and it would amaze me if productivity has not formed part of their conversations.  For me, it is reassurance that my thinking is on the right sort of level and provides me with some confidence that when I make the case for political change with Proportional Representation at its centre to be part of the mainstream political dialogue, that my thinking there too is valid and my ideas worth listening to.


For what it is worth, I also suggested to Steve Barclay that the Civil Service needs to repeat the ‘front line first’ exercise that the MoD used during Options for Change, which is to open up the communications channels to every member of staff and encourage them to submit ideas where money can be saved and productivity improved, with the mantra ‘no sacred cows’ at its heart – i.e. that no idea is off the agenda and every idea submitted will be considered.


Here’s hoping that idea comes forwards too.




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