Central Government Isn’t Working!

As a private sector taxpayer I’m always slightly moresensitive to wastage and inefficiency in the public sector than many of mypublic sector colleagues. Thus, I thought I’d share this real-life story:

I’m currently doing some contract work for a large centralgovernment department, who outsource their ICT services and support to awell-known private enterprise services organisation.

I wanted to change the hypertext link on an Intranet webpage to point to a different page in order to improve the user feedbackmechanism for a particular service. Having jumped through all the hoops and navigated around the various,traps and barriers they call ‘Change Control’ I submitted a change request tothe service provider in the required format with all the relevant information,then waited…and waited for a response. Several requests for a status updatesolicited the response from the service provider that the change was ‘beingimpacted’ (and to remind you, we’re talking about a simple change to a pagelink). Four weeks after the originalchange request was raised and I’m still waiting for a definitive answer. Furthermore, my customer (the largegovernment department) is now worried that the service provider may be able totake future sanctions against them because a change has been requested (thefirst since the project began over 12 months ago).

I’d like to make the following observations :

  1. Invention and innovation are being stifled (nay, killedstone dead) by process in many gov departments.
  2. An elaborate ‘onesize fits all’ change control process is adding to the cost of making simple,low impact, no risk changes.
  3. The public sector is becoming conditioned to the high costand bureaucratic processes imposed by their suppliers (or which they have collaborated on) – to the extent that theywould prefer to maintain a status quo as opposed to making even minor serviceor efficiency improvements.
  4. With respect to private sector/public sector businessrelationships, the tail is now wagging the dog.
  5. Apathy rules – ok?!

End of rant!

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