Unexploded Bomb

I’m going to run a little series of posts that I wrote a while ago. These are posts I wrote before I really started blogging properly and were simply jottings of my thoughts. They were quite cathartic for me and I often find getting issues written down helps me to process them to a logical place.

Here is the first one. I wrote this on September 5th 2010. Long before I had started my social media life as @TheCustodySgt

In a rather cavalier way somebody has just rolled a bomb into my office and is now sat back seemingly unaware that it will explode. It’s there under the desk and sooner or later something is going to blow. The whole of the public sector is currently under enormous pressure to cut costs and save money. We are all going to struggle and have some considerable difficulties to face. What makes this even harder to swallow is that it is all down to the banks. Their stupidity got us here and they are now sat back accepting handouts to stay afloat, still paying ridiculous bonuses and announcing huge profits. What is even worse is I had nothing to do with this yet I’m the one who gets to suffer as a result.

There is a phrase that senior managers often use when trying to uplift their staff when they tell us they understand that we/you are the workers and face all the difficulties and problems “at the coal face“. They want to reassure us they care and want to make our lot better whilst ensuring performance, customer satisfaction and safety. What a load of old twaddle. The unexploded bomb that has just been rolled under the desk is massive staff reductions. It stems from the government but our senior officers appear to be supporting it. This puts the remaining staff under extreme pressure and creates a dangerous, high stress environment where mistakes can and will be made. These mistakes or omissions can be the difference between losing a case or someone losing their life. When the stakes are so high why do the government and those above play russian roulette with it? Who gets to carry the can when it all goes wrong? The government, the bosses or the staff at the “coal face”? It’s the staff at the coal face.. we will be told that we should have “prioritized” better or called for more support “earlier”. They’ll say we fell down on “our” duty of care and that we are responsible. They will slip and slither away and reflect on what a shame it was that “so and so” got charged with offences, lost his job and his pension. But they’ll be ok and will collectively breathe a sigh of relief.

Short term fixes satisfy tally sheets but do not look at the bigger picture. The changes we have had put into place will very soon cause bigger problems and more expense than leaving the staffing as it is now. Staff will burn out. They will become stressed and unable to work or their general health will suffer and will be off on the sick. Staff, an organisations most valuable resource are being overlooked in this way and when they are off sick the overtime costs and pressure on the remaining staff will be immense. How does this save money long-term? The answer is it doesn’t. We have to be creative, imaginative and dynamic in our thinking and inclusive with our staff to develop long-term strategies that will save money. Not look at quick fixes that look good on paper but put staff, customers and people’s health, safety and lives at risk.

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