Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tories say they favour decentralised decision making except when they see the results

Today’s Times second leader says that two leading Tories “indicated that they favoured decentralisation”. Under the headline “The state they're in” it reports that “During the public services debate yesterday David Willetts, the Shadow Education Secretary, and Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, both criticised the target culture that is associated with the Treasury under the current Chancellor and indicated that they favoured decentralisation with “professional autonomy” for doctors, nurses and teachers.”

Apart from the worry that many doctors, nurses and teachers, who are extremely able at their jobs, couldn’t organise so much as a provincial jumble sale, there are other problems with this worthy notion.

Local decision making will lead to difference in service provision. So one Tory cliché (lets make efficiency saving by sacking all the organisers) gives way to another (the postcode lottery).

Decision making in the NHS is increasingly being devolved to Primary Care Trusts. The Forest of Dean constituency sits on the border between England and Wales. Its Tory MP is jolly cross because those of his constituents who cross the border for their NHS treatment get a different set of service levels to those who stay in Gloucestershire.

Now Mark Harper is perhaps not the sharpest pencil in David Cameron’s gang but we might hope, might we not, that he could get his head around this little conundrum?


At 17:45, Blogger Tom Freeman said...

David Cameron himself isn't the sharpest of his own pencils either, as he lurched into this contradiction himself in the space of a single sentence a while back:

"The Conservative Party under my leadership is going to be genuinely committed to trusting public servants . . . so we can deliver what we really want, which is a quality of service for everyone and equality of service for everyone."

At 22:42, Blogger Hughes Views said...

It's odd isn't it Tom? They can't really be completely dim yet they just don't seem to have thought anything through. Perhaps they hope no one will spot the flaws...

At 19:15, Blogger Praguetory said...

You can only equalise downwards. This is evidenced by the appalling general standard of policing, dentistry and teaching to name just three. Decentralisation is all about improving delivery at the local level. Some may improve more, but the general standard of public services will undoubtedly improve.

At 20:27, Blogger Hughes Views said...

"the general standard of public services will undoubtedly improve" - what just like it did between 1979 and 1997 eh?

At 08:27, Blogger Praguetory said...


At 10:20, Blogger Hughes Views said...

There are none so blind as those who will not see!!


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