Do you follow your MP?
I always read the questions asked by my MP in the House. If you don’t follow your MP, you might find yourself impressed. They Work For You will send you emails directly to your inbox.
I quickly learned though not to bother clicking through to reading the reply. But today I couldn’t resist.
Mark Lancaster (Shadow Minister, International Development; North East Milton Keynes, Conservative)
Can the Secretary of State estimate how many pages of guidance his Department has issued to teachers in the past 10 years and tell the House whether he considers it sufficient?
Edward Balls (Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families; Normanton, Labour)
I think that the answer to that is no-I have never sat down and counted all the pages of guidance. What I have done is reform the national curriculum to reduce the burdens on teachers and give them more discretion over the primary and secondary curriculums. It is a great pity tha.t, rather than support the national curriculum, the Opposition propose to abolish it.
Lessons for HRM and staff officers everywhere
Early in my career, I worked for a company whose CEO insisted that if those of us in HR wanted to change a page in the manual, then we need to walk around and change the page ourselves. Physically walk from office to office. Do you know how many manuals you printed and where they are exactly? When did you last check that there is a manual at arm’s reach of every one who might need it?
This dictat taught me important truths about ‘being staff’.
- Don’t get in the way of the line.
- Don’t waste trees.
- Don’t abdicate your responsibilities.
If we believe a policy is necessary, it is incumbent on us to show that it is necessary, effective and costs considerably less than the problem we seek to solve.
I know we have intranet these days. That simply makes the challenge harder. Do people know that we have changed the page? Will they be able to find the page in a fraction of a second when they need it? Are the steps that must be followed laid out from the point of view of a person on the spot? Is the rationale clear? Can an intelligent person understand the principle?
Is our advice good enough to make a difference? Is our advice good enough to last a reasonable length of time?
If we were in the situation ourselves, would we be able to implement our own advice or would we find it wanting?
Our MP can defuse a bomb and be funny
Yes, indeed. How many pages and do we regard them as sufficient? Wonderful British humor.
No, the Minister is not reviewing the effectiveness of his policy or his policy machinery. But then I didn’t think he might be. I just needed confirmation that our MP, who does bomb-disposal in his spare time, is really this droll. He is.