Errare humanum est
To err is human
British civil servants and ministers have been slammed for a "Sir Humphrey"* performance when grilled by MPs on differences in attitudes to tech across government and progress moving off legacy systems. The Whitehall officials running departments and agencies at the centre of efforts to boost digitisation, along with their …
They should have taken evidence from the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Because they are smaller, their departments work together.
In NI the close working led to Des Vincent writing the first UK e-Government policy for the whole of the UK.
Yes Minister is (apart from the sometimes loose plots) a masterpiece of British comedy and should be required watching for anyone in the Civil Service.
Actually, on second thoughts I'd change that to "banned from watching by the Civil Service" on the grounds that it would give advanced training..
Ask a direct question. Get a weasley worded, mealy mouthed, non-answer anser? Shoot the fucker through the head. Turn to that person's next in command. Lather, rinse, repeat until you get an actual, honest, straight answer. No marketing buzzword bingo bullshit, no misdirection, no evasions. Either a straight answer or a crossbow bolt in the face.
Sure we'd go through more folks that way, but they would also learn very quickly to stop fekkin' around.
I'll get my coat, it's the one with the pockets full of my medications...
I've got my dried frog pills, M&M's, Skittles, & JellyBabies. I put them in a large ZipLockBag, mix them all up, & just take a handfull of random goodness every now & then. I stopped adding the Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans after one too many times of finding a shite flavoured gob. *Comical cat gag noises*
"... there's not a need for you to get involved in any one specific... There's no specific area I'd want you to take away and focus on."
I bet, just in case the truth came out and where would the civil servants be then?
Oh, and note, it's civil servants not bloody civil masters, so if I was on the end of that little gem I would soon be having a word with the minister concerned about his staff's attitude.
"There seems to be an epidemic of that in Whitehall and government lately. I wonder if that has anything to do with the current lamentable state of affairs."
No, it's very long term SOP. See the references to Sir Humphrey and the embedded video. You must be very young :-)
"What I would like to know, is why the hell we didn't export a battalion of Sir Humphreys to Brussels 30 years ago?"
To be honest I thought all the member countries had. I really dont understand how an incompetent government over an incompetent government is supposed to fix government.
To be honest I thought all the member countries had
It's a bit like setting up a new team at work where all the existing teams have to donate members to make up the new team - no-one is going to donate their good people so all the dross ends up in the new team..
My parents (both fairly senior Civil Servants (the Bernard level, not up to Sir Humphrey) used to listen to Yes Minister on the radio and on at least one occasion were heard to say "now how on earth did they find out about THAT?"
Ever since then, I felt the whole show was more of a documentary than a fictional comedy.
Quote from official report: "The design of the vote accounts is too coarse to provide this level of the detail in money numbers, and the vote system typically does not deal with activities or resources at a level useful to managers."
I don't know where I saw this assessment, but it seems to be relevant to this piece of news reporting. It's probably also an official secret! FYI "Vote accounts" are the system of accounts used by parliament.
So that explains everything.
“....because replacing functional tech was rarely prioritised over new policy requirements.”
This is and has been one of the major problems of the modern approach to organisation. Ideas come far faster than our ability to evaluate and implement them. The consequences are potentially disasterous but, unfortunately, are also almost impossible to avoid.
"You've just given us bland, general answers"
Yes I also attend high level meetings where decisions are made as well.
I try and never speak but when I do it better be bland and general or else I'll get trunced.
They don't want details, real world costs or timings, they want something that will get
them head pats and votes. You get used to it but it's still a few years until I get to sod off so....
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