Aspiring to the private sector’s standards

I work in housing within the public sector. This is of course the same public sector that is staffed by pampered layabouts who are cosseted with armour-plated pensions, and where unchallenged inefficiency and over-manning (I will not write “over-personning”, so don’t even start) are leaching the taxes of hard-working families. I’m pretty sure I pay tax as well, but perhaps I’m mistaken.

Anyway, us parasitic public sector bureaucrats are constantly being enjoined to look to the private sector to see how things should be done much better and at a fraction of the cost. Those so chivvying us to greater and more wonderful things might be interested to compare and contrast, as all A-level students are encouraged to do, using the following example.

I rent in the glorious private sector. Last week the shower in my luxurious apartment started to join the Daily Mail’s latest efforts to stir me from my complacency by refusing to produce water at a temperature greater than a most miserly tepid. A few cool showers might be considered invigorating, but a series of ever-cooler ones is simply depressing, I assure you. So last Wednesday I phoned the managing agents to report the fault. The relevant person was not answering their phone, so I left a message. I heard nothing. I called back the next day, and was advised to speak to a different person, who proved equally reluctant to answer their phone (and if this is starting to sound rather familiar, you may be having a flash-back to a previous exposé of this agency’s sparkling efficiency. I certainly was.) I heard nothing. I called back the next day and left a further message, since the recipient seemed to have got no further in the bit of their training that tells them how to answer their phone. I followed this third message with an email.

That was last Friday and still no-one has even contacted me, never mind sorted out my cold shower problem. I rang back today, and have still got no further than voice mail, although the relevant person’s out-of-office message in response to my repeated email has now informed me that he will not be back until October 1st. I am left as I write with nothing resolved and with no option but to threaten to withhold my rent. I await dire warnings about my contractual obligations.

Back in my bit of the flatulent and useless public sector I can report that last quarter, 93.9% of inbound calls were answered by a human being, and the average time taken to answer calls was 20 seconds. Further than that, 98.7% of all repairs were completed within target (3hrs to 6 days depending on the urgency of the issue.) Of the total number of repairs, 99.05% of those categorised as emergency (target – 3 hrs. Yes, 3 hours) were done on time, with 98.24% of urgent category repairs (target – 24hrs) being completed on time. 80% of our tenants were satisfied with this service. 20% evidently have very high standards. Perhaps they should try renting in the much more wonderful private sector.

Now, have you all had time to do that comparing and contrasting thing? Happy for me now to encourage my staff to strive ever harder after private sector excellence? But then why let trivial things like facts get in the way of a good kicking for the public sector?

It’s about time Mr Shapps (who’s busy at the National Housing Federation’s conference today wittering on about the housing association sector and its need to “get its house in order”) and his coalition colleagues started looking at the real world, and stopped their ideological fantasies from blinding their sight.

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2 thoughts on “Aspiring to the private sector’s standards

  1. Interestingly in my corner of the private sector we are usually heartily praised before receiving pay freeze/notice of redundancies. And I was once impressed to learn that the NHS required 5 signatures to buy a hospital bed worth ~£1000. This is pretty much exactly the number of signatures I would require for a similar size purchase!

    Getting fed up with the “people who earn more or less than the Prime Minister” meme…

    As you can see I’m not particularly on Coalition message on this one, but I’ve decided if we can do pluralism in government we should also be able to handle constructive internal debate!

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