Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html en-gb 30 Tue 23 Sep 2014 13:40:53 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html Peter Galbavy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=95#comment23 Another aspects of this; As soon as a "private" school takes even a single penny of public money, either through support grants or through tax concessions for being a "charity" (which they are not, as any sane person who defines "charity" will agree) then they should be immediately required to conform to the same rquirements as any school or education institute that is wholly funded by the tax-payer and managed by whatever body does that anymore. This means equality of education in gender, religion, etc. At the moment many so-called faith-schools happily take taxpayer money and then use this to exclude those who do not meet their own agendas.Then, extend this to cover all parts of public services including all those little get-rich-off-us contractors who hive off huge fortunes for construction work, car-park management, street cleaning etc. Tue 12 Oct 2010 10:52:06 GMT+1 Dave http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=91#comment22 I totally agree with northernstarI joined local government in 1988 - was paid much less than counterparts in the private sector but was told "at least you have your pension" Now I am starting to think about the pension - a Cabinet filled with millionaires wants to take it away from me - through hoping that I don't live long enough to claim it as they keep moving the finishing line further and further into the future.I remember the yuppies of the 1980's and 1990's - where money was no problem in the private sector - again I told "at least you have your pension" whilst the public sector did not get bonuses or Christmas packages from the profits being generated by the tonne through wealer-dealers in the city. The public sector just carried on collecting the yuppies rubbish, treating them in hopital and burying the odd one who passed away from too much wild living from the huge profits they made in the dot.com revolution.Most public servants have a committment to serving people and not profit. The ethos of the public sector is the public well-being - it is not driven by money, profit, shareholders, take-overs and making people redundant to increase market share and profit for its ownersThe Coalition insults all public servants and the people they care and serve - the Coalition seems to enjoy a constant attack on the public sector - what have nurses, gravediggers,cleaners, school dinner ladies and police officers ever done to deserve this attack?The Coalition seems determined to revive some form of class-warfare between the public and private sectors. The Coalition is devisive - the public sector wants to serve - for no-one ever became rich working for the public sector - how many Greens and Sugars have emerged from the public sector?The public sector has the latent power to bring this evil government down. What would happen if the fire, ambulance and police all resort to a withdrawal of services- plus no refuse collected and health services reduced - no burials or cremations - no taxes collected - no benefits paid - etc etc. Like it or not the Government and wider community would have to take note. At some point enough will be enough Mon 11 Oct 2010 19:31:22 GMT+1 Northerstar2010 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=87#comment21 I have worked in the public sector since 1988. I left school with good qualifications and for many years earned a lot less than my friends and a some points would have been better off on benefits. I have continued to study hard ( I am now doing my third degree) to increase my knowledge to help the people I serve as a public sector worker. Due to ill health ( I don't claim benefits) and bringing up children I work part time and earn £800 per month. My children will become productive tax paying members of society. I am worth every penny I am paid. I have paid into my public sector pension and am expected to get £6000 per year when it comes time to retire. For years I have went without the holidays that my friends could afford. Now that recession has hit public sector workers are being seen as some kind of target. We are wasteful and inefficient and their is need to reduce this waste through private sectors ethics and ideas.No thank you I say that is what got us in this mess in the first place. As for the PM, it is a tough job but quite frankly he won't be going hungry. Sun 03 Oct 2010 15:24:58 GMT+1 Framer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=83#comment20 So Mark does earn more than the PM? Tue 28 Sep 2010 20:41:29 GMT+1 crash http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=79#comment19 Most charities and certainly most government offices are very poorly run,usually little thought is paid to cost or effectiveness.It used to be that if you worked for the civil service you gave up some income in return for a good pension now it seems you get the best of both worlds.The NHS is a gigantic waste of money and should be phased out over the next few years that would just about right the economy,also selling off the BBC to private enterprise would help. Tue 28 Sep 2010 08:58:22 GMT+1 Framer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=75#comment18 Mark Easton has problems with this issue which is why he seems wandery and confused and fails to be as incisive as he is on immigration and crime where the left/liberal position is clear.He is himself a public sector worker, earning more than the prime minister, an interest that should but can't be declared.A public sector worker is easily defined as someone who is a member of a public sector pension scheme (like the BBC's) and thus pays very little towards their gold plated, inflation proofed, final salary pensions and lump sums. Unnoticed, many charities and similar tangential bodies are now being allowed into these schemes. Fri 24 Sep 2010 10:40:55 GMT+1 philmus http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=70#comment17 I have just seen the news reports regarding Suffolk County Council wanting to outsource every service to charities and the private sector. I am sure most public sector workers are happy with the idea that certain functions can be carried out by private sector bodies, particularly backroom tasks such as IT and finance. However, there are certain functions that can only be provided by a solid independant base. This is what public servants provide. I for one would not be happy with private firms operating services such as trading standards, child protection, environmental health or building control. Councils run public protection services which involve criminal prosecution and legal enforcement. These do not sit easily in the private sector as there will always be accusations of bias or vested interest. For example, would the public be happy with pollution control enforcement being handed over to a large waste company or planning enforcement in the hands of a large building firm?Then there is the problem of services which are not commercially attractive. If nobody bids for the service will they just die or will they be handed over to voluntary groups without the necessary qualifications or experience?Lord Digby Jones wrote an open letter to Philip Green on his appointment to a government role. For someone who is a prominent proponent of the free market and privitisation he made a very salient statement. His instruction to Mr Green was to stick to addressing those parts of the public sector which match private sector functions and to realise that there are some things in the public sector that do not equate with the private sector and cannot be sensibly passed to the private sector. He was clear in stating that these areas must remain in public hands. Thu 23 Sep 2010 22:22:06 GMT+1 DocNightingale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=66#comment16 You're quite right - many nurses are now employed by charities, private health firms etc If the money for comes from government surely they are still public sector.But what about construction workers? Their firms are all private, but particularly during recession many of the contracts are paid for by government. Are they public sector?I think in a mixed economy the division is often going to be unclear. Wed 22 Sep 2010 09:50:22 GMT+1 jon112dk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=62#comment15 Many people who think of themselves as private sector are entirely dependent on payment from the state.Example: construction is private sector but much of the large scale work, particularly during the recession, is state funded.Probably in a mixed economy the the division is not that easy to make. Wed 22 Sep 2010 09:44:08 GMT+1 brownandout http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=58#comment14 It is time for a wholesale review of the public sector with no sacred cows. Clearly the current model of stop/start spending is no way to operate.The debate should centre around how best to commission and operate services.As Mark Easton correctly points out it would now seem absurd to have a state owned motor industry, is it now time to challenge if Health, Social Care, Policing, Council Services, Education should operate on a competitive private sector model where the state only commissions the service and the private sector operates the day to day provision?On a slight aside, I think it is wrong to have any public sector employees earning more than the PM, let alone 10,000 and shows how out of kilter public sector earnings have become. Wed 22 Sep 2010 09:39:35 GMT+1 redrobb http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=54#comment13 What age did you ask those children about nationlised industries, 13! Perhaps you should also have explained that some of these former public industries were bailed out by the tax payer through mis-managed private companies, then ironically during Maggies tenure allowed to go back into the private sector with their public debt written off! I imagine those 13 year olds would be nodding off! Besides what street cred wise 13yo gives a 4 XXXX, more interested in latest mobile phones, Ipod, Xbox and chilled out tweeds........PS what's you're salary? Anyone individual earning >£50k is wrong and in the present climate quite disgusting, I'm quite sure there may be some higher echlons in the charity groups are getting just that! Wed 22 Sep 2010 08:54:07 GMT+1 JunkkMale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=50#comment12 Timing is be everything.One can see why such things can come to matter.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8017467/BBC-opens-its-books-to-spending-watchdog.html Wed 22 Sep 2010 08:37:24 GMT+1 dinosaur http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=45#comment11 It also seems worthwhile to remind ourselves of the real situation at the bottom end (30%?)of the labour market. With a raft of means-tested benefits payable to those in work, the private sector employer cannot incentivise his/her workers with higher pay - clawback of benefits turns pay bargaining into a negotiation about the level of subsidy the taxpayer provides to that business' prices and profits. It looks suicidal (in business terms) for the business to fail to fully exploit the payroll subsidies provided by the taxpayer. In the public and pseudo-private sectors, the artificiality of the situation becomes absurd - pay bargaining becomes a discussion of which label will be attached to the money - so much called "earned wage", so much called "benefit generously supplied by the taxpayer". Wed 22 Sep 2010 07:19:15 GMT+1 clamdip lobster claws http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=41#comment10 Mark,If they hadn't raided all the gold bars in Fort Knox and substituted them with Tungsten there'd be enough money in the public till for everyone to have a comfortable retirement. Now that they've bankrupted the country, they start to go after teacher's pensions, increasing pupil numbers in class and sending granny back from the retirement home. The issue is corruption. Fix corruption, jail the Mafia politicians and banksters so that average, hard working citizens don't have to go back to work at 65 to support themselves. We were all sold a lie so that we would bankroll criminals in their war ventures. They swill their champagne, smoke their Cuban cigars and refer to us as "The Foggy Bottom" and now they want to steal your public pension. Is there no end to their greed? Wed 22 Sep 2010 04:19:06 GMT+1 PaulRM http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=37#comment9 If one is talking about transferring public service provision to the private sector, then one is tacitly accepting that such a provider is entitled to a make a (reasonable?) profit. The excuse goes that the costs incurred by the public sector will be driven down by a priavte sector provider, and hence generate profit. More importantly, the argument requires that costs can be reduced by such a significant margin, that even after taking profits, the ultimate cost to the taxpayer/recipient will be less. For the government to know this with the certainty they imply requires that they understand how the service is presently provided, the business model to which service proivision adheres, and a clear idea where costs can be cut. Hence, if they know all this already, why don't they implement their solution and save the jobs and livelihoods of all those who will be damaged or destroyed by throwing away what we have, keep the notional "profit" for other investments, and avoid gambling on an untried and unproven private secotor provider. The objective of any private sector organisation is to maximise returns for its stakeholders, that in turn means increasing profits year-on-year, which of necessity means minimising costs - the likely end game of which is that their employees will be on minimum wage, overworked, poorly motivated, and transisent. Should one need evidence for this go into any hospital and see who provides (if one can call it that) cleaning services - notorious as they are for their inadequacy.This is what DC would have us believe is the way forward, and will bring about his idealogical white elephant, the Big Society. What this will ultimately achieve is the removal from public scrutiny and accountability more of the services we the ordinary public are dependent upon, allowing successive administrations to say "nothing to do with me guv". I fail to see how this is an improvement. Examples of unequivocal success in the transfer of public service provision to the private sector is littered with diasters, the end result of which is the need for the taxpayer to sort the mess out. This is nothing more than an idealogical drive to reduce the state and its place in our lives - something I don't recall being an explicit part of the Tory manifesto. The real worry is where this idealogical rollercoaster will take us, and how much will have been jettisoned along the way. This has all the hallmarks of JK Galbraith's take on US economic policy, which he feared enshrined private wealth and public squalor - which, by the way, has lead to more US citizens being classified as below the poverty line in many-a-year. Oh happy prospect! Tue 21 Sep 2010 22:25:26 GMT+1 The Forgotten Man http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=33#comment8 The fundamental test of if it is private sector or public sector is the simple answer to the simple questions:Am I in need of this service and have to pay for it?If yes then is a government service and those employed in it are state employees.Could I do without this service but still have to pay for it anyway?If the answer is yes it is a(n)(unnecessary) government service and those employed in it are also state employees.The other crucial difference between a public "service" and a private one is that the customers can walk away from the private one, which tends to improve the delivery. The public sector can deliver abysmal service and there is very often no real comparison to use as a benchmark.Independent schools are a good example of an alternative being available for comparison and about 10% do the walk, many more would like to.But it still doesn't make much difference to the public sector effort.If a private company has most of its business in the public sector it is in reality an extension of the public service it supplies.Again , lack of comparison may well see the standards rot creeping into that organisation.If it is only a minor part of it's business then it will probably be better.Most construction companies on road maintenance are good examples of "private wholly engaged in public works" and we all know how bad a deal we get from that arrangement. Hope that helps clear that up! Tue 21 Sep 2010 21:04:25 GMT+1 davidm http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=29#comment7 "in view of the established fact that private sector pay rates are now below those in the public sector"-this is really a misleading an inaccurate comparison by people who attempt to make a political point without considering the facts that they are not comparing like with like. For many parts of the public sector there is no [or very little] equivalent in the private sector - firefighters, the police, the armed forces (paid to risk their lives 24/7), prison officers, parts of the NHS, ambulance crews, academics, exist in the public sector and are skilled or risky jobs whilst there is no equivalent to retail shop workers, unskilled labourers, or to mega rich bankers who exist in the private sector but not in the public sector. Where there are professions employing people in both the private and public sector who can easily transfer eg doctors, lawyers, economists, teachers, nurses, accountant, the salaries are often if not always lower in the public sector which is the price people pay for [usually] better job security. Ultimately it is a competitive market and the public sector competes with the private sector for people with the skills it needs. There is traditionally a lack of downward wage flexibility in the more unionised parts of the public sector, compared with private sector firms where employees sometimes agree to take wage cuts to keep their jobs, but unions in Ireland have shown it need not be like that.ultimately we get what we pay for - if we pay low salaries in the public sector it is harder to recruit the right people. people forget that back in 1997 everybody knew there werent enough nurses in hospitals and too many pupils per teacher. And by letting the professions manage things themselves they were wholly unaccountable. Better pay led to more recruitment at the same time as more managers, and like other employers the public sector is now going through a process of delayering its management.as for what is 'fair' for the public sector to pay...why is somebody lucky enough to have been given a talend for kicking a round ball worth more than a dedicated nurse? Fairness has little to do with pay, the best we can aim for is that those with similar jobs in the private sector should get similar pay. in some countries it is as easy to sack a public sector worker as in the private sector - with the upside that it is as easy to pay them more to retain them if needed. sadly in the uk public sector managers arent trusted by the politicians to manage their own resourses and cant decide who to recruit or who to fire - instead the politicians insist on arbitrary requirements such as not cutting the number of 'frontline' workers, for wholly political reasons - whereas it would be so much better if we could every year sack those politicians [another kind of public servant] who dont do a good job. Tue 21 Sep 2010 20:27:19 GMT+1 watriler http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=25#comment6 There is a careless confusion of fees and employed remuneration. However the bonus or high pay discussion seem to neglect that it is rarely the top man (yes usually male) who delivers the real value. A little humility would not go a miss for CEO's and their ilk to recognise it is almost always a team that delivers. And a team culture is better engendered by remuneration scheme that is seen as fair and not always a win (boss) lose (workers) relationship. A bit more penetration of analysis is called for.PS: dont forget the reason we have a public sector is the failure of the private sector to deliver key services in the past. Are we all entirely happy with the privatised energy industry, rail transport, water etc? Tue 21 Sep 2010 14:52:16 GMT+1 tarquin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=20#comment5 I'm not sure what you're getting at Mark - ask today's children about the pay, when it used to far less a few decades ago, or are we talking about babies now, asked in a few years when it could be potentially slashed dramaticallyPersonally I found the results-based pay for teachers and police pretty fair - they weren't astronomical compared to the PM and numbered in the few, they were also working hard and getting resultsThe NHS figures were staggering for the sheer scale, even without the GPs, who were only a quarter, but the local councils were truly astounding - recruiting highly paid unelected chief executives from the private sector to 'deliver', being paid more than various experienced heads of central government, and they even admitted in Liverpool they are 120 million in debt...great 'delivery'The BBC is a different issue, I understand that the BBC is competing in the media, but I wonder whether the recruits in non-media roles (such as HR, finance etc) need to be taking home as much as a private sector equivalent, their pay cuts to move over from the private sector were fairly nominal - I don't think I'd miss 100k if I was on 400... Tue 21 Sep 2010 14:46:41 GMT+1 steve http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=16#comment4 When a public sector worker gets £150k people are angry,yet many bankers wouldn't get out of bed for that! All these high salaries come from the masses either more or less directly,private companies are in it for profit so squeeze the workforce but not their own pay. It's all depends on whether you think the majority are here solely to support an elite or you believe in a fairer society. Private is best? Look at the PFI schemes! Tue 21 Sep 2010 14:45:55 GMT+1 Brian_NE37 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=12#comment3 " If a charity, competing with a profit-making company for the contract to deliver government services, chooses to pay private-sector pay rates to attract the best CEO, will taxpayers care? "Hmm, in view of the established fact that private sector pay rates are now below those in the public sector, do you really mean that sentence? Tue 21 Sep 2010 14:17:52 GMT+1 dinosaur http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=8#comment2 Try not to overlook the institutional convenience of all this -fewer opportunities for people to seek equal pay for work of equal worth ("nothing to do with us, negiotiate your contract with your employer") and no need to accept the responsibilty for those "tough decisions"("we didn't make them redundant, all we did was choose not to renew a contract with one of our suppliers"). Tue 21 Sep 2010 14:04:46 GMT+1 WolfiePeters http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=4#comment1 I don't support ludicrous salaries or bonuses, though, as I have written elsewhere, pay me £ 5 M and I promise to shut up (the offer remains open). Seriously, the priority should be public sector efficiency more than public sector pay. If the rest of the hospital can run pefectly well without an army of administrators, then the hospital does not need to pay an army of administrators. If we need to offer high salaries to keep our best consultants in the UK, then we have to pay it. Nurses and other vital staff should be paid enough to have a reasonable life (buy a decent house) and to attract sufficently able people into the profession. As for Bruce Forsyth et al, I thought most of the BBC programmes are technically bought in (supposedly to save on costs)?When I ask for public sector efficiency, I'm not claiming the private sector is wonderfully efficient, because I know that isn't. However, it's generally slightly less bad and it's not paid directly from our tax contributions. Tue 21 Sep 2010 13:43:38 GMT+1 John Ellis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markeaston/2010/09/who_are_the_public_servants.html?page=0#comment0 Am i a public sector worker.?I draw money from the public purse(benefits)I improve social cohesion and facilities through organisational networking.I save the council wads of cash and the local services wads of cash.To much is placed on pay and not enough on provision of services...Liverpool is 120 million in debt and they say they say they have payed good money to the people that have created his debt, so are they really the right people for the job? Give me a telephone no wage check and ill get liverpool in just as much debt as would anyone that followed this line of success. Tue 21 Sep 2010 13:07:23 GMT+1