This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
OPINION Time for change

Professor Richard Kerley Two major public service stories have surfaced over recent weeks that should give us pause for thought as we wait for the Christie report to hit our desks (or screens). One is a salutary reminder of how rationalism in decision making can often be trumped by what in academic terms we often call ‘emotional‘ factors. The other concerns a young boy of about three who is struggling to cope with the implications of a rare condition – an emotional story in the genuine sense and one that it’s uncomfortable to use as illustration of a general proposition about our public services. But here goes; though I start with the salutary tale.

Outside of the launch of the Christie Commission, the Justice Secretary announced proposals to review the brigading of the eight police forces of Scotland. The fi re and rescue services have also been subject to review but they are overshadowed by a highly charged debate about policing, and one that has divided various ranks in the force and the chief constables of Scotland

along with their respective police board conveners. The consultation on this has now closed and we are told that the Christie commissioners will be ‘made aware‘ of the views expressed. Whatever the conclusion of the consultation – if such consultations can ever be said to yield a clear and fi rm conclusion – we know that the overwhelming view of the political classes is that a smaller number of larger forces will guarantee more cops on the beat. On top of possible mergers down to three or four, or even a mega-merger to a national police force, is the prospect of more back-offi ce effi ciencies including the sharing of control rooms, whether one for a Scotland-wide force or three in each of a reduced number of forces, the direction of travel is clear. Unfortunately what is also clear- from England – is that shared control rooms are problematic, to say the least. There, a plan to replace nearly 50 fi re service control rooms with nine regional centres is gathering dust, though naturally, it’s rather expensive dust at between £300-£500m in wasted capital and IT costs. The public statements, surprisingly low key in form, blame this on technical faults. The underlying reasons are more complex but essentially mainly turn on the inability of the various partners to co-operate. Same service, but affected by professional and geographic rivalries and

disputes. A willingness to co-operate can overcome many technical faults; unwillingness and resistance to change can be disguised by those same faults. That may be something that could be heading our way soon. The emotional story? That of a small boy in the Grampian area, with a rare eye condition that has unsuccessfully been operated on in Aberdeen. The story reported his grandmother’s claim that the child was denied the best treatment ‘because he’s Scottish.’ Emotive but incorrect; the two specialist centres where medics perform such operations are in London and Birmingham so a child from North Wales or Cornwall would be equally denied. But in her words are the bare bones of an idea that we might well pursue for this and other surgical specialities which we just can’t support in every hospital in Scotland. Regular visiting clinics or such specialisms. They may not be feasible for all specialities but they can be explored, because without such innovations our health service will see pressures that are leading to nurses’ organisations calling for hospital closures in England. Innovate or decline are the only options.

Richard Kerley is Professor of Management, Queen Margaret University

Sponsored by:

Supporting organisation:

This conference can contribute up to four hours towards your CPD target

A HOLYROOD MAGAZINE ONE DAY EVENT FOR ICT PROFESSIONALS 2nd Annual Public Sector Cloud Computing Conference


Tuesday 27th September, Edinburgh Speakers include:

Raymond O’Hare Director, OCSolutions and Former Director of Microsoft Scotland

Tom McEwan Senior Lecturer, Edinburgh Napier University; Chair, BCS Interaction specialist group; Scottish representative on the BCS Government Relations Group

Public Sector Early Bird Rate £99+VAT

Gerry Gavigan Chair, Open Source Consortium

Andy Tait Head of UK Strategy, VMWare and former Deputy Director, GCloud, Apps Store and Data Centre Consolidation, UK Cabinet Office

Book online before 29 July for early bird rate

27 June 2011 Holyrood 33

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80