Council efficiency programmes- the cult unleashed

Like many councils, the one I work for is using very expensive consultants to deliver an efficiency programme. Because I won’t be here when the programme really kicks in I’m able to observe it from afar and from what I see it’s a bit like joining a cult.

 I’d hate to diss the actual programme in question so I’ll make up my own and use that as a stand-in. I’ll call mine something like, ooh I don’t know, Council Reorganisation and Performance Programme. CRaPP for short.

 So the CRaPP consultants are brought in to deliver some CRaPP training. The programme started in industry so its links to local government are pretty tenuous but let’s not dwell on the negatives. I attended a CRaPP training session (three line whip) where we were taught how to become one with the CRaPP. Actually in the session I attended they forgot to explain one of the most important principles and referred to it in its acronym for about an hour so we didn’t have a clue what was going on. Apparently no one either cared enough or was brave enough to ask what the hell they were talking about.

 Anyway, CRaPP (I’m loving this) is an input/ output model and to demonstrate this we all had to make paper aeroplanes. I was in charge of folding a piece of paper in half and passing it to my neighbour who was in charge of folding the top corners in. Our paper aeroplanes failed to make the grade and were rejected. The lesson being that we neeed to… I can’t remember actually, I was trying to cut my wrists with my paper aeroplane while thinking that I could have been in a school doing some proper work.

 Anyway, the idea is that everyone has CRaPP notice boards and CRaPP work areas and that we chant to the CRaPP gods every Monday morning while sacrificing a small child on the bonfire of our dignity. I may have made the last bit up but you get the picture.

 Out of an office of ten, there will be only three left come the end of March but they are already being drawn deeper and deeper into the CRaPP. They have to attend meetings and training session with CRaPP Champions and they’re expected to apply CRaPP to every minute of every day. Their CRaPP work will be inspected. Senior members of staff walk round with a glazed look in their eye muttering, ‘my work is CRaPP, everything I do is CRaPP.’

 I’m glad I’m out of it to be perfectly honest.


13 Responses to Council efficiency programmes- the cult unleashed

  1. Mrs A says:

    Another inspired post! I agree – it all sounds utter CRaAP!

  2. Very good post! I am sure the CRaPP you refer to bears no resemblance to the Crapita organisation so often criticised in Private Eye!

    I think the basic premise – of external consultants – is one that has been a constant bugbear of local government and public services. In some ways, it’s bizarre that the current government are keen to see more private involvement when the involvement so far has spectacularly failed to achieve anything.

    Personally, I take issue with consultants per se. Generally, my experience has been that consultants are overpaid, undertalented, verbose, cheesey and onto a nice earner. It should be the role of current management to resolve the issues, and if they are unable to, consultancy is not the answer, but rather a change of management.

    Enjoy wallowing in your CRaPP, even if it is only for a short while longer!

    • citizenr says:

      Thank you! isn’t it strange how everyone can get so caught up in a strange cult of improvement when they’ve paid so much for it? I can’t wait for the bit when the CRaPP champions come and inspect our office for tidiness…

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  4. Mean Mr Mustard says:

    Being a soon-departing interested bystander is quite fun when the corporate lunatics take over the asylum. Get your management theory textbooks out, and observe closely.

    Wait for your failing organisation to lurch beyond the silly staff initiatives consultancy CRaPP phase into full-blown crisis top down management overcontrol mode. This is where somebody on shockingly high pay, and with presumably better things to do, has to personally approve ALL individual requests for funding of tea and biscuits in meetings. Seriously.

  5. citizenr says:

    That person could be me! I could launch CRaPP for real and see how long it takes for anyone to notice as I laugh all the way to the bank. And no custard creams. From now on it’s tap water and rich tea only.

    • Mean Mr Mustard says:

      Rich Tea? Anything described as ‘Rich’ is an obvious reputational risk, best avoided in these ‘ere austere times. Even in the good old days, the best one could ever expect was Rover Assortment. Probably called that becuase they weren’t so much better than dog biscuits.

      I suspect the reason my very senior managers grabbed the tea caddy and petty cash is because they lost effective control of everything they should have been managing, and micromanagement is always a good displacement activity.

      • citizenr says:

        Good point. Let’s amend that to ‘glass of water and a nibble on a National Stratgies folder (one folder to be shared between ten employees).’

  6. Allison says:

    Ever thought of doing stand up?

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