Thursday, 29 April 2010

Eight or nine levels of management

I thought this letter deserved a wider audience. I have seen the organisational chart which Senator Ferguson was generous and kind enough to share; it is a truly superb piece of thoroughly professional work by Sarah Ferguson, and I will be researching comparable charts etc for a detailed review of the structure. I suggest that Peter Body and his "levels of management" skeptics ask for a copy.

That a large States department has no organisational chart is amazing - when I was working on a business continuity plan at work, one part of the plan was - quite obviously - an organisational chart, giving posts and responsibilities - and that is for a relatively small organisation. Someone at Heath can't be doing their job properly!

How the States, with large departments like Health, manage without one is, quite frankly, incredible, because any additions to staff will likely be on an ad hoc basis, dependent purely on small clusters, and will very likely involve duplication, because no one has the big picture to hand. Yet the Chief Officers of Health over this period were all charge of managing manage a department in which he was unaware of the detailed structure and work done by its members. Didn't they think it might be useful? Obviously each Chief Officer knew who was beneath him, and each level of the pyramid knew their level, and perhaps a few levels below, but no one could have had the complete picture of how it all fitted together, because they had no chart.

From Senator Sarah Ferguson.

THE letter by John Henwood (JEP, 22 April) regarding the organisational structures of various States departments has been brought to my attention.
I happen to have the only chart for the Hospital and I have sent this - all 17 pages - to Mr Henwood.

When I first joined the Health Committee, under the presidency of the former Senator Syvret, my first question was to ask for a copy of the organisational structure.

The reply was that this is all we have - the top three layers of management - and if you want any more you will have to do it yourself. So I did it.
I have circulated it to various officials, getting a variety of reactions. These varied from the dismissive to 'how nice'. I have some hopes that the Comprehensive Spending Review may actually address the implications of these charts.

There is evidence that there is too much administration - for some departments within the Hospital there are eight or nine levels of management from the front line to the Health Minister. The Comptroller and Auditor General's report last year on the structure at the Hospital said that it was not possible to evaluate the cost of management because these costs were not known. While I understand improvements have been made the cost of management is not yet known. My understanding is that it should be about 6%.

I hope that the Comprehensive Spending Review addresses some of these issues. Meanwhile I have other departments in my sights!

On a different but related matter, I fear that the subtlety of my question on photocopiers - and I didn't mention bottled water - was lost on your reporter (JEP, 17 April).

Any competent organisation can extract information from the computerised ledgers and identify exactly what has been spent on what. The States ledgers were in such an appalling state that it was not possible to undertake more than very approximate analyses.

This was due to the fact that the financial management function was so poor. Considerable work has been undertaken to rationalise the ledgers and the Public Accounts Committee will no doubt be following this up.

This has been a constant theme of the Comptroller and Auditor General and my Public Accounts Committee and has figured in our reports and my speeches.
Similarly, it is important that the accounts of all the organisations supported by the States should be published in the interests of transparency. This was also mentioned during the hearing.

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