How the States has squandered your cash

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How the States has squandered your cash

Post by GD on Thu 26 Mar 2009, 3:03 pm

THE States has been wasting taxpayers’ money for years, according to a scathing new report.
The damning verdict is contained within a summary report on phase one of the Fundamental Spending Reviews, and confirms many islanders’ worst fears.
Not only has the States allowed a ‘financially profligate culture’ to flourish, the review carried out by consultants Tribal Helm also found that some departments had been providing ‘gold-plated services’ in areas where there was no need for any government involvement.
Tribal Helm, appointed by Treasury and Resources at a cost of £350,000 to carry out the reviews, had been tasked with analysing the States to see how each department and function across the organisation could save money by working more efficiently.
Phase one of the review, which was carried out over a six-week period at the start of this year, identified a total of 298 potential areas where improvements in efficiency could be made – 152 of which were specific to individual departments.
‘Phase one of the Fundamental Spending Review of the States of Guernsey’s expenditure has revealed an organisation with financial, structural and cultural characteristics that has contributed to the less-than-efficient delivery of services and an inherent lack of evidence-based decision making,’ said the report, which is released today.
The States comes predominately under fire for its lack of budgetary control or joined-up management.

  • Further details of the review are expected to emerge at a press briefing being held today.
  • You can download the full report as a PDF - click here


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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by kingcolemk on Thu 26 Mar 2009, 3:45 pm

A good start would be not to waste a third of a million quid on a bunch of bean counters to charge around the Island and claim to have got the economy all sorted in six weeks.

I think not.

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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by EDDIE on Thu 26 Mar 2009, 5:33 pm

kingcolemk wrote:A good start would be not to waste a third of a million quid on a bunch of bean counters to charge around the Island and claim to have got the economy all sorted in six weeks.

I think not.

I could have told them that they are useless money wasters over a couple of pints and a bag of dry roasted nuts.

Is an actual figure going to be released.
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by Dell on Thu 26 Mar 2009, 6:00 pm

What, not another review by overcharging UK consultants?

Do we never learn?

Bye bye money......
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by karma on Thu 26 Mar 2009, 6:10 pm

I was more interested in Dave Jones saying that we do not operate in the same manner as the UK/EU - so the 'consultants' couldn't make a good report based on the way we are run - because we are different!!! Right, so how many times have we heard that this law or that law has to be passed to keep us in line with the UK/EU!!!!! Also, if they (the States) knew this was the case why spend more TAXPAYER'S MONEY (that's you and me friends) on a report that Dave now says is inappropriate to Guernsey!!!! (would this have been the same reaction if they had come out squeaky clean??? and polishing their halos......I think not) :x
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by Dave Jones on Sat 28 Mar 2009, 9:03 am

Karma



Some of our Laws being in line with the UK/EU has nothing whatsoever to do with this spending review. First of all some of the things Tribal Helm believe are wasteful are in fact necessary for a small community such as ours, let me give you some examples. One of the things that they have picked on is the fact that we have more public toilets than London, they are referring to all the public toilets we have around the coast, they of course have no idea the number of people who use our beaches and coastal paths all year round and who use these facilities regularly. They also do not believe the Buses should receive a subsidy from the taxpayer, The states disagrees and we are trying by this subsidy to encourage more use of the public transport system and in any event they have got that wrong because the bus subsidy will now come from part of the road fuel tax.

One other thing they say we should get rid of is the subsidy we give to our farmers, the few farmers we have left look after hundreds of vergees of farm land, protect one of the premier breeds of cattle in the world and produce some of the best quality milk in the world and unlike British farmers they don’t receive any money from the EU so of course we subsidise our Guernsey farms.

Like all UK consultants that come to Guernsey they will always put a UK slant on everything. Guernsey is different in so many ways, we for instance have to supply all the services of a small independent country, and we don’t have another county up the road who we can call on for help. We also have do that, without getting the benefit of economies of scale. Unlike the UK, we have always put services before the bottom line on a balance sheet, that was because in the past we could afford to do so, and while I accept that is no longer the case and there are areas where we need to save money we will still have to provide the best we can for our people, However and of huge importance, we have no debt and while all these people come here and tell us how bad we are doing, when you compare us to the country these advisers come from, there is simply no comparison, our public services are some of the finest in the world, we have a very stable economy not as yet suffering the same depression of the rest of Europe, first class education system and the highest home ownership anywhere in western Europe. A pension pot unheard of in most jurisdictions, comparatively low taxes and charges and a high wage level for the majority of our people employed. Just compare that to the UK who are currently the basket case of Europe, they are billions of pounds in debt, massive unemployment, an un affordable benefit system together with massive amounts of benefit fraud, their public services are in meltdown with their people some of the highest taxed in the world, their immigration is out of control and many of their cities are becoming the crime capitols of Europe, pensioners who go to prison because they can’t afford to pay their council taxes and a criminal justice system that fails thousands of people, so you will forgive me, if as one of your elected deputies put Guernsey’s interests slightly above the dubious advice of a group of UK consultants. As one other Vale Deputy said to me last week, when you go around the island and see what we have and how we do it, you don’t get the feeling that we should be holding up the UK as a the model we ought to be following. That doesn’t mean that there are not parts of this report that we could adopt in terms of procurement of goods or areas of government that could not be privatised which would produce savings, although my experience is that commercialisation and privatisation inevitably leads to higher charges to our people.
So let’s see what the details are in the next round before we all get to excited We live in a great place, with resilient people and a great future for our children and grandchildren there is so much we have to be grateful for and we will come through this downturn. I believe passionately that Guernsey will be back in the black in the not to distant future, if you believe the journal of doom the Guernsey Press, then we might as well all go and drip our wrists into a sink. I don’t believe that I a can not find many other deputies who do either but as the editor of the press would like to run the island by cabinet government it is not hard to see where they are coming from.

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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by karma on Sat 28 Mar 2009, 12:22 pm

Dave

Still leaves the question - why waste £350,000 of our (tax payers) money on a report that does not apply to our lifestyle - that in itself is a gross waste of taxpayers money!!! Especially if our States Deputies, having instigated the investigation and the making of the report, are now going to shrug it off with a 'oh no, that doesn't apply to Guernsey' - as a hard up pensioner that makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever








:x
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by Spirit on Sat 28 Mar 2009, 12:41 pm

Dave, could you change your font please. I am mildly dyslexic and find you small text to be unreadable.


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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by karma on Sat 28 Mar 2009, 12:52 pm

Spirit - go to Dave's text - highlight it - then press the CTRL button and using the wheel on your mouse - either zoom in or out whichever way you want it - but it will make it larger/smaller :)
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by wayside on Sat 28 Mar 2009, 12:56 pm

I think that someone should be employed solely to go from department to department and try and save money, it should be easy enough to show that the savings are worth the salery.

I would think that a saving of 5-10 times the salery is achievable, the problem at the moment is there is no incentive to make a saving, we all here that a department will spend money befor a year end to make sure they are not cut back too much next year etc.

I susect the same jobs are being done by different departments where bringing some jobs together would save money.

And I agree with Karma that asking a UK company to look at this was a waste of money if the report can not be taken as accurate because of local issues, surly those issues should have been taken into account or what was the use of the report.
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by wayside on Sat 28 Mar 2009, 1:11 pm

I think that someone should be employed solely to go from department to department and try and save money, it should be easy enough to show that the savings are worth the salery.

I would think that a saving of 5-10 times the salery is achievable, the problem at the moment is there is no incentive to make a saving, we all here that a department will spend money befor a year end to make sure they are not cut back too much next year etc.

I susect the same jobs are being done by different departments where bringing some jobs together would save money.

And I agree with Karma that asking a UK company to look at this was a waste of money if the report can not be taken as accurate because of local issues, surly those issues should have been taken into account or what was the use of the report.
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by karma on Sat 28 Mar 2009, 1:27 pm

I think the departments need a looking a - just because things have always been done one way is no excuse for wasting money.....I am always aghast at how people can waste money that isn't their's to waste!!! Three years ago I spent a lot of money having plans drawn up for my house, as it is large, one set were to make it into a family home with en-suite bedrooms etc etc., the other to sub-divide and have two apartments! After a lot of money being spent on the architect and several 'incongruous' letters - both were eventually passed 1. in principal and 2. Ready to build....I wanted these to sell with the house! At the beginning of this month I went to Environment to have these plans extended by another three years....so far, so good the young lady who dealt with me could not have been more charming or helpful, and assured me everything was in order and it would be processed and returned to me in the near future! Then a fortnight later I received 2 indentical letters on the same day (under seperate cover = 2 x stamps) telling me that they had been put forward and someone may be required to come down and look at the house etc etc and I would be contacted!!! I telephoned and asked why someone would be having to come down to look at the house when the plans were already passed and was told that these would still have to be put into the Guernsey Press (why) and after that I should hear!! Why I asked was I told that someone might have to come down and look??? To which I was told, ignore that, it's a standard letter.......who has the time/money to send out unnecessary paperwork - not to mention man-hours being wasted......and why did it have to go in the Press as it was only a 3 year renewal???? waste, waste, waste :x
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by wayside on Sat 28 Mar 2009, 1:47 pm

I am sure that there are thousands of small wasteage issues that would not happen in a private company except possibly Finance, and the Legal profession etc where there seems to be a licence to print money anyway.

It would make a good project just to pick a dept and spend a week or two just looking at where savings could be made.
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by Dell on Sun 29 Mar 2009, 10:11 am

Picking up on Dave Jones very helpful explanation above, firstly I am grateful that he takes the time and trouble to provide an explanation as opposed to his less visible colleagues, who apart from election time appear to be very quiet, and for that I thank him.

How about this for an idea? Instead of paying for UK so called 'specialists' or 'experts' who have absolutely no concept of the unique way of life here in the Channel Islands, we offer to provide them with our 'experts' - for a sum of course - to provide guidance on how to run the country? After all, we are effectively a 'pilot' business model which, in comparison to the UK, is working and could therefore be extended. The money made will claw back some of what we have previously wasted on paying 'experts' that have been, IMO, a total waste of time and money. This will help to fill in the 'black hole'!

Any thoughts Dave or others?


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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by Dave Jones on Sun 29 Mar 2009, 10:54 am

I am sorry about the font , I hope this is better.



We won’t know whether the £350,000 will be well spent until we see the detail of the report, some of the recommendations could save millions, what we have to be careful not to do, is to throw out the baby the bathwater the bath the plumbing and the taps in the race to save money on services that the public require. As to the comment made by Wayside, that “someone should to go from department to department and try and save money” that is exactly what this current review is doing. I agree with you that this report is likely to throw up several areas where we CAN save money and as I said if the detail report comes back in June and identify’s these savings they will receive my support. Karma the vagaries of the Environment department is a whole topic on its own and you will forgive me if I don’t get bogged down in that subject on this thread. Dell I never wanted these consultants in the first place, I think we pretty much know where money is being wasted, the definition of a consultant is someone who borrows you watch and then charges you for telling you the time. On the last point about the “black hole” of course any savings we can make will help fill any deficit, so I am willing to support those savings this is what I said in my manifesto.

I stated in 2004 that we needed to get government spending under control the public also showed in the lead up to the Zero 10 debate that it is their number one priority. We have made real progress in that area, although I would be the first to accept we still have same way to go before the public will be convinced that all unnecessary wasteful expenditure has been completely eradicated. I do not support a profligate tax and spend strategy. We need to learn once again how to live within our means. Not automatically put our hands deeper into people’s packets in order to continue to spend in the same careless way. However that does not mean that I would allow our public services to go into decline either. My solution for increased public spending on our vital services is to use the money we have saved, by not wasting it elsewhere.



I haven’t changed my view.



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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by karma on Sun 29 Mar 2009, 12:21 pm

Dave

I used the Environment Department as an example - not for you to get bogged down as you put it - it was simply an example of States Departments wasting money (I don't think for one minute that it is only the one department) - In view of 'The report' this sort of wastage should at least raise a bit of interest as savings at any level would assist the economy - bearing in mind that it is (as always) our money they are wasting!!!!
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Re: How the States has squandered your cash

Post by wayside on Sun 29 Mar 2009, 5:15 pm

How do these people from the UK do their reports?, do they actually spend a lot of time here observing the day to day running of departments or are they mainly relying on figures on a spreadsheet and reports etc.
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