Woefully inadequate

July 29, 2008 11:06 AM

The results of an inquiry into the loss of 25 million child benefit records have been released, they are reported in the Times:

"The loss of 25 million child benefit records, complete with sensitive personal information, was brought about by a “woefully inadequate system” being used by staff who were working on a “muddle through” ethos, a damning report has found.


The 59-page report found that there were “cultural failures” at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and practices at the organisation were “far from what they should have been”."

The description of a "muddle through" ethos is pretty telling.  Our public services are too often the victim of muddle through management.  Ministers, who are normally inexperienced and only in place for a couple of years at a time, can't do much more than muddle through.  The shortcomings of political leadership lead to weaknesses in the rest of the organisation.  If public services continue to be run by the political-bureaucratic hierarchy they will continue to make the kind of mistakes we saw with the data loss at HMRC and, more recently, the Ministry of Defence and nine hospital trusts.

The results of an inquiry into the loss of 25 million child benefit records have been released, they are reported in the Times:

"The loss of 25 million child benefit records, complete with sensitive personal information, was brought about by a “woefully inadequate system” being used by staff who were working on a “muddle through” ethos, a damning report has found.


The 59-page report found that there were “cultural failures” at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and practices at the organisation were “far from what they should have been”."

The description of a "muddle through" ethos is pretty telling.  Our public services are too often the victim of muddle through management.  Ministers, who are normally inexperienced and only in place for a couple of years at a time, can't do much more than muddle through.  The shortcomings of political leadership lead to weaknesses in the rest of the organisation.  If public services continue to be run by the political-bureaucratic hierarchy they will continue to make the kind of mistakes we saw with the data loss at HMRC and, more recently, the Ministry of Defence and nine hospital trusts.

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