Woefully inadequate

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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