An interesting programme on Channel 4 last night – Heston Blumenthal to turn around Alder Hey Children’s Hospital catering. I do not want to question whether what Heston developed is great (it probably was) or whether the change is sustainable (it needs work and imagination….). What I found interesting was the fact that the senior staff seemed to have lost sight of their purpose. The catering seemed to care more about the food served to senior managers than to the children the hospital serves. I have noted this sort of behaviour in other contexts and in earlier posts. But I worry that we are seeing more of this sort of thinking emerging as the cuts are announced and begin to bite.
Too much focus is on the loss of jobs in public agencies and not on the declining or disappearing levels of services. For example, Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool City Council, said that the hardest thing about making cuts in the budget last week was the 1,500 job losses. Surely, the hardest thing is the loss of children’s centres and other measures announced? This might be the result of staff losses, but the local authority does not exist to employ people – that is not its purpose.