Assembly questions!!

24 03 2010

Don’t look behind you Conall!

Whatever did that nice Conall McDevitt (ex-Managing Director of PR firm Weber Shandwick) do to that big Spratt from the DUP?

For South Belfast MLA Jimmy Spratt has become enormously interested in the work of Weber Shandwick. He’s just done round robin of 10 departments pretty much asking the same darn question (on the 5th, and 26th).

He wants to know how much department X has spent on Weber Shandwick PR since May 2007.

Is he trying to sniff out potential conflicts of interest to embarrass new SDLP South Belfast MLA Conall?

Well if he was, he failed. It transpires that, erm, nothing has been spent on Weber Shandwick PR by departments since May 2007.

But wait a sec… how much has spent by taxpayers in answering what look suspiciously like Party Political questions from Jimmy Spratt?

The rule of thumb is £250 a question. In effect, Weber Shandwick didn’t cost government a penny till Jimmy Spratt turned up.

Still, best keep your guard up Conall…


Pathways to work (PT I)

Lord Browne has asked DFP about staffing changes in the decade from 1999 when since devolution arrived.

Well, its transpires that in January 1999, DFP employed some 1,600 staff. The number of staff employed by DFP at October 2009 was, erm, 3253.

According to Sammy: ‘This reflects a significant growth in the responsibilities and functions of the department.’

Same Northern Ireland, same department, same challenges, same requirements… but double the personnel?

And I thought Pathways to Work was a DSD/DEL programme. And I thought that it was supposed to find work for the general population… and not civil servants in DFP.

But chest bumps to Lord Wallace Browne for nobly exposing wastage at the heart of Sammy’s department. Crackin’!


Pathways to Work (THE SEQUEL)

Still, OFMDFM are doing tough-looking things like this. That looks pretty hardcore. Nice work Peter. What about your colleagues? What about… Nelson McCausland and the Department for Fun?!

Tough regime they got there too. A question by Thomas ‘Hitman’ Burns has revealed that the Department for Fun managed to create 7.5 FTE posts dedicated to the 2012 Olympics.

Yes, that would be Olympics that Northern Ireland is presently not involved in hosting. Still, I’m quite sure these dedicated civil servants are working day and night in opening doors for NI in other ways.

“I have serious concern that, although hundreds of Northern Ireland companies have registered for Olympic works, very few companies have successfully won contracts…” said the DETI Minister.

Oh. Erm. Okay. Nice work lads.


Pathways to Work (THE FINAL INSULT)

The Review of Public Administration was designed to remove quangos and cut bureaucracy. So when the Fisheries Conservancy Board departed this life in June 2009 you might have expected bureaucracy to be cut.

Nope. New posts were created in DFP for the 19 staff working on the board (high fives again to ‘Hitman’ Burns for this). It might be unfair to think people’s civil service careers should die off with quangos, but I wonder how big the influx of civil servants will be once the RPA process is complete?

How many posts are (perversely) going to be created within the civil service through the streamlining of public administration? Closing down jobs in one quango to open new jobs in a department – is that really what the process is designed to do?

DFP was able to manage up to this point without those 19 Fisheries staff, and yet new posts are to be created for them. How many more posts will be created in future to accommodate civil servants effectively made redundant through the demise of NGDBs and quangos?

Beginning to have some sympathy with what Pootsy was talking about here.




2 responses

24 03 2010
31 03 2010

well-spotted watcher! perhaps this means that the weber shandwick website is out of date and they don’t keep that kind of company anymore…

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