Thursday, September 28, 2006

Work For You? You're Joking

Pay in peanuts and I might consider it

Given that government departments are multi-billion pound operations, you probably imagine they'd have properly qualified people in charge of counting the money. But no - once again, you'd be wrong.

Shockingly, until very recently, departments didn't think it was necessary to have properly qualified finance types in charge of anything: there was simply no equivalent of the private sector Finance Director. Which obviously goes some way towards explaining the appalling accounting cock-ups we routinely see at places like the Home Office (see this blog).

Eventually, they decided to put it right by recruiting a whole load of FDs from the private sector. Good idea.

Except for one small detail - can you think of any reason to jump from a senior job in a thriving can-do commercial operation, to working for Patricia Hewitt or David Milliband?


According to the Finance Director:

"The obstacles to poaching the best talent from the private sector have come into stark relief over the past two years as the government struggles to fulfil its target to recruit professionally qualified finance directors for each of the 45 departments by the end of the year. With just three months left, the government is still 12 FDs short of achieving its target."

Money is part of the explanation, but just as important is the fact that a spell in a government department is not exactly career enhancing- only one departmental FD has ever managed to return to the private sector.

Given all that, government recruiters are being driven to desperate measures- the DTI has just appointed Charles Clarke's brother as its first FD.

No, really.

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