Saturday, March 03, 2007

Parris On The Waste Case


You will laugh and cry
Another excellent article by Matthew Parris, this time focusing on all those half-baked policy initiatives forever being launched by Gordo- the ones that never reach implementation but still somehow cost us mucho spondies.

We all recall this one, launched on the sofas last year, and reported at the time by the Grauniad:

“Gordon Brown today floated the idea of ‘midnight football’ for badly behaved youngsters, as he put forward a series of carrot-and-stick schemes for dealing with unruly teenagers. Under the plans, law-abiding kids would get up to £25 a month of vouchers to be spent on sports and leisure facilities, while those out of control would be given ‘mentors’ to keep them out of trouble . . . ‘This is not a handout; if you don’t behave, you don’t get it,’ he told GMTV . . .”

Parris says he "thought it so pie-in-the-sky that it was astonishing anyone had put ballpoint to beermat to record it." And somehow he's summoned the energy to track down what actually became of it.

He started at the Treasury. Logical enough you might think, but they eventually came back and passed the buck to the Department for Education and Skills. They did at least own up:

"...some “pilots” to try out Mr Brown’s idea did take place as promised. Management consultants were called in to “research” whether the IT existed elsewhere in the world for the voucher cards that youths were to be issued with. The consultants charged £2 million (isn’t Google getting expensive?) to discover that no such technology exists. A from-scratch scheme would cost £30 million. But the budget for the entire project was just £44 million. This would leave only £14 million to spend on the benefits."

The whole wibbling nonsense was abandoned.

But evidently not before it had cost us another £2m on management consultants (see the Bloke's latest vid), and Gawd knows what uncosted civil service time spent on meetings, reports, protocols, administrative facilitation matrices, etc etc.

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