Monday, May 28, 2007

Miscellany Of Waste

Somebody's got to do it

Item 1: Consultants

Heather spotted the latest news from DCMS on how they're blowing yet more of our hard earned dosh on nonsense consulting. The Abominable Lammy tells us he's currently signing cheques for the following:
  • Atisreal- "Europe's leading provider of integrated commercial real estate solutions"- £246,000 for phoning round to flog off some land behind the British Library
  • Euclid- "European & international information, research and consultancy services to the cultural sector"- £110,000 for being the "nominated cultural contact point for the European Commission" (that must be a wind-up, surely)
  • Deloittes- £99,000 for a review of the Olympic Programme Support Unit (well on the way to our £20bn...)
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers- £69,000 for an "assessment of the costs and benefits of the World Heritage Site (UK)" (er... any particular World Heritage Site UK??)
  • etc etc

Item 2: Schmoozing

They might not have got quite as much coverage as the Soap Awards (or indeed the Conservative Home Blog Awards, where, as predicted, BOM did indeed finish miles higher than Bulgaria... even if we were still "narrowly pipped" by Mr Dale), but last week saw the annual Public Private Finance Awards. MOD were tickled pink with their little selves because they won an armful. And here they are posing with Mine Host for the evening, Miguel Busstop:

Now I don't know if you're up to speed with how these industry awards work. But in case you're not, let me explain.

They take place over a lavish and very boozy black-tie dinner somewhere posh- in this case the Grosvenor House. The evening is hosted (at great expense) by someone off the telly, who delivers his standard speech, dishes out the gongs, and poses for snaps with the winners (actually, in this case they only got Miguel, but usually it's someone important like that girl off A Place in the Sun).

Anyway, the key point is that the customers win all the prizes and the suppliers pay all the bills. Of course, in reality, the customers' companies end up paying as the suppliers recoup their costs from suitably ingratiated buyers. But hey, everyone understands you need a little schmoozing here and there, and they can't touch you for it.

All of which is perfectly fine, so long as we're talking private sector b2b.

The trouble is, with these awards, we're not. We're talking private PFI supply companies wining and dining public servants (see here for previous awards sponsors). And we're talking taxpayers having to foot the final bill.

Irrespective of what it means for Miguel's after dinner earnings, I'd prohibit all such schmoozing of public servants forthwith. I'm hard like that.

Item 3- Patronising Propaganda

Westminster Council I thought were meant to be among the good guys. But they've just spent we know not what on producing an extraordinary bit of patronising simplistic propaganda explaining how hard their job is. It's called the Council Tax Game , and you can try it here (htp BG).

What particularly stuck in my craw was the fact that you are only given options for increasing council spending. What a contrast with their neighbours at Hammersmith and Fulham, where the new council managed to cut council tax for the first time in over a decade.

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