So the Crown Prosecution Service is giving £250 of our flaming money to each of the 16% (yes, just 16%) of its employees who actually turned up for work on The Day of The Great Snows. They say they are rewarding staff who went the fabled "extra mile".
But as the TPA's Mark Wallace points out:
"Only 16% of CPS staff compared to 70% or more of staff around the rest of the country actually turned up on the day that it was snowy... Have a look at what this really rewards - it doesn't reward hard work, it rewards having a bus route that works, that runs near your house."
As regular BOM readers may recall, Mrs T and I had our own taste of going the extra mile on that same snowbound February day:
"Whereas Tyler's, and many other, councils failed to keep the show on the road (Surrey's schools are still closed), the private sector ploughed on magnificently.
Mrs T, you see, has finally had it with her disintegrating held-together-with-string kitchen and is demanding a new one. So she'd arranged for a bespoke kitchen man to call on us at 11am yesterday.
Well, obviously he wasn't going to make it because Tyler Towers was under unfathomable feet of snow and our country road was blocked - no, really, with council gritters nowhere in sight.
But amazingly, just before 11, this Scott of the Antarctic figure appeared though the swirling snow, literally up to his knees in the stuff. He was wearing a bright yellow sailing survival suit and had walked for two miles down a snowbound lane to reach us.
And that my friends is the power of the market."
We naturally made sure Capt Scott's boss heard of his man's heroism, and how impressed we were. But I'll bet he got no special bonus.
Now it is true that the CPS is one of the very worst outposts of government. When the Public Accounts Committee looked at it, they found amateurish working practices, endemic incompetence, and gripless management (see this blog). Incomplete files, unanswered phones, uncontactable lawyers (never heard of Blackberries), and abysmal lack of urgency, are all taken for granted inside the CPS.
But as we've blogged many times, the public sector pays bonuses for all manner of things that are taken for granted by private employers. We reckon it costs us well over £1bn pa, and it's pretty well money down the drain.
And don't get me started on sickies. As we've noted many times, sick leave in the public sector runs about 40% higher than the private sector, and in some areas it's even worse: in the NHS it averages two-and-a-half weeks a year (against a private sector average of 7 days).
M'learned friend the Village Postmaster reckons extensive sick leave is ultimately a failure of management. In his own shop, just like at Tesco and many other leading retailers, nobody gets sick pay for the first three days, and unauthorised absenteeism is non-existent.
So that's two more items for George's list - bonuses and sickies. Abolishing public sector bonuses would save c £1bn pa, and cutting public sector sickies down to the private sector level would save another £3bn pa.
PS Talking of George, he's reportedly one of the intended targets of the obscene McBride/Drooper conspiracy so brilliantly exposed today by Guido. But what the Major and I want to know is WTF Brown hasn't immediately sacked McBride? Even he can't imagine we're happy supporting his low-life scumbag mates out of our taxes.