Thursday, June 04, 2009

Re-shuffling bureaucracies

Today’s Financial Times indicates that Downing Street is thinking about “another Whitehall restructure” – i.e. re-shuffling departments as well as cabinet ministers. Earlier in the week there were suggestions at the Association of Colleges’ Finance Directors’ Conference that the Department for Industry, Universities and Skills might be merged into Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. (What would you call the offspring of such a union?)

It is a sad fact that the government periodically lapses into bureaucratic shuffling as if merging, de-merging or re-naming departments will fix problems. (Readers of this blog will know that I believe that genuine reform is more likely to involve creating customer choice and competing providers in he delivery of public services.)

Sometimes re-arranging bureaucracies is appropriate but it involves time, effort and resources which could be used for other purposes. How often is the cost-benefit analysis done?

DIUS has existed less than two years. It has major issues on its agenda – like the LSC capital funding debacle. Let’s hope the rumours are unfounded and DIUS can get on with its job.

No comments: