Beware of false profits

In these times of austerity, there’s a greater focus than ever on how much things cost. I’m working with several of my public sector clients, for example, to help them to work out the cost of the services they provide and to use this information to make better decisions. The same is true across the commercial sector, where lower costs equal higher profits. Except that they don’t always. Not in the big scheme of things. Continue reading

Donations, sponsorship and the need for accountability

Donations and sponsorship add up to big money in the public sector. Most hospitals have at least one fundraising campaign. Local authorities have long sought and received corporate funding for roadside planting and summer festivals. You can even sponsor a police car. But as cash flow gets tighter and new sources of income look more appealing, it is important that we think carefully about where the money comes from. Continue reading

It’s a people thing

There is often a tendency to think that any problems within an organisation can be resolved, or any desired improvements made, with the application of a new process or the implementation of a shiny new piece of software. While understandable, this is potentially problematic. Because organisations are not about systems, processes and software – they are about people. Continue reading

All change in local government

As the funding cuts start to bite, things are changing rapidly in local government. But this is only the start. My own local authority, for example, managed to find savings of £17.5m in 2011/12 and needs to identify another £30m by 2015. And if the trend continues, they estimate that they will have to cut expenditure by a further £39m by 2018. This will leave the Council with only half of the resources that it had in 2010/11. Continue reading

On outsourcing and accountability

I drove down to South Devon last Friday evening and stayed overnight at the Paignton outpost of a well-known budget hotel chain. Arriving at around 8pm, I was pleased to find one solitary space left in the hotel car park. Sufficiently pleased, in fact, that I didn’t even bat an eyelid at the £5 overnight charge. What annoyed me, though, was that I had to scrabble around to find change for the ticket machine rather than just pay at reception. Continue reading