Posted tagged ‘reviews’

Watching the detectives

31/03/2009

 …You think you’re alone until you realise you’re in it
…they call it instant justice when it’s past the legal limit…

Elvis Costello

Not a day goes by when someone is calling for an investigation, enquiry or review into something or other. A month ago it was child social care, last week treatment in an NHS hospital and today Member of Parliament’s expenses. Tomorrow I predict it will be the adoption of children from overseas prompted by a globe trotting celebrity.

All of these devices seem to me to have two things in common. First, they seem to be called for when general public common sense seems to have gone wayward. When critically ill patients are drinking from flower vases, MP claiming for the mortgage on a home of a relative or business failure rewarded with large bonuses; it is plainly obvious that change needs to happen. Second, I have a view that they are a way of just delaying the inevitable, distracting attention and deflecting criticism.

Our society is littered with reviews and enquiries of all shapes and sizes and yet I can safely predict that some other event, currently undetected, will be on the horizon.

So what are they are all for – are we participating in some grand confessional or a conspiracy of inadequacy where we fail to deal with the plainly ludicrous.

The issue for me is show me the benefits and the actions that have come out of any review that will once and for all stop the rot. Another favoured device, particular of the public sector, is to turn to consultation. For consultation read back covering and delaying tactic.

The underlying aspect is plain old common sense and fairness but unfortunately such attributes are not always our natural traits and I expect we will be reviewing, consulting, enquiring for a long time to come.