Numbers have been in my mind for many reasons recently, but at the end of the day, what are they worth? Do they really mean anything? Do they have any value?
The number of Police Officers in England and Wales. We all know it’s falling, we all know why it’s falling. I have sais it before and I will keep saying it until someone ‘in the know’ gives me an answer. Targets were set for each Force for their total manpower levels in 2015 as part of their ‘Austerity’ savings. These numbers are recorded and published by HMIC they are publicly available. So why, oh why, have some Forces cut their numbers BELOW the agreed 2015 levels already? Why do they need to? Why have they done it? What kind of Risk/Impact Assessment was done?
I have sat through far too many Tasking Meetings to think that Tasking Groups never massaged the figures. In the main they were honestly led, good valid, tactical options were openly discussed and where resources and the budget permitted, operational strategies were drawn up to tackle the problems identified and drive the numbers down. It is only later in life that I learn of the Bonus System for senior managers, and the cynical part of me now looks at all of those Tasking Meetings in a whole new light. Bonuses have NO part to play in a Police Officer’s remuneration package, ANY RANK.. We also need to remember that successive Home Secretaries have been changing the Counting Rules on a seemingly Annual basis. How hypocritical is that to feign shock and disbelief, and only blaming the Police, when they should be blaming themselves as well.
The NHS (and they are by no means alone) have a handy set of numbers too. The most important set is probably the one entitled Waiting List Times. Don’t any of you think that list isn’t fiddled. I have personally known patients waiting for surgery be sent an appointment to have their operation on Christmas Eve. Who wants that? So what happens? You politely decline the appointment, ask for a new one, waiting list times change cos you are now a fresh patient at the bottom of the list again. Need to make an appointment to see your GP for some routine matter, non-urgent. “Can I make an appointment to see Dr Smith in 6 weeks time please, he/she wants to see me again?” This will likely provoke a response something similar to “ No, sorry, we don’t have any appointments that far in advance, can you ring us back nearer the time and they will have been released onto our system”. What this really means is “If I give you an appointment today for 6 weeks time you’ll show up as a statistic, one of our patients who hasn’t been given an appointment within x days, so sorry, no, you can’t have one”
And finally, I am indebted to one of my friends who shared this (you know who you are)
Now this is excellent, this is number-fudging par excellence on a grand scale.
Zero Hours Contracts, that’s a bit like No Man’s Land, neither employed nor unemployed, could be either depending upon circumstances, but a good enough wheeze to keep SOME people out of the Unemployed category.
Workfare – another great scheme by IBS. Get people working in (frequently) menial positions in a strange effort to justify being paid Jobseekers Allowance, or whatever it’s called these days. If these jobs are actual vacancies within the company (or whatever) then let these people apply for them and be paid the going rate, THEN they can come off the Unemployed numbers. As it is Workfare is just Smoke and Mirrors and taking advantage of the Unemployed, many of whom actually want to work and hold down a worthwhile job, not just pitch up their local Charity Shop and have a ‘job’ ‘invented’ for them and get paid far less than the going rate.
JobSeekers Allowance Sanctions – that’s just another ruse to avoid paying paying people their Allowance and keep them off the books. There are NUMEROUS examples of these sanctions apparently being applied unfairly. Apply sanctions when its warranted yes, but be honest and consistent with their application, stop fudging the figures.
Disabled on Unpaid Workfare – Well I didn’t even know this was happening, so I can’t really comment, but if it is happening Shame on You DWP.
Unemployment Benefit/JobSeekers Allowance/Sickness Benefit/Disability Benefit – how many times have governments of ALL colours and hues swapped people from one list to another just to juggle the books and make one set of figures look better than they truly are. That’s where the true hypocrisy creeps in. The Police have been condemned (with some justification) for fiddling their CrimeStats, but have government after government done with the Unemployed and Sick? That’s another scandal that’s been going on for as long as I can remember.
Come on Dave, sort it out. Be the leader with a true Quest For Truth. If you don’t like that option Opposition beckons next year, get used to it.