This afternoon I sat in the management committee meeting of a charity, and I couldn’t decide whether I’d gone mad and was in an asylum or was asleep and having a nightmare.
There were 11 perfectly nice people in the room, and they had all talked very sensibly, until we came to the item on funding. And then it happened.
A torrent of new government initiatives; a cascade of abbreviations and initials; and the confident assertions that each new funding stream had replaced that old one, although probably just a new name and a new committee of people managing it. There were new “boards” deciding who was to get money. County council funding had been devolved to these curious “boards” which were populated by young graduates who had gone straight into public service and apparently become instant experts on our town and its people.
The jargon came rolling out, and reached its peak with what sounded like, phonetically, “Sipsip”. I’m a simple soul. “What does that mean”, I asked. I was told it meant Children and Young People Strategic Partnership. So what are the initials then – CYPSP but still pronounced sipsip.
It’s daft, yes, but there’s a bigger underlying concern. Every time the government tweaks one of these wonderful initiatives of theirs, from New Deals downwards, the whole local government and quasi-government agency structure shakes itself up and restructures, with new committees, new names, new stationery, and all the rest of it. It costs vast amounts of money and time, both of which would be much better spent in just delivering improvements to the service concerned.