Brexit and the waning days of the United Kingdom

Started by Josquius, February 20, 2016, 07:46:34 AM

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How would you vote on Britain remaining in the EU?

British- Remain
12 (12%)
British - Leave
7 (7%)
Other European - Remain
21 (21%)
Other European - Leave
6 (6%)
ROTW - Remain
34 (34%)
ROTW - Leave
20 (20%)

Total Members Voted: 98

Josquius

Quote from: Sheilbh on February 06, 2024, 03:09:26 PM
Quote from: Josquius on February 06, 2024, 02:42:56 PMDisagree massively.
If the state is building projects it shouldn't have to go through the routine of companies. It should have people directly on staff.
And this organisation should then have a hot line to their bosses, the ones asking for this project -    and with the power to make it happen.
Yeah that's not a system with the rule of law if you can make a phone call to your boss in the executive and make it happen :lol:



Oh I don't mean any sort of threats. More perfectly legal stuff that if the government wants things built they should pass laws to make it possible to build things smoothly.
If something is proving a problem for even their own builders let alone the private sector... They really need to get on this
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HVC

Being lazy is bad; unless you still get what you want, then it's called "patience".
Hubris must be punished. Severely.

crazy canuck

Quote from: Josquius on February 06, 2024, 02:42:56 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on February 06, 2024, 02:39:39 PM
Quote from: Josquius on February 06, 2024, 02:35:42 PMThat is another mad thing in the UK. State owned companies that don't get any special advantages for being state owned.
Well that is broadly a core principle of the rule of law and generally a good thing.

Disagree massively.
If the state is building projects it shouldn't have to go through the routine of companies. It should have people directly on staff.
And this organisation should then have a hot line to their bosses, the ones asking for this project -   and with the power to make it happen.


BC tried it that way - if you look at a map you will see that the road system in this province is larger than that of the UK.  It was a bit of a disaster in terms of both cost and quality.  We now have a system in which the Ministry of Transportation acts as an owner - determines what is to be done, then the project goes out to a competitive bid system.   Back in the day I did a lot of work in this area.

As Gups has already alluded to, there is no corruption - the whole thing is subject to rigorous external audit.  But as Gups also points out, the problem is that there is no great incentive for the Ministry to reduce costs once the budget has been allocated, and the gold plating phenomenon involves lots of change orders which dramatically increase cost.     
I want you to panic

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2019/jan/25/i-want-you-to-panic-16-year-old-greta-thunberg-issues-climate-warning-at-davos-video

"Woke" is now almost exclusively used by those who seek to deride it, those who chafe at the activism from which it sprang. Opponents to the idea are seeking to render it toxic. They use it to stand in for change itself, for evolution, for an accurate assessment of history and society that makes them uncomfortable and deflates their hagiographic view of American history.

crazy canuck

Quote from: Josquius on February 06, 2024, 04:16:41 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on February 06, 2024, 03:09:26 PM
Quote from: Josquius on February 06, 2024, 02:42:56 PMDisagree massively.
If the state is building projects it shouldn't have to go through the routine of companies. It should have people directly on staff.
And this organisation should then have a hot line to their bosses, the ones asking for this project -    and with the power to make it happen.
Yeah that's not a system with the rule of law if you can make a phone call to your boss in the executive and make it happen :lol:



Oh I don't mean any sort of threats. More perfectly legal stuff that if the government wants things built they should pass laws to make it possible to build things smoothly.
If something is proving a problem for even their own builders let alone the private sector... They really need to get on this

Quote from: Josquius on February 06, 2024, 04:16:41 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on February 06, 2024, 03:09:26 PM
Quote from: Josquius on February 06, 2024, 02:42:56 PMDisagree massively.
If the state is building projects it shouldn't have to go through the routine of companies. It should have people directly on staff.
And this organisation should then have a hot line to their bosses, the ones asking for this project -    and with the power to make it happen.
Yeah that's not a system with the rule of law if you can make a phone call to your boss in the executive and make it happen :lol:



Oh I don't mean any sort of threats. More perfectly legal stuff that if the government wants things built they should pass laws to make it possible to build things smoothly.
If something is proving a problem for even their own builders let alone the private sector... They really need to get on this

What do you mean by smoothly?  It is certainly possible to create a no bid, no regulation system.  But that might have some unintended consequences.
I want you to panic

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2019/jan/25/i-want-you-to-panic-16-year-old-greta-thunberg-issues-climate-warning-at-davos-video

"Woke" is now almost exclusively used by those who seek to deride it, those who chafe at the activism from which it sprang. Opponents to the idea are seeking to render it toxic. They use it to stand in for change itself, for evolution, for an accurate assessment of history and society that makes them uncomfortable and deflates their hagiographic view of American history.

Josquius

Quote from: crazy canuck on February 06, 2024, 06:25:41 PM
Quote from: Josquius on February 06, 2024, 02:42:56 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on February 06, 2024, 02:39:39 PM
Quote from: Josquius on February 06, 2024, 02:35:42 PMThat is another mad thing in the UK. State owned companies that don't get any special advantages for being state owned.
Well that is broadly a core principle of the rule of law and generally a good thing.

Disagree massively.
If the state is building projects it shouldn't have to go through the routine of companies. It should have people directly on staff.
And this organisation should then have a hot line to their bosses, the ones asking for this project -   and with the power to make it happen.


BC tried it that way - if you look at a map you will see that the road system in this province is larger than that of the UK.  It was a bit of a disaster in terms of both cost and quality.  We now have a system in which the Ministry of Transportation acts as an owner - determines what is to be done, then the project goes out to a competitive bid system.   Back in the day I did a lot of work in this area.

I imagine the state doing things and the private sector doing things both have their own potential pros and cons.
The UK system of government owned companies seems to have the worst of both.

QuoteAs Gups has already alluded to, there is no corruption - the whole thing is subject to rigorous external audit.  But as Gups also points out, the problem is that there is no great incentive for the Ministry to reduce costs once the budget has been allocated, and the gold plating phenomenon involves lots of change orders which dramatically increase cost.     
Surely thats just bad management? There should have been enough internal incentives to get people to do a decent job- and the men at the top have the big incentive of angry voters.

QuoteWhat do you mean by smoothly?  It is certainly possible to create a no bid, no regulation system.  But that might have some unintended consequences.
No regulation is nuking a steak you just want cooked.
But reducing the bureaucracy, and crippling the power of nimbys, would be great.
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crazy canuck

If you can figure out how to properly incentivize state actors to act as if the money they are spending is their own, then my friend you would become a very, very rich consultant.
I want you to panic

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2019/jan/25/i-want-you-to-panic-16-year-old-greta-thunberg-issues-climate-warning-at-davos-video

"Woke" is now almost exclusively used by those who seek to deride it, those who chafe at the activism from which it sprang. Opponents to the idea are seeking to render it toxic. They use it to stand in for change itself, for evolution, for an accurate assessment of history and society that makes them uncomfortable and deflates their hagiographic view of American history.

Josquius

Quote from: crazy canuck on February 07, 2024, 12:00:58 PMIf you can figure out how to properly incentivize state actors to act as if the money they are spending is their own, then my friend you would become a very, very rich consultant.

The same applies equally of private company employees if not more so - if I'm stealing a private companys money there's a lot less of a moral quandary
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Jacob

Quote from: Josquius on February 07, 2024, 02:10:31 PMThe same applies equally of private company employees if not more so - if I'm stealing a private companys money there's a lot less of a moral quandary

I think you misunderstand CC's point. It's not about stealing, it's about caring about value for money.

In a private company there's a much higher (but not perfect) incentive to not waste money on pointless boondoggles and ridiculous inefficiencies; there's a real risk of career consequences for the people responsible. Generally government is more prone to spending massive amounts of money in wasteful ways and fewer consequences for those involved - and I say that as someone who is generally well disposed towards government action, ownership, and spending.

crazy canuck

Quote from: Jacob on February 07, 2024, 02:19:55 PM
Quote from: Josquius on February 07, 2024, 02:10:31 PMThe same applies equally of private company employees if not more so - if I'm stealing a private companys money there's a lot less of a moral quandary

I think you misunderstand CC's point. It's not about stealing, it's about caring about value for money.

In a private company there's a much higher (but not perfect) incentive to not waste money on pointless boondoggles and ridiculous inefficiencies; there's a real risk of career consequences for the people responsible. Generally government is more prone to spending massive amounts of money in wasteful ways and fewer consequences for those involved - and I say that as someone who is generally well disposed towards government action, ownership, and spending.

That is it.  And I am also generally in favour of governmental involvement.  But the problem exists that well meaning people make decisions that are suboptimal from a commercial lens because they have other priorities. 

It might even be that those other priorities are important.  But we cannot then also complain that the projects are not as commercially efficient.
I want you to panic

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2019/jan/25/i-want-you-to-panic-16-year-old-greta-thunberg-issues-climate-warning-at-davos-video

"Woke" is now almost exclusively used by those who seek to deride it, those who chafe at the activism from which it sprang. Opponents to the idea are seeking to render it toxic. They use it to stand in for change itself, for evolution, for an accurate assessment of history and society that makes them uncomfortable and deflates their hagiographic view of American history.

Sheilbh

Quote from: crazy canuck on February 06, 2024, 06:25:41 PMAs Gups has already alluded to, there is no corruption - the whole thing is subject to rigorous external audit.  But as Gups also points out, the problem is that there is no great incentive for the Ministry to reduce costs once the budget has been allocated, and the gold plating phenomenon involves lots of change orders which dramatically increase cost.   
I'd add that I think there are also structural issues.

My experience isn't construction and is limited but is largely around IT contracts. Any commercial lawyer would tell you the most important thing to know and for them to understand is what the client wants: what is the system for, what are the things that really matter in terms of performance and what happens if it falls over. From what I've seen and heard the government is a nightmare client on this stuff :lol: The government lawyers and commercial team are very good - and I've no doubt everyone else is too - but I think through the process of stakeholder management and engagement you get a massive list of things they want the system to do, very little prioritisation of what really matters and it's very difficult to get a strategic steer.

Add to that, that, despite multiple revisions to the procurement guidelines to try and move away from that - but the number one, most heavily weighted criteria is "value for taxpayer money". As you say you end up with goldplating at the front-end of a process and then huge (and expensive) change control procedures as HMG's ambition for a project inevitably has to start aligning with the price it's agreed to pay for it - and even when it is very expensive it wil involve lots of bespoke work which is always expensive. I'm reminded of the nuclear plant post last week where the UK process has ended up with 7,000 changes to a design already in use in France - or the defence procurement buying an armoured vehicle which I think hs 1,400 changes from the standard model.

And government is very good on the financial side. Their lawyers are great, their commercial teams are great (there's a standalone team, the Crown Commercial Service, who do procurement) and on the legals and commercials they will get the best deal - but they depend on the client for expert instructions on the actual thing they're buying. If anything I think government maybe turns the screws too much - after a big outsourcing company here, Carillion, went bust part of the problem was government was so aggressive on costs that there was exceptionally low margin if things went wrong.

I also think that a former senior Treasury civil servant had interesting comments that impact this. He basically said that the civil service hierarchy is very much geared around policy. So basically the career path ends with you being Permanent Secretary/head of a department advising the Minister and working on policy at the very top. For that what matters is being able to master a brief quickly, being able to pivot and think flexibly etc - which are all great skills - but not deep expertise. So I have friends on the civil service fast stream who have not stayed in a department for more than 3 years because that's a sign of them settling/getting side tracked into a niche policy area rather than climbing up (I think they've been in Work and Pensions, Health and the Home Office lately). The consequence of that is that there is no career path or sense of seniority for someone becoming a deep subject area expert on x policy area or, say, IT systems - so jobs that should be done by someone in their 40s or 50s, with big pay packets are done by twenty somethings who will have moved on before the project is delivered. This is why I really think Lord Maude's civil service reform proposals are worth looking at.

I think those 40-50 year olds go and work with the suppliers or for consultancy firms. This was also something Dominic Cummings had some interesting ideas on - because government spends millions on big four consultancy for their expertise on procuring x (often with well-paid partners who were previously civil servants :lol:). Cummings idea was to set up a Crown Consultancy Service, which would be a separate career path and basically an in-house consultancy team that all ministries could use - like the Government Legal Service, the Crown Commercial Service or Government Digital Service. I think it's a really interesting idea. Sadly the civil service didn't really get behind it and there wasn't political capital behind it either, so it basically died a death once Cummings left and has now been shut down.

I don't know how much of that applies to big construction projects - but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a fair bit that's similar.

Relatedly (having just slammed consultants), a report from a consultancy group summarised by a Reuters reporter:
QuoteAndy Bruce
@BruceReuters
Sobering stats in new @BCG report on UK infrastructure woes.

💥 UK worst for cost overruns vs peers (on both frequency AND severity)
💥 Rail construction unit cost TWICE as high as global avg
💥 UK road projects cost double that of France
💥 Pre-construction phase slowest in UK
Pretty much the only thing the UK does okay at is delivering urban infrastructure, in terms of unit cost vs peers, according to @BCG
Why so bad?
• Ill-defined projects from govt (vision, budget and time) - good recipe for faff, cost
• Planning sys (obvs)
• Procurement sys gives illusion of risk reduction (really it's a costly buck-passing game)
• Fragmented construction industry
• No strategic objective
BCG says addressing these problems is an urgent priority if UK is to have any hope of reviving economic growth in the long run.

Totally agree on the procurement/risk point too and mentioned before that we have an exceptionally fragmented, SME and micro-business heavy construction industry.
Let's bomb Russia!

crazy canuck

Yeah, that is a great point. And then add to that all the fun that happens if there is a change of government during the course of a lengthy and significant project and the new Minister wants to get "fresh eyes" on it. 

Good news for the outside lawyers, and the contractor.  Not so great for the folks within the Ministry who thought they had anticipated everything only to see everything change again. 
I want you to panic

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2019/jan/25/i-want-you-to-panic-16-year-old-greta-thunberg-issues-climate-warning-at-davos-video

"Woke" is now almost exclusively used by those who seek to deride it, those who chafe at the activism from which it sprang. Opponents to the idea are seeking to render it toxic. They use it to stand in for change itself, for evolution, for an accurate assessment of history and society that makes them uncomfortable and deflates their hagiographic view of American history.

Sheilbh

Yeah and especially with, say, Secretaries of State only staying in office for an average of 2 years (average since 1997). One of the (only, scant) benefits of the coalition was that it made re-shuffles politically very difficult so ministers did get a decent run in office. Under Blair and Brown ministers and in the post-referendum chaos re-shuffles have been very common.

Separately but on planning:
QuoteHeronby: Plans for new village cut from council strategy

Plans for the site had been part of development blueprint for the Selby area of North Yorkshire

�Controversial plans for a new village, between York and Selby, have been put on hold, North Yorkshire Council said.

Nearly 4,000 homes were proposed for the site near Stillingfleet, known as Heronby.

However, campaigners from four neighbouring villages had raised concerns about the impact on traffic.

North Yorkshire Council said the plans should be removed from a blueprint outlining future development in the area.


Heronby was proposed for a 173 hectare site to the south of Escrick Road near Stillingfleet.

It had been a key development to deliver long-term housing growth needs for the area up to 2040 and part of a wider local plan for the Selby area.



Heronby would have had a market square and high street

Campaigners, who formed the Halt Heronby action group, previously claimed the scheme was "damaging and unnecessary" and would have a major impact on the A19.

Landowner Escrick Park Estate had said it aimed to deliver highway improvements as part of the scheme.


North Yorkshire Council's executive members were told "due to concerns raised about the highways impact of the new settlement which cannot be fully resolved at this stage, the proposals should be removed from the plan".

However, members of the executive recommended four new sites which would be added to the blueprint.

North Yorkshire Council's executive member for open for business, Derek Bastiman, said: "The revised plan recommends removing the Heronby settlement proposal and adding in new allocations for housing in the villages of Hambleton, North Duffield, Hensall and Eggborough."

If the plans are approved by full council, a six-week public consultation will take place in March.

In addition to the four villages' complaints, York Council also complained on the basis that people living in this village might work in or visit York, adding to congestion :lol:

I'd add that North Yorkshire has also had villages campaigning to keep local primary schools open because of what they add to the community. The schools are being closed and consolidated because there aren't enough young families in the area to keep them open :lol: :bleeding:

As James Ball pointed out there's always a reason - expanding the village will ruin the character; building a new village will add to congestion; building a new village and roads and/or rail will add to construction congestion/disruption, uproot "ancient woodland" and threaten the habitats of possible bats.

The same people who object will then turn around and moan about the local school closing or the fact that their kids can't afford to stay in the area they grew up in <_< :weep:
Let's bomb Russia!

Josquius

I don't get the point.
I can see where it applies at the top level - but there the state worker is a politician with the incentive to be reelected
But with the general workers they're all just trying to go about their career.
That their paycheck comes from the state or a private company in itself doesn't alter their experience at all. If they screw up the consequences are the same
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Sheilbh

Let's bomb Russia!

HVC

Being lazy is bad; unless you still get what you want, then it's called "patience".
Hubris must be punished. Severely.