Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Lessons Learnt is not Accountability

The Information Commissioner has fined Watford council £100,000 for sending the most serious and sensitive information to the wrong recipients not once, but twice.

If it wasn't outrageous enough that £100,000 of local tax payers' money has just been thrown away, the real scandal is that our most vulnerable charges (abused children) could have had justice and / or protection denied to them owing to this error.

But don't worry folks, they've been held to account, lessons have been learnt and procedures have been changed.

Except no-one has been held to account; only the entity called the 'council' has - and the money wasn't its anyway. And we know that, in all likelihood, none of the staff will be properly reprimanded and they will continue to draw wages paid by the very people whose money they've wasted and whose children they might have failed.

It is unacceptable that it takes the largest public outcry in the most extreme of circumstances to see a town clerk* sacked - and even then they protest at the end of their tenure. They don't seem to get that with responsibility comes accountability, and another change in procedure or lessons learnt exercise is not accountability - it's only one part of what needs to be done.

We need to see public sector employees automatically lose their jobs following such gross negligence, thereby losing the unreasonable job protection afforded to them by simple virtue of being a state employee. It will focus the minds of those who have been given responsibility to actually take responsibility and not just the money and the <cough> kudos they associate with their role.

Only when we start seeing town clerks kicked out with their cardboard box of belongings in their arms will accountability start being achieved.  And, ironically, it would be the best lesson anyone could learn...


*hat tip Old Holborn

1 comment:

  1. Agreed FAV the councils and their employees are pretty much untouchable even in cases such as this one, that our (the taxpayers) hard earned cash is being paid out in penalties while the fat cats are still licking the cream of their gold plated bonuses and stupidly high wages is a travesty.