Friday, 11 May 2012

Executive Swingers

WELL who’d have thunk it that Norn Iron's political elite like a wee bit of swinging, in fact so much that they're sponsoring a festival of swinging on the north coast?

Yes, Peter, Martin and their special friends are putting their money beside the putting green and looking to drive down without a hook or a slice to birdie the last hole...

The Norn Iron Executive has agreed to sponsor the Irish Open Golf Tournament - and to be the title sponsor no less!

So, with Rory 'World's #1' McIlroy and Graham 'Gmac’ McDowell leading the local charge they can be confident that Peter and Marty, plus economy minister Arlene of course, have got their back and are ready with a choice of 105 caddies...

At this point it would be too obvious to ask what their handicaps are, apart from being members of the Norn Iron Executive. But we do believe that collectively they and their executive colleagues would struggle as to whether to choose a wood or an iron; not without a working policy paper, a sub-committee, a consultation and bringing it in front of the relevant committee.

On the other hand, this does seem to be a positive intervention. The tournament was struggling to find a main sponsor, so given the previous track record of the Irish Open being sponsored by the Irish tourist board Fáilte Ireland, it seemed only logical for the Norn Iron Executive to help the European Tour organisers out of the awkward sponsorship bunker.

And, given there is only one Irish Open there should be no problem hunting around for several other competitive quotations.

We're almost as intrigued by what main sponsors receive. According to the European Tour, title sponsors will get global exposure, and a comprehensive benefits package. Does this mean we can tap our MLAs for free tickets? Will this package have to be included in member's register of interest, and finally don't tell social development minister Nelson McCausland about the benefits in case he wants to cut those benefits...!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Consult, consult and then consult again – this time with management consultants

THE health service is in a bit of a mess. We’ve all sort of noticed this if we’ve been near an Accident and Emergency department in recent weeks.

All the good work, all the specialist care, all the dedicated care in the community has been dissipated amidst the mess at the doors of hospital.

The Compton Review has produced a way forward, emphasising the need to have more people receiving care in the community, closing front line hospitals, more minor injury units etc etc.

All sounds well and good…but how would a Health Minister implement such reviews? Bring the best minds in Norn Iron Health Service management together? Bring on board the nurses, doctors, porters, paramedics at the front line to input?

No – bring in management consultants and pay them millions.

And according to Edwin Poots it will be value for money!

The role of the management consultants will be, according to the BBC report on this, to: “provide information such as the number of adults, children and admissions to local hospitals.”

So, to be clear, the management consultants will need the information that bed managers, planning teams, ward teams and other health service staff currently hold, then do some sums as analysis.

Now we respect the roles and talents of management consultants; they perform many valuable services to the public sector. But, in this instance, they may be superfluous.

Surely the millions being spent on the management consultants could be avoided by using the talents of those working in the health service; a health service that we are repeatedly told has too many managers…

We, of course, have a solution – consult on it! After all, if the minister is determined to spend, spend, spend then he might as well spend it on asking the people who use the health service their views!