An older favourite
Category Archive: Woodchucks
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This woodchucking data is not currently available due to holes in the Freedom of Information Act. However on past performance in similar outsourcing exercises we can safely make the following assumptions:
There would be woodchucking ‘efficiency savings’ according to both Serco and the government ministers involved. However these would be impossible to detect, since the woodchucking subsidy to Serco would be more or less equal to the amount of money currently being spent on woodchucking by the government woodchucking service, and the indicators used to measure performance would be changed during outsourcing.
There would be a flurry of woodchucking rate improvements at the beginning of the contract while Serco wanted to pretend they gave a toss about woodchucking, something they have no expertise in, since they have no expertise in anything except subjecting their employees to humiliating management experiments. The increase in woodchucking performance would later turn out to have been the result of making the woodchucks live in constant fear for their jobs.
Over time the rate of woodchucking would drop significantly below that achieved while woodchucking was done in-house. Serco would bet that (a) woodchucking would not become a major political issue so their performance would be ignored and (b) the government department responsible for keeping them to their contract terms would not have the resources to do it.
Despite the dire performance of Serco in the woodchucking business, they would win the contract once more when it came up for renewal because they would have spent the intervening years ‘lobbying’ politicians, i.e. paying them, buying them nice dinners and offering them jobs after their ministerial careers are over.
The woodchucks would all receive a significantly lower salary for woodchucking than previously, and on worse conditions with worse job security. This would result in a lower of quality of life across the woodchuck population, and those woodchucks with a passion for chucking wood would leave their jobs in disgust at having to work for an employer who couldn’t care less whether the wood got chucked or not.
At some point there would be a catastrophic failure to chuck wood at all, as a result of a string of management failures and a failure by Serco to invest in woodchucking long term. The lives of many people and woodchucks would be ruined as a result, but the responsibility for this would be borne by the government. At no point would Serco shoulder the financial burden of their failures.
Serco would go on to get more fat government contracts in other things in which they would have as much expertise as woodchucking (none), and with new safe ground occupied would proceed to abuse their position once more, milk the contract for all it was worth and run the service into the ground. Their detractors would be labelled ‘The enemies of enterprise’.
I don’t know the answer but I’m pretty sure part of the condition of the grant would be an outcomes-orientated monitoring process that would provide quantative data on woodchucking measurables as the evidence base for key performance indicators.
So the information you require would almost certainly be hidden away somewhere in the back of the annual woodchucking report – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look and what degree of ‘bullshit factor’ to add in to the mix when assessing the figures. You know the woodchuck fudged the numbers.
You may also need to question the assumption that a woodchuck does nothing but chuck wood, and ask would the woodchuck chuck other stuff too if it were given the chance?
Also to consider: what distortions does the government woodchucking grant bring to the woodchuck’s woodchuck lobbying campaign as a result of becoming dependent on woodchucking grants?