Public service: ‘It’s a basket case’
CLAIMS of major problems within Queensland's public service have sparked a huge response from readers.
Some agreed with claims former Premier Campbell Newman should have made larger cuts to the service while in power. But others strongly disagreed.
The column was written by a current public servant, whose name was changed to protect their identity. By writing the column, they were breaching the public service code of conduct.
Here are the top responses from our readers.
You've got it all wrong
What a load of crap!!! I don't know which department you work in but that's certainly not the case in our department. Most of us work long hours with limited resources because of staffing caps that can't be breached. As a result so much just can't be done with the staffing we have so we're forced to go the contractor path costing twice as much as employing additional staff! The system is stuffed but not for the reasons you claim.
It's a basket case
The Queensland Public Service is now a complete & utter basket case of backstabbing, infighting & work avoidance by delegating all responsibilities to everyone else. In one government department during one of their many famous regular "restructuring" exercises to increase executive pay levels & entitlements for themselves, one particular work-shy "delegate-all" public service manager wanted to change his position title to "Manager (Stewardship)" to guarantee that he avoided doing any actual work so he could mull about the office in a leisurely manner on a permanent paid holiday all year round.
What's the point?
No point trimming the public service if you will hire 'consultants' for 5 times more.
The other big problem
'Allison Adani' captures the essence of today's State Public Service but missed the biggest barrier to productivity in the sector - internet access. The pathetically low expectations on work output across all non-front-line positions in departments and agencies leaves at least half of every day available for surfing the web. It is the perfect alternative to finding real work to do.
Managers and Directors refuse to monitor staff internet usage because they are often the biggest offenders. Usage reports are easily generated by the IT sections however no-one will act on them. Holiday bookings, banking, real estate searches, bill payments, newspaper sites, and the big one - social media, consume the bulk of every day in the office.
Restrict internet access to work/business related only and you could instantly cut 50% of administrative positions with no drop in productivity whatsoever.
And guess what? It will never happen.
It was just hopeless
I actually cheered when the great purge of the public service occurred. I'd walked out of a 30 year career some years before after finding myself in a position costing the taxpayer $55k a year where I often struggled to find work to do. Unlike many around me, I relished a heavy workload and the sense of achievement after putting in a solid day's work. I just couldn't handle being a chair-warmer.
Examples of the empire-builders with their private fiefdoms, pet projects and cliquey teams were rife along with the people who had not done an honest day's work in years who would instantly call in the union at the first hint of any effort to improve their performance. It was just hopeless.
I'm the first to admit the cuts could have been better-handled but the need to do it was great. It's a shame to see the public service growing fat and complacent again and I hear from friends still on the inside that the stuff described in this article is worse than ever. So glad I left...
You're on the money
All I can say is that having now worked in a public service position for 3 years now there is a lot of truth in what has been written above but also agree you have to be careful saying this.
Newman was too heavy handed
I was a public servant for many years, before finally being "breach of code of conduct" sacked 3 years ago. My major crime? I refused to breach the legislation I was tasked to administer by refusing to provide something to another government department. That other government department had not complied with its own legislation before applying to my department for the finalisation of their project.
Campbell Newman did the right thing, unfortunately it was too heavy handed. My Department easily filled its quota by targeting those who had been unsuccessful in their application for a voluntary redundancy a couple of years earlier. Two who left my work unit were not missed. In fact we used to wonder what they did all day because none of us noticed any increase in our own workloads.
If the author had stuck to a sober, temperate, non-political critique she (or he) might have had something valuable to say. Instead all we have is a piece of amateur cartoon writing. If the person actually exists, in some corner of the Queensland public service, there is little doubt that by now a series of colleagues will have identified who she is both by the nature of their politics, florid writing, the hyperbole of their thought pattern and general lack of worldliness. Even one of these likely explains why she does not get asked to join any Friday afternoon pub session, as also why she remains a junior clerk.
There is a lot one can say about an over bloated bureaucracy (as opposed to the wider public service of teachers and health workers, emergency service personnel and other front line service providers) but Ms Adani (so little imagination in selecting that name) has not done so. All the piece has done has outed her as a misfit. She may have talents that are not being surfaced by her current employment. That happens to most people at some stage during our work life. The solution is to solve the problem: find a role that provides the opportunities, challenges and satisfaction sought not waste one's life moaning, let alone fantasising.
We need that public service report
I don't doubt the gist of this story, but without a real name for accountability purposes, it could just be made up by anyone. I understand the bullying and other repercussions of putting one's real name to a story like this, but the unions and ALP will simply dismiss this as lies (as liars never believe anyone else). Only with a legitimate whistle blower can we really trust this story and use it to move forward. Where's the long withheld ALP report into the public service? They must be keeping it secret for a reason.
It's not Newman's fault
So true, so very true. I spent a few years in there and the job satisfaction just plummeted, the real rot started under the Bligh government and Newman actually "was on the money" to streamline and modernise the PS. After all technology has changed the workforce but the old PS dinosaur still walks it same tired old line. Newman never sacked 14,000. Most of them were temps whose contracts were not renewed. I know people working in State government who have had multiple redundancies from State government - what does that tell you.