This story confuses me.
The government says it has rejected advice from management consultants to cut the NHS workforce in England by 10% over the next five years.
The plans to close 137,000 clinical and admin posts were proposed by McKinsey and Company to save £20bn by 2014.
Why announce that you’re not making cuts? Why announce that a huge and respected management consultancy believe that you need to make cuts, but that you’re rejecting this advice – which you paid for…?
The very word ‘cuts’ is demotivating to staff. I’ve worked in companies when the management said: “We’re doing everything we can to avoid cutbacks.” The only word that people hear in that sentence is ‘cutbacks’.
So what is the government doing ‘announcing’ this? Some possibilities:
- It’s all about the political narrative for the election. Labour standing firm in the face of proposed cuts – even when those cuts are proposed by people the government is paying.
- It’s softening up the workforce, and the public. When companies say “We’re fighting to avoid job cuts”, what follows soon enough is: job cuts. (At least that was my experience…)
- The McKinsey report was leaked, or was going to be leaked, so the government had to respond forcefully. Even though they’d rather the whole thing had remained private.
I can’t choose between these. All three, perhaps?