Monday, 25 October 2010

Productivity–vs- Competency

The public sector is pulling back in the expectation that the private sector will expand to fill the gap in terms of services and social care. The reasoning behind this is that the private sector has a higher labour productivity than the public sector. Normally it does. However, nothing is without cost. Higher productivity in private sector basically means that the job is done cheaper than the public sector could do it. We tend to think in terms of public sector waste (one source of productivity loss), but we should also think in terms of private sector incompetency (one source of productivity gain). One way in which higher productivity is delivered is through cutting corners in staff costs – usually by not training staff adequately to do the job.
The case of the poor man who was left brain dead by incompetent private sector agency staff who were not trained adequately for their outsourced public sector role provides a taste of what is to come in the next few years. It would be a shame if the cost savings from the outsourced social and health services were simply absorbed into higher lawyers fees resulting from the level of incompetence (and negligence) derived from swapping productivity for competence.
© The European Futures Observatory 2010
BBC News - Tetraplegic man's life support 'turned off by mistake'

1 comment:

Esme said...

It seems like there needs to be a balance between competency and Productivity. As one who has worked in both the private sector and public sector, I think that competency is the more important of the two. Quality is far more important than quantity.