.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, January 05, 2007


Today I want to highlight the jobsworth, a particular breed of individual who sticks to the letter of the rules no matter what, somebody for whom commonsense is just a word. This has of course been inspired by two incidents reported on this week's media.

The first one involves an elderly skin cancer victim who was ordered to remove the hood she wore to cover her bandages as she entered a Wirral superstore for some post-Christmas shopping.

Staff at the Asda store in Liscard insisted that great-grandmother Ruth Stoba's headgear had to be removed for "security reasons".

The frail 85-year-old has 19 stitches in her head and wore a long purple padded coat with its hood pulled up because she was self-conscious of her bandages.

She had left her Wallasey home for the first time since an operation to go with her daughter Janet Dellius to the Seaview Road store.

As they entered, Janet was stopped by a staff member and told that her mother's hood must be taken down for security reasons.

Some Asda stores have a 'no hoodie' policy but presumably did not intend for it to be applied in this way. Some commonsense could have saved everybody from embarassment and avoided the humiliation of an elderly and vulnerable old lady.

The other story relates to a government department which is taking its clear desk policy to a hitherto unknown level of control freakery. Black tape has been put on civil servants' desks at National Insurance offices in Longbenton, North Tyneside so as to show them where to put their pens. The pilot exercise is part of a UK-drive to encourage staff to tidy their desks.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union claimed the scheme was costing £7.4m nationally and branded it "demeaning" and "demoralising".

HM Revenue and Customs said it was in line with workstation training.

The exercise is part of the Lean programme, brought in by consultants Unipart, which has already seen public sector workers told to clear their desks of personal items.

The scheme is demoralising and demeaning. Staff know how to order their desks themselves.

The customs spokesman said: "Part of the Lean processing is to clear the workplace and only keep essential items to hand.

"This is in line with the workstation ergonomics training that all our staff receive and complies with the display screen equipment regulations (2002).

"The markers on desks are used to demonstrate that it is much better to work in a tidy work environment where everything has its place.

Those darned external consultants, what will they think of next?
"Common sense" is two words.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?