Bid bye-bye to bad, bungling bosses

Written By: John Holden
Published: December 7, 2017 Last modified: December 7, 2017

What can be done to tackle the widespread problem of managerial ineptitude? The managerially challenged are employed in many senior positions. They should be replaced with people who are up to the job, and one welcome consequence could be that improvements would not so much trickle as gush down throughout various organisations.

So, start the purge at or near the top because competent managers will deal as a matter of course with poor performers lower down the organisational pyramid.

It is important to stress that is not about shady managerial practices that verge on the criminal. The issue is how to tackle woefully inadequate managerial performance. The bunglers should be sacked, not in painfully protracted fashion, but as soon as possible within the terms of the appropriate disciplinary procedures. This would avoid the sort of stitch up in which the bungler leaves with the full retirement package including redundancy and pension benefits.

The equally pervasive practice of moving the bungler sideways and free to cock things up all over again must also be ended. This approach would benefit the employing organisation in that the other senior managers would hopefully get the message that the sack is just that and not
an agreeable alternative to a lucrative job.

There is a case for appointing a national P45 czar to call in the bunglers to inform them that their gross misconduct, in­competence or gross negligence has triggered their departure.  Proceedings should be conducted under the relevant sections of the disciplinary handbook. There have been cases where the sacking was not carried out as per script, thus adding farce to fiasco.

The sacked bungler should be allowed a few minutes to collect their personal belongings and then escorted from the premises. The relevant P45 must, of course, be correctly made out.
The minimum amount of time should be allowed for the relevant appeals to be presented. It is important that the dismissed bunglers are required to contest the outcome in their own time.
Some people who ought to consider their position or have it considered for them include university vice-chancellors boosting their reward own reward packages at a time when the higher education sector is pleading a serious lack of funding.

George Holmes, the Bentley-driving, yacht-sailing vice-chancellor of Bolton University insists he is worth every penny of his £220,000-a-year salary. However, his failed Doncaster Education City scheme left Doncaster College with a £1.8 million deficit in 2005. The University of Bolton was placed 125th out of 129 universities in this year’s The Complete University Guide.

The senior police officers who authorised the search of Cliff Richard’s Berkshire residence of Cliff Richard and tipped off the BBC should be directed to the nearest jobcentre. In August 2014, police searched the singer’s home, but there were no arrests. Richard strongly denied any allegations of impropriety. He has never been charged with any offence. Ken Macdonald, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, condemned the police for “completely disreputable conduct”. The BBC was criticised for its coverage of the search. An independent report has concluded that South Yorkshire Police had “interfered with the star’s privacy” by telling the BBC about the August 2014 raid.

In 2016, Lynne Homer finally stood down as HM Revenue and Customs chief executive with a pension worth an estimated £2 million after receiving a reported £85,000 contribution in her first year at HMRC. When she was in charge of HMRC, it was hit a scandal over millions of miscalculated tax bills. She was accused of presiding over “catastrophic failure” while in charge of the UK Border Agency. More than 100,000 of the 400,000 asylum seekers found in the backlog were allowed to stay – in what MPs said amounted to an “amnesty”. Around 400 of 1,000 foreign criminals were also told they could remain in Britain and dozens remained untraced. Why was she rewarded for failure for so long?

The senior management of the expensive, unreliable UK rail sector deserve a special dishonourable mention. Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the UK’s largest rail franchise, appointed Nick Brown as its chief operating officer in 2016.

Commenting, Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR, said: “We’re delighted that Nick is joining GTR. He has a first-class pedigree in the transport industry, a wealth of experience and a strong track record of leading businesses in the rail and bus sectors. Nick’s broad experience and intimate knowledge of the sector makes him ideally placed to help us achieve our business goals and deliver a better railway and excellent service for our customers going forward.”

Many travellers by rail will be dubious about “excellent service” and would gladly settle for a service that provided trains that run to time untroubled by faulty points and faulty signals and inadequate numbers of staff.

Many will be equally dubious about making huge funds available for HS2 to managers who are incapable of maintaining points and signals and adequate staff levels. The managers campaigning for the funding for HS2 will be relaxed about the challenge given the extent to which they are insulated from the normal pressures of their profession.

Suffice it say that the rapid departure of a few senior managerial heads would do more to convince those remaining of the need to get things right than would any amount of self-calculated performance-based bonuses.