A wonderful Google Streetview artefact—the top of the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh appears to be floating off into the distance.
Archive for November, 2014
There seems to be an obvious solution to the problem of finding a chair for the child abuse enquiry which has so far failed twice to appoint someone with requisite knowledge due to their close establishment figures of the time. That solution is to appoint someone from outside the UK to chair the enquiry. Even if someone with good knowledge of the English legal system is required, then this doesn’t seem to be a problem; enough Commonwealth countries have legal systems that are strongly enough based on the English system to provide someone with the background required.
It seems that we bend over backwards to insist that we should provide democratic and judicial systems to the rest of the world, and insist on international observers for elections etc. Yet, when the failure of democracy and justice is in our own back yard, we fail to apply the same solution.
My mother used to work for the purchasing department at Boots, a major pharmaceutical retailer. One day, she had the following phone conversation with a rather posh sales rep:
Rep: “Good morning, I’m Miles from Nicholas Products Ltd.”
Mum: “Well, I’m miles from there too, but how can I help you?”
From a colleague’s email: “SharePoint is very precise and there is plenty of room for human error to interfere with the workflows.” Uh-oh.
It seems to be that one unfortunate side effect of “quality assurance” as it is currently constituted in many organisations is to ensure that real work cannot happen in committees as it is meant to. Because committee minutes become the primary means of evidence that an organisation is running as it claims to, there is a reluctance to show anything in those minutes that analyses how things are really happening. As a result, these sorts of discussions—discussions about quality enhancement, natch!—happen in an undocumented shadow system. This is of particular detriment to attempts to involve stakeholders (for example, student representatives in universities) in the process, because they are rarely involved in these shadow systems.