August 30, 2012

How not to run any organisation

Amid the domestic political posturing and the ephemeral positioning over the euro, there slipped out an interesting example of how not to govern.

English primary and secondary schools used to have 28,455 pages of guidance. Yes, 28,455.

No one can read, absorb and recall 28,455 pages. But that didn't stop the previous lot of centralisers churning the stuff out, doubtless at a cost to us.
Axed documents include the all-out abolition of a 200-page guide to “reducing bureaucracy”.
Guidance on “improving pupil performance” has been cut from 2,524 pages to 174, and a volume on “pedagogy and practice“ has been reduced from 1,959 pages to 63.

More than three-quarters of official edicts issued to schools under the smug know-alls of the last Government have been abolished.
Teachers are no longer given guidance on handling the media. In the past, they were issued with 188 pages on the subject.

Guidance on health and safety has been dramatically trimmed to just eight pages. This follows concerns that some schools were axing traditional science experiments or school trips amid fears over safety rules.

The number of pages of guidance on science, technology, engineering and maths was cut from 765 pages to nothing, while documents relating to work-based learning were also axed altogether.
Good. But. After these cuts, how many of the 28,455 pages remain?

It's still a massive 6,978. Still way too many.

A good start. Rut there's still lots more to be done.


A K Haart said...

"It's still a massive 6,978. Still way too many."

I agree - still far too much to absorb. In my experience these documents tend to be the result of senior people covering their backs in minute detail.

John Page said...

Yep, completely agree.

Gove's style is interesting. Yet again he's gone this far under the radar. Liz Truss probably didn't ask about that by chance!

Nearly 7,000 pages of guidance remains ludicrously massive. But credit where it's due. What other minister gets anywhere near this?