The brief History of our dealings is as follows:

  1. In December 1997 Nick wrote to Kathryn Packer of the Better Government Team pointing out deficiencies in measuring activity and proposing to remedy the deficiencies with appropriate systems. The potential of what we call the Alerting, Modelling and Audit in Real Time (AMART) methodology for low impact adoption was focussed around what Nick called Statmail. With the potential of Antonia's Gamma Test methods in modelling and Alex' agreement that Alerting was a key unique component of the approach the Real Time Study Group was formed.
  2. Why couldn't Office of National Statistics do this was the obvious first question? The inaugural meeting of the founders (Nick, Alex and Antonia) was held at Office of National Statistics in Newport where we had a short inquiry into the constraints and working of ONS. We broadly endorse the findings of KPMG and their criticisms of "silo" management. Their products are of marginal use for professional statistical modelling and no raw data is made available.
  3. Subsequently contact was made with Government Officials including Cabinet Office and their Central It Unit (CITU). Contacts, preliminary discussion with Treasury, National Audit Office, Home Office, DETR, MAFF, DES, HMC&E, DoH and NHS followed and eventually detailed fact finding with police, selected local authorities and Hospital trusts.
  4. Finally we were advised to apply to Treasury's Invest to Save Budget Scheme (ISB) by an Assistant Director of CITU, Paul Waller after we pointed out to the Director that the current Modernising Government plans "left the cash drawer open". There was no attempt to regulate activity properly. We submitted our first Expression of Interest in June 2000.
  5. Christopher Angell was our lead bidder from DETR to cohere with ISB regulations because 70%-75% of our activity will be with Local Authorities. NG gave a talk to Cabinet Office and Treasury Staff attending a one day conference for DETR applicants. Memorably appalling weather prevented attendance of Profs Gray and Jones from Cardiff.
  6. ISB aims are to improve delivery of Citizen Services particularly with IT. In past years there has been an emphasis on the Socially Excluded. It is keen to encourage a "cross-cutting, joined-up" approach. So we passed the DETR sift and the Treasury sift and were invited to submit a detailed plan (including some of the mandatory odd seeming headings you will see in our plan to cover cost benefit etc).
  7. It was at this point that we discovered the Treasury end of Millennium Study on UK Productivity (comparing best practice in typically UK, France, Germany and US). This leads to our current estimate of waste at 52% of public expenditure. A 35% productivity gap is reported in the wider economy with a 17% worse multiplier for the Public Sector use of investment yielding 52%. NAO has no estimate of waste.
  8. Anecdotal inspection suggests the situation is far worse when productivity in Small and Medium Enterprises is compared. Alienation, low pay and perverse incentives are seen rather than a culture with economies of scale and excellence. Surprisingly bullying experts report most complaints from Health and Education. Most in these sectors believe this is the norm and few have any experience of real engagement with customers and achievement. Proper measurement of achievement fedback in real time (like the days takings in a shop or Deming quality circles) is our solution with the data we collect to aid in participatory development of better working practices. Alerting through the management chain is the key to getting this going. Hence AMART: Alerting, Modelling and Audit in Real Time.
  9. Our plan was unsuccessful with the ISB committee. No feedback was offered. However Paul Waller (now in Office of e-Envoy) invited NG to explain our work to a group headed by William Jordan in Cabinet Office working on Pensions. Then Christopher Angell arranged for NG to give a talk to Tamara Finkelstein's team and colleagues. (TF then senior adviser on general expenditure policy, now in Department of Work and Pensions).
  10. TF invited Real Time Study Group to make a presentation to her team and Treasury ISB and Cabinet Office representatives. In the Treasury Presentation we introduced our methodology and explained the plan. We have tabulated the pre-presentation criticisms made by Tamara Finkelstein. The SIPS references are paragraph numbers pp 14-32 of the Treasury Presentation. The SIPS acronym arose when Treasury ISB officials asked us to use the name "Statistical Information for Performance Standards" for the Plan and its 39 implementation steps see Annex1.

    Comment by T.F.

    Response from RTSG


    Getting departments to undertake structural and cultural change

    By registering mangers responsible for alerts from a given performance series (SIPS 1.32 ). Further study indicated?


    Full engagement of partners

    By subscription payable in advance (an Application Service Provider "ASP" model) with promotion at conferences, workshops (SIPS 1.34). By HMT fiat where maladministration is found (SIPS 4.0).


    The link between the tool and the solution it provides

    By use of Public Service process diagrams (SIPS 4.0, Annex 1 p16) on websites and the Data Warehouse (SIPS 1.2, 1.31,1.35...) for real-time audit and modelling for policy studies.


    How the information would reach the right people at the right time

    As 1. above by registering chains of responsibility for conformance of a performance statistic to standard


    How the data collection would be consistent with current data collection activities

    By use of e-mail (SIPS 1.31)as it is increasingly used for this, simply taking copies for Departmental Data Marts and ultimately the Public Service Data Warehouse. We will interface as appropriate with legacy methods (SIPS 1.2) e.g. via data collection managers in departments and councils.


    More work on the savings calculations.

    We provided a global estimate of waste in the Public Service based on the Chancellors (SIPS 6.0) recent study of productivity and a detailed study of waste in council house repair management (SIPS 9.0). We will look at any fields of your choice.

  12. As a result of the presentation RTSG was invited to apply again. We passed the DTLR sift. Kamran Quadri was our Lead Bidder this time (now working for ISB) but failed the Treasury Sift for Round 4. No reason has been forthcoming.
  13. I have sought a meeting with Lord Gus Macdonald, responsible for Civil Service Reform, but officials have passed on the correspondence with no response from him (surely improper?). Eventually Michael Thornton of Treasury Workforce Innovation and Reward Unit told us that we didn't qualify for Round 3 ISB funding. His remarks didn't correspond to the guidelines. We have pointed out that we are a management technique using web technology to improve delivery of citizen services particularly to socially excluded where delivery is often improperly regulated.
  14. We applied to Round 5. Naheem Chaudry was our lead at DTLR. He moved the deadline backward and responsibilities were shifted without reference to us and Allison Harris became our lead as Office of Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) took over.
  15. The first we knew of any of this was Harris writing to me saying our bid was unsuccessful. She admitted not understanding our application, indeed regarded it as a valid criticism. It then became apparent that she had not been briefed by her predecessors in the Lead Bidder role. She had no idea of the history of our dealings and she had not sought a briefing from us.This account aims to remedy that. We have asked ODPM to reconsider out EoI before time runs out for Round 5 ISB. 52% waste is a grave matter and persistent incompetence, in effect resisting the Reform of the Public Service, is intolerable. If ODPM persists in its inability to select desirable participants and provide proper finance, despite potential support from IDeA, Audit Commission and numerous individual officers from many Departments whose encouragement we gladly acknowledge, we will have to revert to Ministers. Currently ODPM Officials seem to be in contravention of the Civil Service Code, their employment contract with HM Government.
  16. Presentation to HM Treasury Wednesday, 17th September 2003 Joe Grice Director Public Services. Mr Grice was most helpful and encouraging. Unfortunately he was unable to facilitate further approaches to Government Departments and was unable to identify anyone responsible for controlling waste in the Public Service. He said he thought our proposal was appropriate but that Departments had plans which would make our Alerting, Modelling and Real Time Audit unnecessary. We have waited six months but no such plans have yet been announced. In the 2004 budget the Chancellor has now acknowledged there is overstaffing in Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue. There are no real-time controls on expenditure and performance- a fact which employees in the National Health Service, for example, are very well aware. Mr Grice said we must understand his role was Strategic. He and his colleagues are responsible form spending 1.2 billon pounds per day. 52% of that is wasted.