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No Prior Experience Required July 10, 2014

Posted by Audit Monkey in The State of the British Nation.
Tags: , , ,

Another post from me. It is a bit like buses; none for ages, then three at once. An article in the ‘Times’ published on 16 June 2014 gave me a rare smile on a Monday morning. The article in question concerned Dominic Cummings and his experiences at the Department of Education. Dominic Cummings was a special adviser to the current Education Secretary, Michael Gove. In short, he was assisting Mr.Gove implement education reform. (I will admit ‘education reform’ is a board church but let’s not get into the policy detail.)

Mr.Cummings does not pull any punches. He describes the Department of Education of a ‘madhouse’. Politicians are into gimmicks rather than solving real problems. Civil Servants are caught in the middle, between structural dysfunction and politicians who really don’t know what they are doing. Worryingly, he mentions that everyone thinks there will be a ‘James Bond’ moment, where someone opens a door and all the good people are hidden behind but it never comes!

However, the comment which touched a nerve was the following. With reference to the David Cameron (the Prime Minister) and George Obsorne (the Chancellor), “neither of them have worked in a large complex organisation that’s well-managed. They’ve got nothing to compare it to”. This is so true. Any anyone reading this will think what the devil has this got to do with internal audit. On one level, not a lot; on another, quite alot. One of the most formative experiences I’ve had is working for a FTSE 100 firm in the Internal Audit function. You soon realise that to get anything done in a firm of certain magnitude, you need to have some relatively clever people at the core who know what they are doing in a business environment, who can organise themselves and others in order to make ‘things’ happen. I know that the previous sentence was rather general, but FTSE 100 firms are bit like super tankers on the ocean; quite big but to turn one, so you have to plan in advance when to turn and know when to do it. This depends on the skill of the crew (read education), no doubt assisted with navigational aides (read computers).

I look at the David Cameron and George Obsorne I think the reason why we haven’t had real reform in the UK is they are out of their depth, have no real experience of running big firms such as a FTSE 100 (as Dominic Cummings intimates) and don’t realise you need competent people at the core who can initiate real change. Sadly, ‘core people’ are few and far between, and from what I can tell, swallowed up by the Tier 1 investment banks and Big 4 consultancies!

PS Probably not the best post ever but please appreciate I’ve spent today doing ‘Reg’ stuff, so cut me some slack.


1. ITauditSecurity - July 11, 2014

True, but slack has been cut. Post on!

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