Sunday, 10 July 2011

John Lewis NHS for England, in Wales we have ...

... the tired statism that excludes good ideas for the sake of political dogma.

Advocates of the John Lewis mutual model will send the syndicalist Plaid Cymru membership into raptures, the Labour Party membership in Cardiff Bay and the valleys will seem to enter a "seventh heaven", but I would be surprised if the rank and file of both political parties understand how the John Lewis Partnership actually works.

To quote the partnership ...
When our founder, John Spedan Lewis, set up the Partnership, he was careful to create a governance system, set out in our Constitution, that would be both commercial allowing us to move quickly to stay ahead in a competitive industry, and democratic giving every Partner a voice in the business they co-own. His combination of commercial acumen and corporate conscience, so ahead of its time, is what makes us what we are today.
Mutual is probably a misrepresentation of the John Lewis Partnership, in reality it is a business like any other business that is ruthless in its management style, yet manages to portray a paternalist image to the unwary; although it would be true to say that whilst you work for the company the benefits are a welcome addition to the daily toil.

To sum up, the John Lewis Partnership is a business that is ruthless in its business methods, it will buy and sell, hire and fire and most importantly take decisions that ensure its continuity, in essence it will make a profit; during the last financial year ...
... the John Lewis Partnership reported :
  •  Gross sales up £784.8m, 10.6%, to £8.21bn
  •  Group operating profit up £41.3m, 10.6%, to £431.0m
  •  Profit before Partnership bonus and tax up £61.3m, 20.0%, to £367.9m
  •  Partnership bonus of £194.5m; 18% of salary
For those syndicalist and socialists, it is essential to temper the euphoria as the operative word amongst the figures is "profit", without "profit" there is nothing to share.

Going back to the NHS, David Cameron will tomorrow offer "choice and control" to English communities, he will throw open every part of the public sector to the "best possible provider", and the example of this best possible provider he will give the public is the John Lewis Partnership, the best possible business model that will drag the health service into the 21st century whilst placating the public animosity to private health providers.

The model being offered is strong management unhindered by both politics and trade unionism, where success will be measured by the profitability of the "National Health Enterprises".

Whilst in the green valleys of home, the public in Wales will be restricted to the statist model so loved by the politicians of Wales, the doctrine that gives a centralised government control over economic planning and policy, a policy that rides roughshod over good business practice.

Is Carwyn Jones and his left leaning Minister for Health and Social Services,  Lesley Griffiths AM (Unison, theFabian Society and the BevanFoundation), likely to look at the Cameron model for the supply of public services, I doubt it, it requires qualities absent in our Welsh Assembly Government, an open mind and courage.

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