SHAMING (House of Lords “versus” Laggardly Civil-Service Departments)

In two-way ‘participatorily-democratic’ motion today via


Naming and shaming Departments

Lord NortonIn a post on my blog, I have drawn attention to the report from the Procedure Committee which was agreed yesterday by the House.  Part of the report was to inform the House that in future the names of Government Departments that failed to respond to reports from select committees within two months would be listed in House of Lords Business.

Departments that fail to respond within the expected ten working days to written questions are already listed.  It is a useful way of naming and shaming. It struck me that it would be appropriate to extend the practice to select committee reports.  I put down a question at the end of last year raising the proposal and the Leader of the House, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, said she would take it to the Procedure Committee.  They have now agreed to it.  It is a modest way of shaming Departments, but it means any Department that takes a long time to reply – and some can take many months – will now be regularly shown to be remiss and likely to be pursued by the Leader of the House to respond.

It may not have much impact on the quality of responses.  A delay in replying does not usually mean that a Department is deep in thought, but rather is having to clear responses with other Departments, resulting in an agreed response that represent the lowest common denominator.  However, it may encourage Departments to be more efficient and at least alert to the need to respond.  They can no longer hope that their tardiness in responding has fallen below the parliamentary radar.

5 comments for “Naming and shaming Departments”

  1. 17/03/2018 at 1:05 am

    Further enormously laggardly and dead-weight-wastage-bulk can be espied, Lord Norton;
    right down through Governmental-channels –
    and upwards-through the multifarious “Departments”-

    from such as

    £500 invoiced to Westminster by Local Government Adult Social Care –
    for a mere “Sitter” [good-as-gold ‘though the young lady was]
    to sit with a harmless little old lady for five(5) hours whilst her voluntary unpaid carer no. P77099 paid own way and costs to travel to Totnes for a human-development-and-care course not accessible in Plymouth for 7 weeks – for which the taxpayer ‘run-of-the-mill covertly’ had to pay £3,500 !!!

    How on Earth can any truly-responsible and sober democratic Electorate –
    such as this UK “boasts” itself to be –
    see honesty,
    let alone “efficiency” and “value”
    in such “grains-of-sand-in-the-works” –

    we really do need a thoroughly-positivising and peaceful revolution, Lord Norton.

    Again it needs to be repeatedly suggested now, the embracing of such world-leadership as the Mindells’ Team’s “Worldwork” — – see “Sitting In The “Fire” ;

    and include in such “nation-self-strengthening”
    both Gordon’s ” ‘No-Lose’ Method lll of Cooperative Problem Solving” from “Leader Effectiveness Training”, “Teacher Effectiveness Training”, and “Parent Effectiveness Training”;
    de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” [as facilitative methodology] –

    And run a non-political public-education-campaign –
    – in how to start using the same methodology in local Neighbourhoods

    as a part of ‘Life-Networking’

    rather than of “citizenship-skilling” or “closing ranks against the enemies at our gates” or anything otherwise “competitively-democratic”.

    [Clearly our Civil-Servants don’t yet realise “which side their bread’s buttered on”.]

  2. Richard Lock
    17/03/2018 at 6:29 pm

    Whilst not wishing to condone tardiness, I do think you have put your finger on a perfectly valid reason for delays in replying. In this age of digital communication it is clear that many organisations face a barrage of messages which would take a large number of people to clear up – if you were to expect a prompt response in most cases. Naming and shaming should only really be used in situations where there is definite proof of reluctance to reply. You will, no doubt, say that parliamentary business is more important than most but that does not necessarily change things for a hard pressed department, what would help is if the originators understood what it takes for the minions to get a reply out to them. I know what it’s like to have hectoring directors demanding that they get better service when they themselves are so often the cause of the problem. Not saying you are wrong but asking that you consider whether naming and shaming could be counter productive in this world of ‘value for money, cost effectiveness etc’. Quality before quantity is something I have always believed in but it is not the case in this country particularly, in my view, from politicians!

    • 21/03/2018 at 2:20 am

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Surely, Richard, we all need to get right down to “real-life-usefulness-&-sustainworthiness-valuing”

      and NOT continue so blindly, neglectfully, and “greedily”
      with both “value-for-money-profiteerfing”
      “consumerist-destructional-extinction-effectiveness” –

      [Consider an “organisation” – it has to have a “non-negotiable ‘perfection’” – -but the Trouble with that is that its members no longer need to learn anything new –
      they “know it all , or at least ‘enough’, already” isn’t it ?] .

      Richard ?

  3. maude elwes
    19/03/2018 at 4:43 pm

    Do the group who are being asked about this move really believe this ‘no teeth shaming’ will have one iota of power to impose discipline on this lawless brigade? I don’t think so. In order to clean up the rabble in that house you will have to create a fear of genuine loss on them should they refuse to toe the line on important issues regarding the will of the country.

    A House of Lords who puts the whims of its self interest before the will of the people should be dispossessed.

  4. Lord Norton
    19/03/2018 at 11:03 pm

    Richard Lock: I fear that there is not a correlation between reports coming after the deadline and quality. A long-delayed response is not often met with a ‘that was well worth waiting for’ reaction. Putting pressure on to reply within the agreed deadline may help focus the minds of officials and not let it go on the back burner as well as encouraging them to be more efficient in cross-departmental liaison.

    • 21/03/2018 at 2:05 am
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.Also “lurking –
      even ‘skul-king’ –
      would be the “back-burner” enormous wastages of ‘Gas’ …