Received an email today for the latest *special one day conference* on transformational government. The event, sponsored by Price Waterhouse Coopers is ‘designed primarily for senior civil servants and equivalent levels (I’m guessing this means those with a budget) across the public sector.’
So, at a bargain price of £480 senior staff can pay to hear their Ministers and colleagues speak about what they’d like to see their Department doing; listen to examples of how this has been done and also apply professional poker strategies to their work (it’s all about taking risks). This isn’t the first time a conference like this has been promoted to civil servants.
Recognising the fact that conferences cost money to promote and run, there has to be a better way of encouraging participation by civil servants. Budgets across Whitehall are tight – if 40 civil servants were to attend, we miss an opportunity to make the civil service more transparent, open and responsive for citizens – all in the name of the very programme that is supposed to bring about this change.
I don’t begrudge the organisers the opportunity to regain costs or even make a profit, but at the very least they could make it more interesting and inclusive by offering a couple of free tickets through some sort of competition.
After all, competition in Whitehall seems to be all the rage these days.