Delivering the Paper

According to the preliminary report, there was low staff morale, widespread sickness, poor leadership, and a substandard environment. Indeed, the unit was considered to be potentially dangerous, ineffective, and very near to being closed on the spot. There had been a further decline since the previous negative report, and within a week the Inspectors’ views would be made public. Were there any comments?
“Hmm…hmm…Surely, we have improved a little since our last inspection” Richard said in a faint voice. “We worked out an excellent action plan after you came last time”
“But have you implemented any of it?”
“Hmm….hmm…Well there have been delays of course, due to staff sickness and under-funding. We have a meeting scheduled for next month to discuss it.”
“But doesn’t an action plan imply ‘action’ as well as discussion?”
“Hmm…..hmmm…….Well, things are well in hand. We have now agreed the action plan”
“Yes, you had an action plan last year, and apparently the year before that. We also have on record your predecessor saying something similar. There appears to be quite a collection of ‘action plans’”
“If only we’d known how bad it was” interjected the senior manager “We would have prioritised this unit for investment. Naturally, we have long term plans to develop a new community based service”
“But, we’ve been told that these plans have been on record for the last five years”
“Well, policy of that sort takes quite a while to roll out. If only the unit had flagged this up earlier, we might have acted sooner. There’s been a problem with the interface, I’m afraid.”
“But, aren’t communications a management responsibility?”
“Yes, of course. I wasn’t trying to fudge or wriggle out of owning the problem or anything, although I should point out that I’ve only been in this job three years, I inherited a long list of problems from the previous regimen, and funding has been a major issue. Also, we’re having to restructure the whole service again (for various vital reasons I can’t quite bring to mind) and we’ve had other practical priorities such as introducing ‘Investors in People’ policy. Not to mention the fact that my wife’s having a baby and I seem to be getting a constant series of colds at the moment. “


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