In reading this recent article in the Guardian about former Prison Service Director Martin Narey joining G4S, I was disappointed to note that apparently the former Chief Inspector of Probation Andrew Bridges has been snapped up by Interserve. You will recall that there has been a steady flow of former senior public servants in the Criminal Justice sector, such as Phil Wheatley another former Prison chief, deciding to 'embrace new challenges' in the burgeoning private sector.
All understandable possibly, especially given the current government policy of slimming down the public sector in favour of wholesale transfers of state functions to either private industry or charities. But I have to say I'm very disappointed that the former Chief Inspector of Probation was not able to use his many skills and talents, honed from a professional lifetime in Public Service, furthering that service rather than going over to the opposition. It's possible he tried and certainly this article from the Guardian in July could be taken as a barely-veiled invitation for job offers from the wider probation family. Surely his expertise would have been invaluable as the Service generally tries to come to grips with how to best position itself and respond to a rapidly approaching competitive market? Were there really no approaches from this side of the fence?
I suppose what we're left with is the very depressing scenario that, in our field at least, the Public Service appears to be a lost cause and all the talent - and it has to be said smart money - is increasingly migrating to the private sector. If you have time, just root around on the Interserve website and you will see that these so-called Facility Management companies turn their hand to just about anything. Depending on your views about capitalism amid the present economic crisis, we're either on a hand cart to hell, or outfits like this will be running whole economies, nay countries soon. I feel one of my heads coming on and need to lie down.