Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Death By Tick Box.
You hear a great deal about "the tick box culture" nowadays and how it diverts people away from their proper concerns and squanders their time. But how does a tick box culture develop in the first place? It comes about because someone, with no idea as to how a job should be done, decides that the person doing that job cannot be trusted and need to be told exactly how their working day should be structured. Usually this is because some customer or service user has complained often because they are impatient know-alls who think they are the most important person in the universe. Management, afraid that they may be criticised and with no real operational experience themselves, now introduce a questionnaire that is designed to control the behaviour of their staff and micro-manage their working day. Often this is very successful, inasmuch as the staff now have to spend so much time collecting proof that they are doing their jobs that they no longer have time to actually do their jobs. In the NHS this means that patients are neglected while doctors and nurses begin to believe that their work actually consists of ticking boxes. As a consequence complaints multiply and management, convinced that they were right all along, introduce yet more tick boxes. Eventually things become so insane that patients actually begin to die, the government steps in and - you guessed it - introduce yet more tick boxes to collect the same information that management has already collected. In other words you have tick boxes to make sure that the tick boxes are being completed correctly. Tick boxes destroy the ability of people to do their jobs properly and, in the case of the NHS, actually kill people but remain popular because incompetent managers and ignorant politicians believe that doctors and nurses cannot be trusted to do their jobs without close supervision. The question is who is supervising the incompetent managers and ignorant politicians? Perhaps they need to start ticking boxes of their own.