In the early 90s I was a senior manager in local government in England.
We had a reputation for innovation in trying to respond to community needs. I sometimes sailed ‘close to the wind and on one of these occasions I was disciplined for breaking the rules.
Towards the end of the financial year I realised there was money underspent in one of our budgets that would be lost.
Rather than lose the money as it couldn’t be carried over the year end, I identified computer equipment we could buy for a new project we were setting up to promote access to computers and training for disabled people.
I quickly contacted three companies that could supply the equipment to get verbal quotes . Chose the best price and company got a formal written quote and agreed, we could go ahead.
In my rush, the mistake I made was not to get formal written quotes from all the companies.
I was investigated and at ‘the hearing’ I was put on ‘final warning.’I completely accepted I’d broken the rules and should have been punished. As public servants, responsible for significant budgets, providing quality services and the health and safety of our service users and teams we are and should be fully accountable.
Why do I share this with you now?
I can see political personal and institutional corruption at the highest level in the U.K. and I wonder how the guilty will be held accountable.