Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Outsourcing made simple (One Barnet Style)

Outsourcing is a fact of life. Every organisation outsources. Every household does as well. We don't grow our own bananas, we get someone else to. We don't build our own cars. Then there are the things some of us outsource and some don't. Some of us get a gardener to mow our lawns, some of us get a car wash to wash our car. Some of us do these things ourselves. I recently discussed our household budget with my wife. For years we had a cleaner to iron shirts and keep the place from looking like a tip. As like many households, spare cash is tight, we decided that as the children are bigger, this was one luxury we could do without. Since then, I've been subject of periodic whinging that I'm lazy and I should do my share of household chores (I did prefer the outsourced model!).

I recently discussed the subject of adultery with Conservative Councillor John Hart. He suggested that my wife would be quite happy for me to take a mistress as I'd cheer up, give up blogging and not walk around with the hump all the time. I suppose by this logic, if I outsourced my husbandly duties to the Milkman, maybe she'd be happier? Maybe, whilst what she wants is the loos cleaned and the carpet hoovered, if he got me pissed the Milkman might persuade me that all she needs is "a good seeing to, to cheer her up" (Please excuse the stereotype, my milkman is a lovely chap who doesn't go on like this in the real world).

But it is more fundamental than that, because when we outsource the service, we'd have to  pay for it. So I'd be paying the milkman to keep my wife happy. But then if we use the One Barnet model, I'd outsource the job to the milkman for ten years. We'd obviously have to make sure that we got the best deal, so maybe we'd ask for tenders from the postman and the electricty meter reader as well?

If we followed the One Barnet model. I'd have to perform a rigorous evaluation of bidders. I'd have to lay down a full schedule of services provided as well as what constituted chargeable extras. But just like One Barnet, I'd not consult with the person who actually used the service to see if this was what she actually wanted, I'd just let a group of amorous outsourcers make the best case they could (doubtlessly over a few beers in Sandbanks hotel). Just imagine, I'd stipulated he had to come around on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons between 11am and 1pm. Just suppose I specified he had to wear only freshly washed navy blue Armani undies and spray himself with Lynx Extra Strong. Suppose I said he had to have a shower before he visited and had to take off his shoes when he entered the front door. All things which are things a top class gigolo should consider.

So lets look at the upside. If by luck this was just what the doctor ordered today or tomorrow, a. it may do the trick and make for a happy household for a while. Using the One Barnet logic, I'd get a slice of the profits if my wife persuaded all of her friends to sign up for his services as well. Just suppose I based my household budget on that premise, before I'd even told her?  That is the upside, but what about next year or three years time? What about in five or ten years time. By then, our superfit, hunky milkman may have put on a couple of pounds. He may struggle to cope with the demands. Armarni may not make navy blue undies anymore, so he may have to wear faded six year old ones, with holes in. Lynx may not make extra strong spray, so he'd have to buy old knock off aftershave from ebay which comes in the same bottle but smells like rats piss. And what if Dairy Crest got taken over and a new milkman was provided. Our 6'4" hunk of a milkman was replaced by someone less to Madame's tastes. My wife may not want him to come around three times a week, but we have a contract. In short, in ten years time, the world will be a different place.

And the downside, Now of course this example is totally ridiculous, not least because Madame claims she has no interest in starting a relationship with the milkman or anyone else.  I only know that because I asked her, no one from Barnet has asked the service recipients. Over a nice up of tea, I said "Do you think you'd be happier if I paid the milkman to come around and do all of the things you'd like me to do, but I'm too busy?" She replied "Why would I want a milkman to wash up and hoover?". The councillors, who are supposed to decide have not even seen the contract and most never will. Richard Cornelius claimed the Tories had a democratic mandate to implement One Barnet, but there was not a single word about it in their manifesto.No consultation, no discussion, no democratic accountability, we just get what a few Council officers decide is the best thing for us.

So in effect it would be like me outsourcing my husbandly duties to the milkman and not consulting my wife. It would be like me getting pissed with the milkman and signing a contract with him on the terms agreed above for ten years. He'd turn up on Monday morning, armed with his navy blue undies and bottle of Lynx Extra and my wife would hand him the hoover. When I got home she'd say "What were you thinking, you idiot. I wanted him to hoover the front room and clean the toilets but all he did was chase me around the vegetable patch in his underpants. Get rid of him!". I'd reply "I can't we've signed a contract for ten years". If she queried, I'd say "well you married me". 

And that my friends is outsourcing, One Barnet Style, made simple


Mr Mustard said...

Now I know why you have green tea without milk Roger.

Rog T said...

Mr Mustard,

It's not "the milk in my tea" I'm worried about ;^)

Lindsay said...

This wonderful analogy did make me laugh! I think it pretty well sums up Barnet's daft idea!

PS You must include the window cleaner in the bidding war.If you don't have a window cleaner, any old one will do.

Rog T said...

I wouldn't want the poor old window cleaner to feel left out

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