Friday, February 25, 2011

Monica is bemusing the NIO with her incongruous schemes

"Bemusing" and "incongruous" is civil-service speak for "Both you and your cunning plans are pure, plain, barking mad"; in other words, a pretty strong condemnation.

Now, have a read of the first and particularly last letters ( registered under code: DEP2011-026) sent between the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) in December.

In a nutshell the situation is that Professor McWilliams is wanting to regrade two positions within the NIHRC upwards (ie from B1 equivalent to Grade A equivalent) with effect from April 2010. I'm presuming that will involve a payrise backdated to April 2010 also.

What is "bemusing" the NIO is why the regrading is taking place prior to the restructuring of the management team, a restructuring which (according to Monica anyway) will involve a reduction in the number of management posts in "due course".

"Incongruous"? Well, as the NIO asks once again (so it must really be puzzling them), why "posts can on one hand merit upgrading, while at the same time be within the scope of an exercise designed to reduce them in number".

One could hazard a pretty good guess why, but let's, for the time being, keep with the NIO's rather searching questions:

  • Does it represent "value-for-money" (bearing in mind the NIHRC's impending cut in budget)?
  • Has the NIHRC had legal advice to say why this re-grading should take place now and on the "terms specified"?
  • Has consideration been given as to "whether the additional costs associated with terminating the employment of Grade-A equivalent staff as opposed to B1-equivalent staff (which seems to be the likely outcome of the management restructuring) are well-justified and can be met from existing resources"?
Key to the whole affair is not too well-hidden in that last point I think... along the lines of "Great if your boss agrees with your opinion that if you're going to lose your job anyway, then it's better to do it at a higher grade and (again) presumably higher redundancy settlement..."

But maybe I'm too cynical.


...or maybe not:
£20m already paid out in quango redundancies


DingDong said...

The "head of communications" post that the letter disclosed to the House of Lords shows the HRC claims scores 640 points on the standard scale, was evaluated in 2008 by an allegedly independent process -scoring only 551 points. The HRC employs legally qualified (female) case workers who were graded above 551 points in the 2008 exercise but they ended up at B1 level and they were not offered the bespoke re-evaluation that was given the (male) managers. These solicitors/barristers are now being paid less than a "head of communications' who is not even a trained journalist. Go, as they say, figure.

DanKilrea said...

Of course the NIHRC needs to upgrade its staff. It is about to lose its guiding light, Professor McWilliams. She is also apparently the 'chair of the National Irish Human Rights Commission' and in that capacity she is taking time out from protecting the little people over here to share her wisdom with the womenfolk of the world (, in April, at the 183rd-best university in the USA ( From her biography (follow hyper-link from uml page) her credentials as an International Woman Leader rest on having represented 60,000 people as an MLA for South Belfast, but there was not enough space to record that only 3,912 of the ungrateful toerags voted for her. Professor McWilliams, according to her biography, thinks that "Someday, a 'women’s coalition' should be redundant." Who is going to break the news to her....

Anonymous said...

Martina Purdy from the BBC told us the NIHRC has had a management review, and the NIO letter refers to it! What happened to that?
Another disgusting waste of public money, and a damning endictment on the overall management in the NIHRC.
Perhaps its time she stepped down sooner than she intends, and take what seems to be her 'favourites' with her.
£75k salary...for what?