Going through an Ofsted inspection is stressful. As in many professions, accountability to a fine degree is a necessary evil to ensure that standards are maintained and improvements are identified. However, I am often surprised to the degree that schools are judged, particularly in reference to the resources that the government’s budget constraints allow and how they can never tally with the expectations demanded! More so in small schools where the number of staff is low and the number of roles they have to cover high.
I was thinking that there are other professions that could benefit from a similar, rigorous inspection process where judgements have significant consequences for an entity’s public perception and that drives up standards in the interest of the very people they serve. How about MPs? Maybe a broad range of their responsibilities and performance could be looked at, assessed, judged and reported to the country? Here’s just a few suggestions:
Value for money
Given the expenses scandal (and the other, less publicised scandal of some of them getting back the money they paid!), this has to come first – a full look at the actual bottom-line cost of ‘doing their job’ and how this relates to performance. Perhaps they too should have a budget, linked to the size of their constituency, and they have to stick with it. Certainly any ‘perks’ should be flagged as inappropriate, especially in a time where laws are being passed where workers are even being made to pay to park their cars in the very places where they work! Either that or give us all expenses for doing what we do ;)
Every single business interest should be declared openly, with any financial payments listed. In an ideal democracy, there should be no business interests at all, as they should be serving the public; but as that is never going to happen, some transparency that links personal allegiances to the voting decisions they make.
A key indicator in schools! How often do they turn up at the House of Commons? How much time off do they have? Are they away on ‘trips’ for interests when they could be serving the public? How many actual votes do they take part in, and are there trends in the categories of votes (tax avoidance, transport, etc.)?
A scrutiny of them and their teams to assess how well they identify, respond and take action on the interests of their constituents. Random samples of queries and incoming correspondence could be tracked to see the flow of actions and a judgment made on the effectiveness of the actions they take in relation to the nature of the original issue.
Give the very clear rules regarding the personal qualities needed to be in professions with public responsibility, a look at their spiritual, moral and ethical views. Are they discriminatory in any way? Have they ever been fraudulent? Do they serve in the public interests all the time? A very key indicator really.
If you can suggest some more I’d love to see them.
Similar to Ofsted, perhaps a tiered system on which most people focus without investigating the actual details:
- 1 – Outstanding
- 2 – Good
- 3 – Satisfactory (although this will be rebranded dependant upon political motives)
- 4 – Inadequate
A strict, rapid re-inspection for failing MPs could help them get back on track. And for those that fail again? Well, removal of office – its not like we can convert them into an academy is it, an entity controlled by private enterprises with money as a focus…….that’s exactly what we want the MPs not to be!