Governments that admit their mistakes

Purple

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The obvious example to explain this is the National Children's Hospital, where contractors under priced a project and the State had to keep throwing money at it for fear of looking even more stupid and calling a halt to the project. The same think has happened over and over again all over the world for the last 100 years; fanfares and back slapping (of themselves) by politicians greet the start of X project which will cost Y amount of money and be completed in Z amount of time. Sometimes it actually happens as planned but that's usually down to luck rather than design. More often than not the project runs over budget and takes longer than expected to deliver.

Bad and all as it is when this happens with capital projects it is far worse when it happens with current projects as those costs recurs year after year
forever.

So, should be as voters be looking at governments and expecting them to highlight their failures before we reelect them? Should a list of failures and what they have learned from them, how they fixed them and what they have done to prevent them from reoccurring be seen by us as a good thing, a requirement before we vote for them again?

The Charity industry is beset by this problem; they can't admit they got it wrong and wasted the money that they received in donations so they don't share best practice with each other and so are doomed to repeat each others mistakes over and over again.
I think a reasonable question to ask a government is what they have learned in the last few years and because of that how have they collectively got better at their job.

In most businesses the management asks themselves, at least on an annual basis, what they have learned over the last year, what they did wrong, what they changed that made things better and what they changed that made things worse and needs to be changed in the future. Do governments do this? Do Government departments?
 

Peanuts20

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There is a general issue in Ireland around accepting you are wrong. Take all the HSE birth settlements as an example, millions get paid out but no admission of liability in a lot of cases. If they are not admitting to doing anything wrong, why are they paying out.?

Michael Martin and Bertie have apologised in the past and accepted they "did things wrong" during the boom but I sometimes wonder if it is an apology for the sake of an apology rather then any real effort to learn. I'm often reminded of Father Jack going "i'm really really sorry" to the Bishop !
 

odyssey06

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In other parliaments, the minister is asked a question about a project, they answer it. If their answer was wrong, they resign or are fired.
In Ireland, a minister can give a laughable answer, no one is any the wiser, and we have tribunals years later as the truth seeps out.
There's no accountability.
 

Peanuts20

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or as per Leo he can blame the opposition, the Catholic church or anyone one else he wants to rather than accept he got it wrong
 

Leo

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millions get paid out but no admission of liability in a lot of cases. If they are not admitting to doing anything wrong, why are they paying out.?
That's standard the world over in legal settlements. The purpose of the pay-out is to get the other party to sign as accepting you have no liability. Otherwise they could keep coming after you for more.
 

Leo

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In other parliaments, the minister is asked a question about a project, they answer it. If their answer was wrong, they resign or are fired.
Sad as it is, I think we're far from unique in failing to hold politicians to account. How many UK politicians have been fired about the Brexit lies? In NI, how many were fired for issues like Cash for Ash? How many times has Trump been fired?
 

odyssey06

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Sad as it is, I think we're far from unique in failing to hold politicians to account. How many UK politicians have been fired about the Brexit lies? In NI, how many were fired for issues like Cash for Ash? How many times has Trump been fired?
I meant in direct response to a parliamentary question about their direct cabinet responsibility e.g.
 

Leo

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I think Rudd is very much in the minority there, mostly they just bluff it out and look for scapegoats.
 

WolfeTone

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The Rudd case is interesting. Her comments in this article were

"I feel it is necessary to do so because I inadvertently misled the Home Affairs Select Committee over targets for removal of illegal immigrants,”
“I should have been aware of this, and I take full responsibility for the fact that I was not.”

There are two options as far as I see it. A question was asked about targets for removal of illegal immigrants and her Department did not provide her with the information that she required, leading her to inadvertently mislead the committee. In which case her senior civil servants are culpable.

Or, her Department did provide her with the information that she required, but for some unknown reason she did not take it on board in her answer to the Committee and consequently she inadvertently misled the Committee. In which case she is responsible.

As she stated that she was taking full responsibility I can only assume that it was the latter.

*Apologies, did a wiki search - it is clear that she was aware.
 

Purple

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It is the case that our politicians are particularly bad at reading their briefing notes or are their civil servants particularly bad at compiling them? PQ’a are submitting in advance so the minister in question is just reading our an answer written by one of the professional experts from their department. If the answer is incorrect then the minister may be at fault but the professional expert is certainly first in line. If one goes both should go. I do remember ministers resigning here. I can’t recall the last time a Civil Servant resigned in similar circumstances.
 

WolfeTone

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I think it might help if you could provide a specific answer (like the Rudd case) to a question that misled the parliament.
I think Simon Harris apologised for an answer centring around his awareness of the budget for the children's hospital being overrun?
Is it a sackable offence? Or was it a plausible oversight on his part? Or should the practice be that regardless of oversight or not, if you make a mistake, you are sacked!
 
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