There are times when I really wonder how intelligent I am. When at school and college I maintained average 50% marks and as I have mentioned before the rating, "could do better" was consistently on my reports! The phrase will be my epitaph!
It has therefore always been a source of amazement how people,with a higher academic rating than me, take so long to come to an obvious conclusion. Usually after a committee, formed at the recommendation of equally qualified consultants has taken months to formulate an opinion.
A report published today by the Royal College of Nurses states that the death rate of patients on a ward increases, as the number of nurses decreases. Seems obvious to me.
I served on many committees in my working life. I had the dubious priviledge of writing the minutes on many of them. The first rule was to write the gist of what was said – not what was actually said! Even formulating the agenda was a work of art. "matter’s arising from the previous meeting" was the first ‘minefield’ to avoid, hence the phrase, "The matter is still being investigated" becomes the first of many stock sentences to be used . "This issue should be investigated more fully – it is suggested a small sub – committee be formed," is another.
Most, although not all,of the committees I served on consisted of two sides, ie, Management and the Staff. It was therefore essential to have the agenda items in the correct order. The main item of concern to the Staff should immediately preceed the managements item. These two must be the final two on the agenda, just before the free buffet lunch.
The more vociferous staff were then able to give vent to the point for what seemed an age, 10, 20 minutes …the minutes would record," The Management answered the main points of contention set before them by the elected representatives." What you may ask would they be discussing? The quality of soap issued in the showers. [Some favoured scented, others non scented.]
Another gripe was the poor service by the stores department and the time wasted waiting to be served.[This was a large industrial complex and spares were vital to the 24 hour maintenance work in progress].
I recorded a manager’s reply in the draft minutes," Marks and Spencers don’t stock all their products and do you complain when in a queue at Asda?" This was revised in the final draft to," This matter will be referred to the Stores Supervisor."
Meanwhile the clock is ticking…almost lunchtime. The meetings always closed at lunchtime. It is now the final item – Managements Item. The statement made and with only minutes to spare any discussion was minimul. Future staffing levels, ending company apprenticeships,redundancy policies were a few of the subjects dealt with in this way.The minutes of a joint consultative committee became the the official company policy document. It was at this point that I resigned.