Posted by: Adam Deane | 06/12/2010

BPM: Yes Minister

BPM: Yes MinisterMinister: What are we actually going to do to slim down the civil service?
Sir Humphrey: We can do a study to see who we can get rid of.
Minister: Oh, that sounds good. Lets run one now.
Sir Humphrey: We had one of those last year.
Minister: And what were the results?
Sir Humphrey: It transpired that we needed another five hundred people.

Minister: Now look! None of this monkey business. Of course there’ll be redundancies, you simply can’t slim down a giant bureaucracy like this without getting rid of people, and ultimately a lot of people.
Sir Humphrey: Good idea minister.
Minister: Really?
Sir Humphrey: Oh, absolutely. We can hire a thousand temporary employees and then fire them.
Minister: Are you seriously telling me that there is no way we can cut down.
Sir Humphrey: I suppose we could loose one or two of the tea ladies.

Minister: Now look. I need something to tell Parliament. I can’t tell them that I can’t reduce the number of employees in the civil service.
Sir Humphrey: But it is the truth, Minister.
Minister: I don’t want the truth. I want something I can tell Parliament!

Sir Humphrey: Then you can tell them that we are implementing a BPM programme across the whole government sector.
Minister: That sounds a bit vague..
Sir Humphrey: If people don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what you’re doing wrong.

Minister: How do we implement a BPM programme?
Sir Humphrey: It’s very simple. We will build a Centre of Excellence based on three articles of the BPM Civil Service faith.
Minister: What are the three articles of the BPM Civil Service faith?
Sir Humphrey: It takes longer to do things quickly, it’s more expensive to do them cheaply and it’s more democratic to do them in secret.

Minister: That sound as if we are wasting government money, not saving it.
Sir Humphrey: But minister, the public doesn’t need to know anything about wasting government money. We are the experts.
Minister: The people are intelligent. They will see through the smoke and mirrors. We need to really save money by this BPM programme.
Sir Humphrey: Suppose everyone went around saving money irresponsibly all over the place. What then?.. Don’t worry, people are ignorant and misguided.
Minister: Humphrey, it was the people who elected me.
Sir Humphrey: (chuckles)

Minister: Will BPM really help us reduce costs?
Sir Humphrey: Of course minister, It will reduce the number of government employees, reduce costs, make work more efficient and make decisions more transparent.

Minister: Humphrey, was there one word of truth in that BPM story that you told me?
Sir Humphrey: Minister, do you really want me to answer that question?
Minister: [thinks uneasily] No, I don’t think I do.
Sir Humphrey: [smiles] Quite so. Perhaps there are some things it is better for a Minister not to know?


  1. Brilliant writing Adam! 🙂 Your Satire theme is on full steam…!

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