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Seb Anthony

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Training or a Management Issue?


I was down in London last week and reported in one of the free newspapers; The Metro, I noticed a report on the Blue Peter debacle concerning the faked telephone call for the phone in competition they ran a month or two ago. The following quote is contained within this report:

‘Now the BBC has set up a review of the process for conducting live competitions on Children’s BBC and ordered “intensive staff training” on the issues involved.’

I can’t help but think this is a typical knee jerk reaction by upper management which believes that any mistakes on the shop floor can in part be attributed to poor training or knowledge or both. The reality in my opinion is that this ‘intensive training’ will be about ethics and ethical management, picked up either internally or by an external consultant, no doubt rubbing their hands together at the thought of forthcoming fee. In reality it is simply the fact that some manager/s within the BBC decide that lying was easier than doing the right thing, and I don’t believe a 1 or 2 day course on ethical management is actually going to impact on that kind of personal value structure.

The Blue Peter debacle and improving work place performance would be best addressed in my view by appropriate management either in the form of feedback to the individuals involved or official censure/reprimand. That would send very clear definite messages through the organisation; much more effectively that another useless ‘intensive training course’ initiated without any detailed ITN. Running a course with syndicate exercises debating the appropriateness of deceiving and misleading the public is not the way to go, in my opinion, the mind boggles.

This sort of thing would never have happened if Val Singleton, John Noakes and Peter Purvis were still at the helm.

Garry Platt (Disgusted of Derbyshire & Blue Peter Badge Holder)

Garry Platt

4 Responses

  1. Blue Peter
    I share your view (though, sadly, not your badge).
    I guess the beeb, like many public profile organisations, want a defensive position for the future (as in: ‘we trained them so it is the individual that is liable/incompetent/unethical, not us’). It may be that training is part of the solution but I think you are right, it is predominantly a management/proceedural/common sense issue.
    If only Shep was at the helm.

  2. Lockheed Scandal
    Nothing new here, unfortunately.

    I recall (20 years ago) being a member of staff of Metier Management Systems, which had recently been taken over by Lockheed, after Lockheed’s involvement in a series of corporate scandals.

    Although the culprits were senior management (who else was in any position to be able to get involved in scandal on behalf of Lockheed?), the rest of the staff had to go through a whole series of so-called ‘ethics training’ sessions’ so that senior management could show that they were doing ‘something’ to rescue the company’s reputation.

    It was – and this kind of thing still is – pathetic.

    And, although I am not a Blue Peter badge holder, I am proud to join Garry as another Grumpy Old Man who is fed up that we seem to have learnt nothing from experience, apparently.


  3. can I join…?
    You only have to read some of the questions and answers on this forum to see the frequency of occasions where an issue is perceived and “training” is decided upon as the answer when in reality it will not succeed.
    PS I claim the first “father of a Blue Peter Badge” position!

  4. Whipping boys of the world unite?
    It has long been the case that training either has to carry the consequences or bear the blame when the wheels fall off!

    In my last job, the managers were wont to appoint, erm, shall we say “aesthetically pleasing” secretaries who didn’t have a clue. Then they became my problem, and their inability to fulfill their roles was laid at my door.

    I will say though, that, perhaps there was a training issue: the managers needed to be tained in recruitment strategies. With the best will in the world it is difficult to recruit someone for a job you have never done and, although you are dependent on it, have no real insight into what it entails.

    The pinnacle of this was when one of the managers proudly advised me that he had appointed a new secretary who was perfect with Word, but that she had never used a mouse before, so would I please help her? It turned out she knew WordPerfect, and hadn’t gone near a computer since version 5.1. He (being a complete luddite who was just getting to grips with a dictaphone) didn’t know the difference.



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