Friday, October 05, 2007

Time for some real bench-marking

Christian Pauls, the German Ambassador, was a guest on Marian Finucane’s RTE radio programme last Saturday to answer the charges arising from his briefing to a visiting German business delegation.

Some of his comments on public service pay levels in Germany were very interesting.

For example, he revealed that his own gross monthly salary is €7,330 (€87,600 pa) which, he said, equated to the salary of quite a senior civil servant in Germany.

He also said that his daughter is a paediatrician, the number 2 in the Paediatric Dept of a large Berlin Clinic, which suggests that she may well at “consultant“ level there. He said that she'd be delighted to earn €70k pa as doctors in Germany earn between €50k-€65k pa.

Herr Pauls said that salary levels for doctors and other professionals working in the public sector are linked to civil service pay levels +/- 10%-15%.

This was the background to his comments on the hospital consultants dismissal of a proposed salary of €200k+ as “mickey-mouse”.

This man is clearly an incorrigible trouble-maker. His comments suggest that we do need another round of bench-marking for the public services, but this time against their counterparts in the EU!

It also raises the following question: just as business now routinely out-sources support functions to other companies and countries (e.g. call centres in India), has the Govt considered outsourcing to other EU countries? It sounds like we could get things done a lot more cost-effectively if we wanted to.

Given that there are many state functions which would be similar in structure, it would probably only require modest systems tweaks and a translation service to handle matters e.g. why not a single “factory” to handle all motor registrations in the EU?

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