Dodging paying on the increase

Published: Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The recent submission from T Lang (No longer cares) struck a chord with me today, writes John Howard.

Unfortunately this propensity for dodging paying for what ever they can get away with, along with flouting of as many rules (both legal and moral) that they can get away with, seems to be on the increase—or is it with age that one starts to notice these things? Or maybe I'm just getting grouchy in my old age?!

Visual presence and wonderful statistics

It certainly would appear that after what seemed like a major push of resource and focus, by our friends at Canal & River Trust, that Continuous Moorers and License Dodgers were seemingly being tackled a few years ago with both a visual presence and of course those wonderful statistics that CaRT like to publish when things are going in their favour.

Now it would appear to those of us at the coal face that the focus seems to have shifted and the small flotillas of ramshackle boats—some with what appear to be sheds erected on the deck, and usually there's a couple being towed by the one member of the group with a working engine—seem to be on the increase once more.

Focus shifted

Perhaps the CaRT focus has shifted (to canoeists and sleeping policemen perhaps) or has the enforcement resource been stripped away as we have seen in so many walks of life of late.

It seems to me that this increasingly popular way of running a large business is to reduce your operating overhead by outsourcing as many elements of your business as possible, as a short term means of making the operation look more efficient, and cheaper (on one part of the business accounts), but in the long run this usually ends up increasing costs (unless you can outsource to the Third world countries).

Chickens come home to roost

This is something I've seen in American companies who take over European businesses. They outsource Accounts Departments, IT teams, Engineering teams, etc etc until there comes a point where at contract renewal time the finance boys, who want to continue to make savings as costs inevitably escalate, so then the contract negotiator ends up 'trading away' parts of the original contract's scope in order to keep the increase to a minimum.

Finally after a few years, as certain 'chickens start to come home to roost' as a result of any ill thought out 'rationalisation', we find that the Chief Exec inevitably moves onto another large company where he can start the process all over again. This is also a useful strategy when asset stripping a company for its land and properties, as there is less personnel around demanding redundancy and pension schemes etc to get bogged down with during the closure process(?)! Just a thought.

Contractors rarely have the same loyalty

Whilst the available resources are targeted at the 'Headline Grabbing' areas, we see an ever dwindling lack of 'boots on the ground'. Where those boots belong to CaRT's own work force, where perhaps there was once an instilled sense of pride in presenting a professional and quality of work that made them proud to be part of their organisation, and where customers were used to seeing and sharing information and experiences in order to keep the waterways navigation open where ever possible, contractors rarely have the same loyalty and pressures upon them as they are sometimes many steps away from a CaRT line manager.

One of my old bosses used to frequently quote at management meetings 'Frequency of Review' as a guideline to the fact that when left to their own devices most people will drift away and lose focus from their day to day activities, and the greater the time difference between those target reviews, then the more inefficiencies and failures would creep into the system.

Police a classic example

Take the police as a classic example. Now you almost never see a policeman on the ground. In fact you rarely see them on the roads come to think of it (unless you're watching Police Interceptors on TV where there always seems to be at least two Subaru Imprezas and a few more fully crewed police cars chasing down someone in a Vauxhall Nova who wasn't wearing a seatbelt and failed to stop when asked).

But here in Milton Keynes, a town that houses a huge police station and quite a few police vehicles, we have road users who view a red traffic light as mostly 'a bit of a guideline', rather than a hard fast rule for many of the drivers in this town. Most days one can spot numerous cars charging through red lights, sometimes several seconds after your own light has gone to green!

Little chance of being caught

In so many walks of life there now appears to be so little chance of being caught for doing wrong, due to the under resourced 'boots on the ground' so those that feel that they have little to lose by not licensing or insuring their cars or their boats, let alone spending money on MOTs and Boat Safety Certificates (because that might indicate that they need to make their vehicles safe and therefore cost them money), will continue to 'get away with it', and by being seen to 'get away with it' their friends and offspring see this as an acceptable way to behave.

As this cancer spreads across the country in so many walks of life, the next phase is for those who have always played by the rules, and always paid their dues, start to wonder if in fact they are the mugs in this game we call life. I'm sure T Lang's article was tongue in cheek regarding joining those who have decided to give up on safety checks, insurance and licensing, but it's a very real threat that if CaRT don't return to clamping down on licence dodgers, then the flotilla's and conclaves of little boating communities that leave a trail of waste and destruction in their wake, will become so common that boating will either become so unattractive to the rest of us, that more law abiding boaters will either 'jump ship' or worse join the ranks of this selfish brigade of ragamuffins.

Frequency of Review CaRT! Frequency of Review!