Public Services Management: Now the sequel to a closed book: Leaders in the public sector were asked to take a reading on what's in store for '94. Their predictions range from comedy to drama

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The Independent Online
HOW do you read the year ahead? Liza Donaldson asked several public service leaders to invent or borrow the title of a book that they thought would be appropriate for 1994. Here are some of their suggestions:

John Horsnell, president, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives: 'Out of turmoil and torment, a blockbusting tale of greed, rivalry and lust for power entitled Renewing Local Government in the English Shires: A Progress Report by the Local Government Commission.'

Timothy Hornsby, chief executive, Kingston-upon-Thames Council: 'Sex, Lies and Local Government Reorganisation - a paperback sell-out at airports.'

Jeremy Beecham, chairman of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities: 'For Whom the Bill Tolls - a police thriller, written by Michael Howard.'

Dennis Pettitt, chairman, Association of County Councils: 'The Popular Guide to Local Government Reorganisation - a slim volume and limited print run, although we could keep up steady sales with regular changes in the Secretary of State for the Environment.

The text would cover notable achievements of the past, including the 1974 reorganisation that did away with historic counties and created such household names as Wansdyke and Hertsmere.

I am also looking forward to the a book by Mr Major - My Government's Commitment to Democracy and Pluralism - published in ring-binder form so the contents can be added at a later stage.'

Margaret Singh, chair, Association of District Councils: 'A gripping horror story. You have read Bains and Redcliffe-Maud for 20 years . . . you wanted a sequel . . . Now Westminster presents: John Banham and the Commissioners. It will scare you out of your seat]'

Paul Bongers, director, Local Government International Bureau: 'Based on Eurotunnel's new Eurostar train, my title is Starlight Express, a tale of how Eurostar joins the cast of the European Union, already pulling at varying speeds in several directions. The tunes remain the same.'

William Waldegrave, Citizen's Charter Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: A fan of Jane Austen, he felt one of her titles would be appropriate for the Government next year: Persuasion.

He also selected In Pursuit of the Millennium.

Sir Michael Partridge, Permanent Secretary, Department of Social Security: 'The Sultan's Solution - how, under market testing, the Sultan of Brunei wins the social security budget.'

Derek Lewis, chief executive, HM Prison Service: 'A trilogy I hope will not be best-sellers in 1994: 300 Men in a Boat, Over the Wall and Far Away and Riotous Behaviour.'

Professor Julian Hunt, chief executive, Meteorological Office: 'A real book I am writing, which I believe will be a best- seller in meteorological circles: The Eddy Structure of Turbulence; and another for general consumption called The Clouds Are Getting Darker.'

David Rhind, chief executive, Ordnance Survey: 'The first is based on the fact that information is power and money, if you have the right kind, Information as a Commodity: How to Become Rich and Powerful by Exploiting Government Data. My second is a computerised book, The Ordnance Survey Map of Every Single House, Street and Public House in Britain.

My third, I am going to write when I am old and grey: Maps as Metaphors.'

John Monks, general secretary, TUC: 'Kenneth Clarke - Ha Ha Ha, an amusing account of how to win popularity and critical acclaim for large tax increases and savage public expenditure cuts. Second, from the best-seller list, Life in the Freezer - a public servant's struggle to do a good job while coping with frozen pay, job loss and incessant denigration from the Government about the value of public services.'

Rodney Bickerstaffe, associate general secretary, Unison: 'Pay Freeze, a chilling tale of betrayal, misery and job cuts.'

Ken Cameron, general secretary, Fire Brigades Union: 'Following the story that told of our fight for a 1.4 per cent pay rise against the 1.5 per cent ceiling, called Much Ado about Nothing, is next year's best-seller sequel: Great Expectations.'

Barry Reamsbottom, general secretary, Civil and Public Services Association: 'The book of the musical that tells of the Conservatives' public sector pay policy - Half a Sixpence.'

Rodney Walker, chairman, NHS Trust Federation: 'The Wizard of Oz, in which Dorothy falls fast asleep and dreams of a world in which, somewhere, at the end of a rainbow, there is a pot of gold with sufficient money to ensure that the health needs of the whole country can always be met to their satisfaction, where no one has to wait for hospital treatment. She goes off in search of the rainbow and meets Brian, the lion, who roars very loud, Tom, the straw man (his straw is fireproof), and the Tin Man, with a person of the gentler sex inside.'

Claire Spottiswoode, director, Ofgas: 'The Spottiswoode Diet - the Healthy Way to a Leaner, Fitter Gas Industry.'

Bill Cockburn, chief executive, the Post Office: 'Cry Freedom - because the Post Office needs to be unshackled from the unrealistic straitjacket of the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement, and free to develop and prosper like other, more liberated administrations in Europe.'

Janet Langdon, director, Water Services Association for England and Wales: 'The best-selling book of the television series Rising Damp.'

Roger Jefferies, Housing Association Tenants' Ombudsman: 'The House that Jack Built, an entertaining digest of early housing complaints, published by the Nursery Room Association, including the example of the elderly woman tenant of the shoe who was rehoused in a little crooked house.'

Sue Richards, director, Public Management Foundation: 'Down and Out in Westminster and Wandsworth: The Community Care Act. And William Waldegrave: Would You Buy a Second-Hand Vehicle Inspectorate Agency from This Man?'

(Photographs omitted)

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