Brother Where Art Thou?

Big Brother

A recent discussion about the TSA’s annual reporting requirements reminded us of an account of working in the War Office during the 1950s.

Beautifully prepared records of resources held and consumed would arrive from all over the globe. Not without a little ceremony each unread document would be carefully placed in the steel cabinet.

When at bursting point, a call to the janitor would bring the rumble of trolley wheels. Off the documents would go for incineration, thus creating the required storage space for the cycle to begin again.

Presented as an example of the bumbling management practices of the time, we wondered if in fact something much more sophisticated was going on. Undoubtedly it was good management practice to hold people to account on a regular basis and so long as everyone submitting the records believed in the importance of the task that accountability was enforced. Job done. No need to waste time scrutinising the documents and in any case no resources to do so were available.

Is this regulatory efficiency or unnecessary central reporting? Is Big Brother watching or has he got more important things to do? Is Big Brother watching or are things going to be different in Big Society?

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