In the private sector, shareholders expect results and if they don't get them, heads usually roll.
Yesterday, it was announced that Marc Bolland, who became chief executive of Marks and Spencer in 2010 will resign in April following poor results, partly brought about by a slump in sales in the womenswear division.
But across at the Environment Agency there was no similar announcement. Although the public would expect resignations following the floods, unlike the private sector, things just continue as if nothing had happened. The Chairman, Philip Dilley, was holidaying in Barbados during the
crisis, and didn't think that it was necessary to return. The chief executive, Sir James Bevan, said that it was "heartbreaking to see what has happened to those communities". His heart doesn't, however, seem to be sufficiently broken for him to think it would be appropriate for him to resign.
Senior officials in government posts are now earning salaries and get benefits of the same order as in those executives in major companies and should should be treated in the same manner by being made to resign if they fail to meet their objectives, in this case carrying out work to minimise floods.
No doubt both will blame 'climate change', the M&S chief because they stocked up for the wrong weather, the Environment chief, because of 'the heaviest rainfall since records began'.
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