Abolish Performance Reviews

I recieved in my inbox an article on Adobe’s experience on abolishing their annual appraisal process. One reason was cost, they calculated it took the equivalent of 40 FTEs to run the process which illustrates the distraction of management time. The article quotes quality guru W. Edwards Deming who says,

It nourishes short-term performance, annihilates long-term planning, builds fear, demolishes teamwork, nourishes rivalry and politics.”

They replaced their previous stack ranking system with a more flexible and empowered system, divorcing formal performance from salary/bonus decisions.

It proved to be more popular with managers and staff, with one employee reporting

… that a feeling of relief has spread throughout the company because the old annual review system was “a soul-less and soul crushing exercise.”

One side effect was that involuntary terminations increased but voluntary terminations reduced, It ought to be a happier place to work.

On Mayors, again

The March meeting of Lewisham Deptford’s General Committee passed the following motion about the Mayoralty.

This CLP Notes:

1. That Lewisham is one of a small number of Local Authorities to have a directly
elected Mayor.
2. From conception the directly elected mayor model has never been endorsed by a
majority of the Lewisham electorate. Indeed, at the original referendum to move to
the model only 6% of the actual electorate voted positively for the change to a
directly elected mayor. Yet the system was imposed.
3. Dissatisfaction with the mayor and cabinet model has continued to grow with popular
unrest against the model being magnified by the perceived lack of local councilor
influence over recent Mayor and Cabinet decisions especially in relation to Forest Hill
School and The Millwall fiasco.
4. The forth coming local elections will again be found under this filing model

This CLP resolves:

1. To campaign for a labour victory in the forthcoming local elections.
2. To adopt as this CLP’s position; opposition to Lewisham local government elections
being run under the current model post 2018.
3. To lobby for the inclusion in the 2018 Lewisham local government election manifesto a
commitment to return to the traditional model for local government for future elections.

It’s supporters on the whole want to see a more collective leadership, it’s opponents argue that democracy is better served by allowing the electorate (and the Party) to choose the council’s leader. My problem with this argument is that short of imprisonment a Mayor cannot be removed,

Subsequent Session

Over the last couple of weeks, the House of Lords voted to remain in the EU’s Customs Union. Can the Commons overrule the House of Lords? Yes! It takes a vote in the Commons in the subsequent parliamentary session. The Tories, for fear of losing a vote on the Queen’s speech last year, have determined that the current session, lasts for two years i.e. until after the Brexit date.

Local Elections

I  usually comment on the elections I campaign in. The Lewisham results are in, or at least called by the BBC, we have a new Labour Mayor, Damien Egan, and every single councillor is also Labour. Now we need to learn how to listen beyond the Party, and how to scrutinise ourselves. It’s an honour and a responsibility. I hope we live up to it.

I campaigned in Deptford, Mottingham (Bromley) and Bromley North, which surprised me by being in Tower Hamlets. The Labour vote has gone up in London. I found little interest in politics, it’s become very tribal. The only exception is the issue of Housing. We’ve done well in Deptford, missed by 21 votes in Mottingham and I am still waiting for the Bromley North results.

Innocent until proved guilty: Revoked

I have been considering the Windrush story. Basically, the British Government asked citizens form the West Indies to come to the UK to help rebuild the country after the war. They arrived to a sickening racist welcome, they brought their children, settled, married and started families. In 1972, the then Tory Government removed the right of Commonwealth citizens to arrive and stay with “indefinite right to remain”. In 2010, Theresa May became Home Secretary with the target of reducing net migration to 10,000’s, and passed two immigration acts, the 2nd of which legitimised a hostile environment including the racist “go home” vans. In addition, it made employers, landlords and horrendously teachers and hospital workers adjuncts of the immigration service. It also produced a duty to prove status i.e. they abolished innocent until proven guilty. In late 2010, the Home Office in a building move destroyed the immigration records of the Commonwealth Citizens which left many of their children in an undocumented state. They became unable to prove their rights of residency and in some cases have lost their jobs and access to benefits. Some have been illegally deported; Under Amber Rudd, May’s successor, the Home Office also set targets for deportations; Parliament is now rowing about the facts.

People that have lived here all their lives are being denied benefits, medical treatment, being fired and deported. It’s just not right.

I have, with comrades being campaigning to ensure that my local council does not support the hostile environment and not work with 3rd sector organisations that co-operate with the Home Office in this area of enforcement. Lewisham Labour’s Council Manifesto states,

Lewisham will become a Sanctuary Borough, protecting the rights of all migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

There is a problem for Labour though, only 6 MPs voted against the Immigration Act 2014 which introduced the “hostile environment” and revoked innocent until proved guilty for the purposes of immigration law. It’s an example where the clock has turned, and I followed the whip is no longer a good enough excuse. Public officials must always consider what’s right, not the line, nor electoral success.

My final comment is about the new Data Protection Act. They are proposing that immigration record processing is exempted from the DPA. This means that proving a right to remain will become almost impossible as the organisation responsible for keeping records does not have to issue subject matter access requests and an effective defence, a proof of rights becomes impossible. We should also note that the Tory’s abolished legal aid for immigration cases and if we leave the EU, we may increase the numbers of those vulnerable to this appalling treatment by two factors of magnitude.

Many of the fact quoted above come from this article at freemovement.org.

Wadsworth’s Out

It’s not been a good week for Labour, in Lewisham, the Momentum branch split, my local Labour Party’s consideration of the antisemitism issues have been smeared in the Times, and today, it has been announced that Marc Wadsworth, one of Britain’s leading black activists, with a life time history of fighting racism has been expelled for conduct “prejudicial or grossly detrimental”. We’ll have to see what people including Marc’s lawyers say, but yet again, the case of antisemitism has not been made and the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth is a disgrace, a vengeful last throw of the dice by the New Labour rump.

Parliament considers Syria

They have been debating the Syria bombing in the House of Commons over the last two days. This is Parliament’s page on the 2nd day of debates which is based on a motion put by Alice McGovern MP (Labour). Jeremy Corbyn instructed Labour to vote against, spoke against it and the debate is recorded in Hansard here, together with the voting record. The previous day, the Prime Minister made a statement to the house, the web page with links to the video and Hansard record is here…. I watched a couple of hours; it’s dispiriting stuff, the PM makes every other speech, and half the remainder are Tories and Labour’s Refusniks were out in force.

Here’s how the argument goes, the use of chemical weapons is a humanitarian crime, despite the fact that the two organisations responsible had not determined that such an attack had taken place, nor that military force was to be used, the Governments of the USA, France & the UK had decided that bombing targets in Syria was an appropriate & legal response.

Only the British Government has published its legal reasoning. They argue that Sovereigns have the right to make humanitarian interventions without permission from the UN. That would require the act of a chemical attack to have occurred and the western power’s action to have reduced the likelihood of further attacks.

The right to make such humanitarian interventions is controversial and has never been agreed by the UN nor any international court. The attack has not been confirmed by the international body designated as responsible, and it’s highly questionable if the actions will improve the lot of the Syrian people. This is why the claim to have degraded the chemical warfare capability of the Syrian Government is so important. Otherwise its just recreational!

The argument that the UN had failed to act because Russia was cheating does not give the Governments of the USA, UK & France the right to substitute their judgement for that of the Security Council. As Dapo Akande argues in his legal opinion for Tom Watson, if nothing else there’s always the UN’s Uniting for Peace process which is designed to deal with a deadlocked Security Council. The UN flawed as it is, is our only hope. The three governments have weakened its authority. A further option was as Corbyn says, to support the OPCW and continue to pressurise Russia by diplomatic means.

And they did it.

In the early hours of yesterday morning, the armed forces of US, UK & France bombed three Syrian Government sites. 😪

In the UK, there has and will be much comment on the Prime Minister’s lack of mandate both from the UN and from the UK Parliament.