You know the shitty free school meal scandal? Companies taking contracts like that to offer a service to the public in need used to bank on those people being so invisible they'd never get a complaint out into general public knowledge. This is now an epic miscalculation.
Everything that is bad about the web is also what's good about the web. The web and social media allow the very quick aggregation of people's experiences as they occur and then the quick dissemination of the things aggregated. This changes things greatly
Those paltry free school meals parcels seemed to be acceptable to send out to company because 1) the people commissioning them and the people receiving them were once shielded from each other 2) the people commissioning them would in the past never seen the end product
Also the reason why this is so obviously shoddy is because its based on numbers we all understand. We all can look at those photos and go 'that's not 30 quids worth of food'. That's why care scandals don't take off as we the public don't always know how to quantify what's missing
What on paper looked like a decent amount of money per person does not, in practice, translate into that value as food. I imagine the contract never set any minimum floor for the value of the food either nutritional or monatory, but did commission on intended cost per transaction
So 'value for money for the tax payer' trumped 'value to the end recipient'. But now, that loop is closed and those who commissioned can see what the actual intended beneficiary actually got. Basically, I'd guess everyone got paid, then end recipient got whatever was left over.
This, however, doesn't mean that there is necessarily corruption in the process, and that people are just pocketing the difference. What it does mean is that such commissioning is looking at entirely the wrong measure of value for money and the wrong measures of performance
Incidentally, I also think that a school meals catering company might not be in the same business as a food delivery service. But can see how that category error might be made, and how a contract for one might be morphed into a contract for the other without going to tender

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More from @MarkOneinFour

11 Jan
I think it's a good idea to argue antidepressants and other medications might not be the best first step in a stepped care model. But people don't usually seek help when they feel a bit off they seek help when things are really bad. And therapy/counselling is uncertain quality
We can have arguments about medicalising of human responses to adversity all we want, but we do currently have mainly medical services as our first point of contact when people are feeling awful. Alternatives would be good, and we should build them. But they aren't a quick fix
I don't think we're talking here about people who either are busting to prescribe antidepressants or people who are gasping to have them. But we're also not talking about having few off days. We're talking about people feeling 'holy shit, I have no idea of what to do about this'
Read 10 tweets
11 Jan
This pandemic is happening because our society is not set up in ways that make it possible to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Our society will either change because of effect of Covid-19 or it could change to prevent things like Covid-19 pandemic happening again. We have a choice
The reason why UK is fucking up so badly is because our decision making is clogged with people who do not want anything fundamental to change unless it directly benefits them and our public discourse gives clout for regressive voices over progressive ones. We are seeing effect
Fundamentally, the question is: what would you give up so that everyone can be safe, warm and happy? And the answer in relation to making our country safe in this pandemic for too many is: I would give up fuck all. What our country is and how it works will not prevent Covid-19
Read 7 tweets
22 Oct 20
Looking at the usual rehearsed hot takes about hungry children and families and thinking: people love to judge others levels of personal resourcefulness and to imply that they would know 'ten simple tricks' to solve the problem as if being in need were a failure of imagination
Hot takes around poverty are absolutely dripping with survivorship bias, as are any discussions of need where there is a notion that personal coaching can overcome systemic inequality. People literally only listen to the experiences of those who overcame, not those who cannot
People with their hot poverty takes absolutely adore valourising their own life hacks while suggesting that other people's attempts to get by are silly, misguided and morally reprehensible. Yes, your way of getting through worked for you but there were loads of people that didn't
Read 15 tweets
20 Oct 20
Just thinking about what it means to have brain/mind that goes wrong and weird situation of being able to examine my own thoughts and perceptions objectively. It's such a weird thing to be able to 'see' clearly where my thinking has gone wonky when I'm no longer in a wonky place
Sometimes I feel bullish about it and sometimes I feel a kind of deep, sorrowful shame when looking back at my own mistakes of thinking and perceiving. It feels like realising I've only been half listening to a conversation and just fabulated what I thought was being said.
Actually, shame is probably the most obliterating internal state for me. When in the throes of an attack of shame, all of my most useful skills and thinking just disappear. I give in, I give up, I give others far more space inside me than I should. That's one of gaps I fall into
Read 6 tweets
19 Oct 20
This is worth a look about the physical/mental split in ideas of mental ill-health in Western cultures. I kind of feel like there's still a lot to be found out about physical causes and social causes and political causes. I don't think everything is just social environment
I say this because brains are also physical organs. I'm thinking about head trauma and mood, about things that crate changes in the brain. I feel like the medication / therapy / social justice axes are super useful, but the debate slices up challenges in the wrong ways
I also think medicine (and society) has problems with any thing that makes someone 'ill' but which doesn't have a direct physical sign. I'm thinking of chronic pain, for example. There's been a shift away from medication for chronic pain, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist
Read 9 tweets
9 Jul 20
This makes me think about how 'end of history' the war on benefits claimants stuff from 2007 or so onward feels. The idea that everything was going so well that unemployment was a psychological problem rather than a practical one; using benefits to teach people lessons
When you look at it from a decade or more of distance; 'no rights without responsibilities'; 'reciprocity and obligation' social security clipboard wonk ideas of couple of years prior to the Financial Crash just carried over into the unholy mess of benefits policy that followed
The idea that need for benefits was somehow a symptom of people's own psychology and not their position within society came at high point of economic growth, as if the next horizon for social policy was the perfectibility of people. But that thinking stuck and grew and multiplied
Read 13 tweets

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