Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On iPods, the Home Office and Training.

John Reid famously described the Home Office as being "not fit for purpose".
It is therefore heartening to read that as the department strives to "protect the public and secure our future" their in house staff training and development continues.

According to this report from the BBC twenty of their "top civil servants have been issued with video iPods to help improve their leadership skills". The iPods come filled with fifty short training films, which our Mandarins will be able (or expected) to watch on their way to work.

Think about it.

The Home Office believes that this is a "cost effective way of providing learning and development across the department". I would love to know what the "twenty top" civil servants think of this project. I bet they are so pleased to be offered the opportunity to hone their skills on the tube, in their own time, on the way to work.
I wonder what effect this method of staff training and development has upon departmental morale.

Nothing that I have read about this pilot project suggests that the training films are a constituent part of a structured training scheme.
Could that be the case?

Its somewhat ironic to read that the iPods in question will be closely monitored to ensure that staff did not use them for watching feature films or listening to music.
Big Brother in the Home Office!

The Times Online version of the story offers us more information, the spokeswoman said
“As with other modern learning aids, video iPods provide the opportunity for flexible learning and the cost is extremely competitive compared with the rates for classroom training for senior staff......The capacity on one video iPod represents the equivalent of three days’ worth of classroom training. In addition, material on the video iPods can be recycled, whereas classroom training cannot.”

We must be careful about criticising this project before it has been properly evaluated but I'm not certain that it's "fit for purpose".

They've saved money but will they improve their department?

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