The precedence given to business principles in the running of public services cannot be correct and risks eroding the rule of law.
The belief that public services should operate on commercial business principles appears to have been accepted with unquestioning zeal by the political class.
I note that the new chair of HM Courts & Tribunals Service is Tim Parker (Gazette, 23 April), an economist and a veteran leader of various private enterprises in their restructuring. He is known in certain circles as the ‘Prince of Darkness’, owing to the alleged manner he adopted when reducing the workforce. Parker will be responsible for reforming the court system. Words such as ‘reform’ and ‘restructure’ imply job cuts and reduction in levels of service.
HMCTS is responsible for enabling the delivery of civil justice. It underpins the implementation of the rule of law. We all know that the consequence of rules without the means of enforcement and accountability is chaos, a situation leading to uncertainty and instability.
Joshua Rozenberg’s article about the UK Forensic Science Service (23 April) reports how it deteriorated after it was transferred from a Home Office agency to a government company which lost money and was closed. There is a significant number of miscarriages of justice involving deficiencies in the forensic evidence. This is unacceptable.
Of course, it is important to guard against waste and to argue to the contrary would be foolish; but the unquestioning precedence given to commercial and financial issues cannot be correct. The price to pay is too high in relation to the erosion of the rule of law and the stable functioning of society.
Naomi Pinder, Catherine Higgins Law, Woolton, Liverpool