A new era of honesty and self awareness has been ushered in by the
revised Carlsberg advertising slogan. Where the private sector leads
will the public sector follow?
Most people know the slogan whether or not they drink larger. The
companies self confident claim to be the best in the world is given a
jokey twist by inserting the word “probably”. Now the cleaver people
at Carlsberg have updated their advertising slogan in line with a more
cynical public by adding just one word after probably-Not.
A second look at the wording indicates the board may have been
nervous about appearing to rubbish their own product so Probably
the best larger in the world now becomes
probable not the best beer in the world. So if you
wished to you could still argue it was the best larger but not the
best beer. Then again it wasn’t being sold as a beer but a larger.
Now that sounds to me very much like a conversation where officers
are trying to explain to members why we are changing a way of doing
things we previously argued was the best way of doing things. Or the
cabinet member and senior managers addressing an audience of concerned
cares to explain why they are closing much valued day centres to be
replaced by day services which probably won’t offer them as much
support but will be better. The same day centres that only a few years
ago were the first to get Investors In People status and a big splash
in the local rag complete with picture of the leader, cabinet member
and local MP ( who has a particular interest in people with a leaning
disability as his daughter attends one of the centres).
Members of course support openness and honest even if the news is
unwelcome. But, they ask, does this mean that there are other services
that are not as good as we have previously been led to believe? No not
at all, officers reply, it’s just that people’s tastes and preferences
have changed along with our ability to afford old style services, so
in making them more efficient we have also used the opportunity to
increase choice and flexibility because that’s what our consultation
exercise revealed people wanted.
What about this plan to bring services in-house which we previously outsourced.
Are we saying that wasn’t the best decision? It was the best decision
at the time. Now a better decision would be to bring them back in-house.
So how should this be presented to a critical media, a demoralised
staff and concerned service users , members ask. The leader looks at
the chief executive and they reply “probably not the best we
can do “.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author, blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk