TCF... in other Sectors?

After a gap of some seven years, my wife has gone back to work, part-time, for the NHS as a COVID vaccinator.  Faced with the sheer scale of the challenge, she felt (rightly, in my opinion) that she had something to offer as a nurse with some thirty-six years of experience.  She would have been happy to help out on a voluntary basis, but there is a day rate involved and that's always welcome.

As you'll be aware, there was a lot of retraining involved.  Bearing in mind that the role involved vaccinating adults, there was a module in child safeguarding, one on race-relations, another on equality and diversity regulations, yet another on fire safety and several others which left you scratching your head before you got to those which actually related to the business of vaccination.  In short, getting approved for the role was no trivial challenge, lasted nearly three months, and the systems underpinning it were a sheer lottery.  In the wonderful, weird and wacky world of financial services regulation, I'm acclimatised to Stress (with a capital S), but this was Stressful, even by my own standards.  Whilst I admired my wife's devotion to duty and supported her fully in her aspirations to make a contribution, one couldn't help wondering whether or not this was actually worth it.

Don't get me wrong:  it is.  But now we come to the incidental matter of pay.  My wife's first shift was on the 12th March, and the procedure was to submit a scanned copy of a paper worksheet, countersigned by supervisor, to a designated email address (on a weekly basis thereafter).  Compared to the kinds of procedure we're used to in financial services, this seemed...erm...archaic, somewhat ad-hoc.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, by way of an answer to that question, the first pay credit was made on the 21st May, more than two months later (and after a few chasers), and the actual sum appears to bear no relation to any data that was submitted to the relevant department.  There's no payslip.  There's apparently no easy way of viewing whatever digital record that may have been created in order to support the payment - it's simply a random amount of money that has appeared in my wife's account, as if by magic.  Sometimes, a little magic is quite welcome.

Today, we have discovered that there might, possibly, be some way of accessing that kind of information - but it's only available to 'non-Bank' nurses.  My wife is a 'Bank' Nurse.  Having said that, some of the Bank Nurses have indicated that they've found a way of accessing their pay data - but it is all, frankly, a Big Mystery.  The kind of mystery which, unless you are possessed of a certain kind of dogged persistence, you're likely to be reluctant to pursue, lest you come across as someone consumed by self-interest, rather than motivated by a vocational mindset.

It seems churlish to gripe - but I bear in mind that there must be many other folks out there, for whom this work represents their primary source of income, and, as far as I can see, the way in which the system has been designed, it is clearly intended  to (a) fail, and (b) create maximum stress for employees.  And systems don't get designed by accident, right?  Somewhere or other, there are managers and programmers, people who sit down together and have (hopefully) rational discussions about how procedures are supposed to operate in order to achieve a certain number of goals.  There's precious little evidence of that here.

As IFAs, we build our propositions (or should be building our propositions) around the principles of TCF:  this applies to the kinds of outcome we seek to achieve for our customers, but also to the way in which we go about achieving those outcomes.  Only in my most perverse imaginary exercises can I even begin to envisage the kinds of outcome that those NHS project-managers had in their minds when they devised this system.  Perhaps their entire training lay in the works of H. P. Lovecraft.

At times, with TCF, it seems as if we may still have a long way to go.  It certainly is important to avoid, ever, becoming complacent.  But take heart - there are organisations out there which haven't even started on this particular journey.  TCF involves running our businesses as if people mattered.


Kevin Moss, 31/05/2021