End Game’s cockles were warmed on a recent visit to Richmond House when we saw that the Department of Health’s staff were being encouraged to 1) get amorous and 2) raise money for charity.
Like many workplaces, the DH is running one of those Valentine’s Day schemes where you can buy a rose for a loved one and get it sent to their desk on The Day Of Lurve.
According to a poster we saw in a lift, the DH scheme has two twists, however. First, they are operating a marginal tariff system whereby a real rose costs £4, or a paper rose costs £2. This provides a number of benefits, opening the system up to financially challenged individuals while enabling people to baffle their intendeds with mixed messages about whether their gesture is ironic or if it is simply a symptom of the ongoing Whitehall squeeze on wages.
Presumably, if you spend more on roses than the value of those you receive, you will be judged to be in deficit and David Flory will be summoned to give you a slap and tell you that your future as an independent entity looks very bleak indeed.
What would be nice is if Jeremy Hunt bought everyone a rose to show he appreciates NHS managers and doesn’t think they’re coasting.
Anyway the other really good thing about all this is that it’s in aid of Food Cycle – a food poverty charity.
Fortunately for everyone it isn’t quite a food bank and its patrons include a Labour MP and a Tory peer. That’s handy, as it averts any potential controversy about, say, DH staff raising money for a phenomenon which the chancellor dismisses as a function of an ever increasing supply of food charities, and which the work and pensions secretary simply attributes to “scaremongering”.