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Double A Side

Alan Smith
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This week two issues struck me as worthy of consideration so I thought I would write a blog with two subjects, hopefully, both laudable. Rather like in the good old days of vinyl 45’s. My first single ever was a Double A. David Cassidy’s Daydream Believer/Puppy Song in 1973. Don’t judge me.

Part A

Any parent who heard the plight of Dr Sarah Ryan, whose son died recently in care, must have sobbed in angst and frustration over her plight. Connor Sparrowhawk, an 18-year-old with learning disabilities, drowned in a bath in a residential unit. He was a happy boy (his nickname was LB, standing for Laughing Boy), who drowned in a bath despite the supposed round the clock care provided by the £12,000 a week specialty hospital. Dr Ryan writes: “Every single day I wake to the pain of remembering it. A constant pain that varies from sheer agony to a dull ache of intense sadness (on a "good" day)”.

Her description of the way Connor was locked in a room and fed through a hatch. How he was given reading material only on the other side of a glass window, beggars belief.

And now Dr Ryan sees a report from the Care Quality Commission recommending that another report be written. The single recommendation being that all people’s human rights be taken into account. Please!!

Talk about kicking the can down the road. Filibustering taken to a whole new level.

Indecent to even compare it, but it reminds me of a client of mine who asked for more and more detail to back up the work that had been done on their behalf, which looking back was a simple attempt to slow down the process of payment.

Sometimes the best option for the other party may be to postpone any conflict down the line. Try to make that more difficult by digging into the incentive box, or sanction that behaviour, as Dr Ryan is doing by going public.

Part B

I read another piece about suppliers getting angry about the unreasonable demands being made by buyers as part of the RFP process. A buyer in the service sector was asking that suppliers accept extended payment terms (120 days apparently) and onerous IP clauses as part of the table money for even entering the process.

This is not new. The buyer who wants to set the relationship right from the get-go, “I am the boss and you will do as I say”, is not one I would be interested in working for, or indeed will get my best work. I do recognise that for many that luxury is a challenge.

But if the relationship starts so one-sided, do you really think it is going to work out well? You do, of course, have options, we all always do. Not taking part being one. Offering to take part but refusing to the terms, another (if they refuse your offer, I suspect that might be better for you in any case). Putting your own terms to the buyer which are equally challenging may just highlight how absurd you think there’s are. Offering to enter based on being allowed to bill and be paid for all work 120 days before starting it and to own the partial rights to any brand or service you work on. Madness, and may not get you very far, but great fun.

I may be a Day Dream Believer after all.

Alan Smith
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