Those Whitehall departments struggling for ways to meet their cost-cutting targets under the Gershon efficiency review may get some inspiration by looking to the Department of Culture in Romania.
Taking the term ‘creating back-office efficiency’ a little too literally, Paraschiv Usturoiu, who is in charge of the department in Vrancea county, has told staff to use newspapers and magazines instead of toilet paper.
“I can’t afford to buy toilet paper any more so I cut some local newspapers into pieces and placed them in the toilets,” he told local reporters. “I’m sure they’ll work just fine.”
This is not a sentiment shared by the department’s staff. One woman said: “This is an outrage. It’s degrading and we can hurt ourselves or get infected from that ink they use printing newspapers.”
Disappointed by the lack of puns in either of the quotes, Guru believes the department could quite easily go down the pan if the boss keeps offering paper-thin excuses.