That is more than a decimation - and those proposing these cuts must feel that the workforce are not performing adequately. We'd rather predictably say - it's not enough. Some attention must be given to altering the way this organisation goes about it's duties - and it's duty not "business" that constrains the activities of a statutory body.
Given what we've learnt is the last four years it's simply indisputable that The Environment Agency is plumbing the depths of dysfunctionality - even for an overstuffed "free range" quango. The overblown EA has essentially lost its way and lost effective collaboration with the population and especially those unfortunates "regulated" by it. It presently exists in a suffocating, self regarding la-la land where it's becoming clearer than ever that a quite dizzying variety of abuses are commonplace and embedded in the present organisational culture. In some cases those attributes are being promulgated into spawned client / semi detached organisations...
The phrase "root and branch reform" rather unsurprisingly comes to mind. It's very clear from the insights provided by Henry (and others via personal contact, phone and email) that overstaffing and ineffective management have combined to cultivate idle indulgence and that an almost complete absence of discipline has enabled individual officials to exercise arbitrary power when it is neither legally sanctioned or - in fact in most cases even remotely appropriate at the outset of a problem being identified (or, 'pon occasion created).
This "quiet start" has been made by instructing the EA to trim its workforce - however, it utterly fails to address what we already know to be damage done to individuals, organisations and businesses which are subject to the EA's presently malign influence. EA misbehaviour must be addressed. It's interesting to note in the linkedarticle above that Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth (tag:"Seeing Things Differently" ) director of "policy and campaigns" commenting / lamenting on "the cuts" has a woefully shallow grasp of what's involved here.
We know some folk in the higher reaches of Whitehall and in the political parties drop by here and we'd like to send a very clear message - and yet again - we say - it's time to clean out the stables. The Office of The Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman , The UK Parliament Public Accounts Committee and last but not least The High Court (both Criminal and Administrative divisions...) should be a places of absolute last resort and not the only recourse to remedy for petty wrongs perpetrated by public servants. A parliamentary investigation seems entirely appropriate.
The EA does do some things right - but that does not justify them in any way ignoring and being totally obstinate about putting right what they do wrong.
We know that internally there's discontent at the management culture, there's bad behaviour, there's discontent out amongst the regulated, there's overmanning, there's inefficiency and there's alarming lack of competence in key areas and an unhealthy appetite for the shameless fabrication / invention of justification in senior management.
It's in the consultation phase - but we're working up a survey about attitudes and possible remedies to the present untenable situation across the EA's activities - not just hydro power. Trade associations, NGOs, environmental media outlets and last but not least EA employees will be invited to participate = don't hold your breath!
Decimation is not enough - somebody is going to have to knock the survivors into shape - and there has to be a plan for that shape - because if the culture doesn't change you'll just have a smaller version of the original and that patently won't be any good at all....
15%? - will that be by lottery? The decimation procedure was a pragmatic attempt to balance the need to punish serious offences with the practicalities of dealing with a large group of offenders...
It's worth noting (via comments) that the English EA (i.e. leave out Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) has a bigger staff that all the other EU members environment agencies combined