Monday, December 29, 2008

Police Get Indian Head Massages On the Taxpayer

Click on the above image and you will see a tender document drawn up by Sussex Police Authority for the "provision of onsite Indian head massage services to specific departments within Sussex Police."

The taxpayer and the council tax payer are footing the bill. I have been unable to find out what the cost of this head massaging is, but in order for it to have to go out to tender I imagine it must be a significant sum.



Anonymous said...

Now, now, Iain. Filling in forms, not walking around, and sitting in lay-bys all day is tough work.

KP said...


its not like you to go all daily Mail on us

Im assuming you have no problem with the plice having an Occupational Health Department per se.. Indian Head massage is very good for stress.

More Indian Head massage = Less stress=Less time off for police.. saving us all money

Derek Wall said...

well better than spending it on bullets or tasers as far as I am concerned..should you not be looking at pharmaceutical companies if you want to save taxpayers some cash?

JuliaM said...

"More Indian Head massage = Less stress=Less time off for police.. saving us all money"

You'll be able to point to a proven, cost/benefit analysis of that then, won't you...?

IanVisits said...

Not wanting to sound all "tree huggy", but shiatsu type massages really can help cut down on neck and shoulder tensions for computer users - and hence lead to less time off work with pinched nerves and the like.

I used to be a sceptic - until I tried it, and 20 minutes every fortnight was such a relief.

Of course, we paid for it ourselves though.

KP said...

Julia, I dont have that information to hand, but as a former HR Professional in a large local authority* I have seen the benefits of Indian Head massage and dont feel a knee jerk reaction is appropiate or necessary

* and yes we used council tax payers money to fund it!

Anonymous said...

KP, the police and any other public employees are welcome to pay for any sort of massage they like, and if it helps them relax/perform better at work then so much the better. But until I get my taxpayer funded head massage, I don't see why they should get them either.

Morus said...


I've actually gt more problem with the fact that they have issued an ITQ via OJEU for this.

I'm ambivalent as to whether Indian Head Massages are paid for by the taxpayer (I reckon you could put together a VfM case if it reduces time off for stress).

The real question is how much is being spent on this for it to breach the OJEU threshold?

Even a Small Lot via OJEU has a threshold of €80,000 (about £60k) - that seems a huge number of Indian Head Massages for such a small organisation (at least 100 half hour massages per week at £10-15 each).

I would estimate that this is at least two full-time masseurs. Why not simply employ them directly?

KP said...


I do actually see your point, but what is the alterntive? can the occupational health unit of any publicy funded body not avail itself of the latest techniques in stress reduction because they are publicy funded?

I remember well when Counselling was sneered at as being a "namby pamby" uneccessary part of good staff management. It now has widespread uses amongst most decent sized employers

Chris Paul said...

I'd imagine this is for call centre workers, and it needn't be all that much to HAVE to go out to tender, and can be next to nothing and then they CHOOSE to go out to tender.

Looks like brilliant below the line marketing followed by hundreds of column centimetres of local newspaper jollity and increased recruitment success for hard to fill jobs.

It is approximately 20 years ago that LOOT started providing at desk massages to phone workers.

Misplaced "outrage".

If you wanted to get outraged have a look at Barak - who says he'd be a hamas terrorist if he'd been born Palestinian - and what the state of Israel is doing to innocents.

Unknown said...

My problem with this is twofold:

It doesn't look good to be investing any money in something so frivolous when so many tax payers are wondering if they'll have a job in two months time.

For those who think of this as investment in productivity, the public sector (and especially the police force) has appalling attendance records. There are some far more fundamental steps that should be taken to secure greater outputs from public sector workers, Indian head massages will only scratch the surface of the problem (forgive the pun).

Anonymous said...

Police OH departments already supply more than enough information regarding workstation set up plus other useful information about physical activity to ward off stress, RSI etc. in the office environment - and will spend thousands of pounds on proper chairs etc if the cost is justified on medical grounds - fair enough. Police officers do get a decent salary and surely they are able to afford to pay for osteopathy, physiotherapy, massage and other therapeutic treatments themselves?
As a former police officer and eternal council tax payer I cannot understand why a police authority would authorise this, whilst holding out the begging bowl for an increase in the policing precept of the council tax in the spring. We all know that they're going to want more for Terrorism (international, homegrown and eco), plus the ever growing threat of disorder as the World brings its problems, with the government's blessing, to the UK. In this case their arrogance is breathtaking - Whilst other people will have to make cuts and other readjustments because of the economic situation, as unemployment grows and people's lives go down the pan, Sussex police do this. They're sticking two fingers up at all of us and making the police service a continual laughing stock.It's pathetic and disgraceful.

JuliaM said...

"Julia, I dont have that information to hand, but as a former HR Professional in a large local authority* I have seen the benefits of Indian Head massage..."

You want us to trust you that it does work, with no evidence...?

Well, I certainly believe you were a former HR professional! But on the efficacy of Indian head massage, no thanks - the jury's still out, especially paid for by ME....

JuliaM said...

"I remember well when Counselling was sneered at as being a "namby pamby" uneccessary part of good staff management. It now has widespread uses amongst most decent sized employers..."

And wasn't there something recently about that too being found not to be as much benefit as claimed by (surprise surprise!) counsellors...?

BJ said...

Would police (and other hard-working public servants) be entitled to physiotherapy on the taxpayer if they were injured while, for instance, chasing a burglar? Yes, and I should jolly well hope so as well.

So should aforesaid HWPSs be entitled to a range of occupational health benefits, in order (one hopes) that they are less injured, less stressed and off sick less? Yes, and I would jolly well hope so as well.

So what is it you object to? Is it because it is Indian head massage? Would you object as much to Sussex's finest benefiting from a traditional British head massage?

Like KP said at the top -- please resist the urge to go for dog-whistle Daily Mail-style errant bollocks on your blog. You're above all that.

Morus said...

Chris Paul

Fair point, it may be beneath the threshold, and they are going through OJEU by choice, but that's both strange and foolish if true.

It is a costly and slow way of procuring goods and services, which is why the threshold exists - no-one wants to see OJEU notices for a few thousand pounds' worth of expenditure. It is a waste of time for the businesses who tender and aren't accepted, and it can't be that there are a huge number of vendors in the area. The point of the thresholds is to ensure accountability for significant spend. The small tender limit is under discussion here, but you can spend many times that before you are compelled to use OJEU notices.

Then you have the publicity angle (this has the potential to be a PR issue, which means spending on a PR firm to justify it, adding cost that could have been avoided by not going through OJEU, given that they would be beneath the limit) plus the admin costs of reviewing the bids, and contracting (perhaps according to OGC guidelines).

If they are doing that for under €80k's worth of work they are stupid and profligate.

I suspect the truth is that this is costing above the threshold, and that whilst the service might be worthwhile, there is still an issue of costscale and sensible procurement practice.

Iain Dale said...

BJ, And I would have expected better from you than to accuse me of covert racism.

Anonymous said...

Iain, ignore BJ. It's no surprise that the leeching BBC employee approves of this idea, and finds an underhanded way to accuse you of being racist.

BJ said...

OK -- sorry for insinuating that you were being racist. What I was trying to do was make a sarcastic point in the style of Anton Vowl, possibly my favourite blogger at present, that you were getting a bit Daily Maily.

Except he's better at it than me.

The Raven -- next time I work a twelve hour nightshift in front of a VDU (like I did on Christmas Day), or am standing for nine hours in the cold waiting for a verdict in a court case that doesn't happen, I'll remember your accusations of leeching. And then I'll forget them, and laugh. We're not all Jonathan Ross.

Unknown said...


There's a world of difference between scientifically proven treatments such as physiotherapy and hocus pocus like Indian Head Massage, which aims to "unblock energy channels in the neck and face". My focus is on the word "proven", IHM may feel nice, but I would wager that the scientific (and HR) benefits are going to be pretty thin.

If Indian Head Massage is such a good solution to poor productivity, why don't we propose a Nationwide scheme for the Government to provide massages to the owners of businesses in order to get the economy flowing?

After all, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Noelinho said...

Outrageous, perhaps; but damn good!

Anonymous said...

I am sitting here at the laptop cringing and wondering what comes next. Still it compliments the flip flops and lollipops approach to preventing drunks from banjoing each other after closing time.

Gareth said...

of course, they are crafty, they only refer to it as a "indian" head massage so they can:

i) make some people think twice about criticising it, because the Police is Institutionally Wacist, innit?
ii) To throw the accusation directly at their opponents.

DespairingLiberal said...

Very relaxing. What is this anti-police thing with you Iain anyways?

You would do better taking a look at the waste going on in the Mayor of London now that Boris is in charge. For example on designing a completely unlikely new Routemaster that will never in a million years move into production.

DespairingLiberal said...

Ian 5:22 - massage of most kinds is good for business people too. I can recommend it - try it.

Some of you should lighten up a little - what the heck is wrong with providing some relaxation therapy for hard-pressed police officers?

Anyone who watches the various cop programmes on TV can only marvel at the fortitude, stoicism and sheer staying power of our police. They are dealing with more and more violence and psychosis on the streets, with less and less support from the media, the courts and even their own bosses.

If they leave in droves, which is a distinct possibility, we will have commentators like this blog at least partly to blame - and no doubt Iain Dale will then be at the front of the moaning pack demanding to know who is going to protect him from the knife-wielding scum.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to reduce police officer stress, there are more tested and more lasting ways of accomplishing that aim than rubbing sandalwood scented oils into our scalps. This is just another way of splurging scarce policing pounds on a project of dubious value that is likely just a passing pad for somebody's CV. If this really is an £80,000+ project then somebody needs to be calling time on it. Jacqui Klebb is constantly harping on about how we face challenging years in terms of police budgets, we have to show best value in the face of inspections, the front line is creaking everywhere, every day with front lines bled dry with abstractions to squads, units and teams. In the middle of this someone, somewhere thinks "Ahh holistic therapy.That sounds like a winner" As my colleague Inspector Gadget is fond of saying, "You couldn't make it up"

I bet somebody behind this bid absolutely loves having their head massaged and is just salivating away at the possibility of getting their fix on the public purse. If you want an Indian head massage then book one at my local holistic therapy centre and pay for it.

If you really have £80,000 to blow, give it to the police Convalescent Home in Harrogate who do real therapy, you know, the verified as working type.

Anonymous said...

From Despairing Liberal - "If they leave in droves, which is a distinct possibility....,"

On what is THAT statement based? I can't see 'droves' leaving a job with a good salary level and excellent pension scheme at this time in the UK's economic history can you? Get real for goodness sake.

For injuries sustained on duty there is excellent back up and health care including the Police Convalescent Home which provides excellent care, available to all officers who pay a small monthly fee direct from wages. Massage of ANY kind is easily affordable by officers, many of whom also get excellent rates from private health plans.

Attitudes like this are why the police service has lost so much public support, well that added to the fact they no longer seem to adhere to the original principles of policing.

Administrator said...


BJ said...

Yeah OK -- having read all of this (especially Ian @ 5.22 and nightjack @ 6.59) it does now seem like a bit of a silly idea and ergo a waste of taxpayers' money (including my Mum's as she lives in Sussex, come to think of it).

My reverse-ferret is complete. Happy new year!

subrosa said...

I wonder if our troops in Afghanistan or Iraq have ever had the privilege of an Indian head massage courtesy of the taxpayer?

Somehow I think the answer is negative.

Let the police pay for their massages the way most of the working people do. No wonder this country's bankrupt.

Shaun said...

I live in Newhaven, part of that 'Service' and here the local Cop Shop work 9-5:30, Monday to Friday! Aren't we lucky to have criminals that work bankers hours, eh?

Still, its important to give our highly paid, professional Police men and women relaxed and raring to go...

DespairingLiberal said...

Subrosa, I agree with your sense of priorities, but this is misplaced anger in a more general sense. I would be very much up for an attack by bloggers on the MoD and the total government indifference to the welfare of our troops. To take one of countless examples, they still do not have replacements for the fatally useless "snatch" Land Rovers, yet the MoD has recently spent many millions on more comfortable workstations for it's London civil servants.

I think some of you are over-reacting to a cheap Daily Mail shot by Iain. This blog fluctuates alarmingly all the time between really solid, accurate and newsworthy critiques of NuLab and a sort of wierd slovenly Toryboy tabloidism, of which this is an example.

Attack the things that matter, not trivia like this.

Anonymous said...

Surely it is up to the blog owner to post what he likes? Readers can comment accordingly. It isn't for anyone to set the agenda nor to dictate how, when or in what style comments should be made.

Twig said...

Will they be changing the name to the Police Serviced.

I wonder if this will be declared on their P11Ds.

Jimmy said...

I think they're preparing for a possible tory government on the basis that anyone who joins the police then will need their head felt.

Unsworth said...

Only Head massages?

What about the rest of the anatomy?

There are quite a few emporia in Sussex that could offer their interesting 'services' - probably for the same kind of money. (Speaking as a long-standing patron, of course).

redrobin said...

there's good and bad here. Firstly health and wellbeing at work is going to be a massive industry over the next ten years,modern life has garaunteed that. There is a definate link between making your workplace better and healthier, will make your staff happier and more productive, as soon as the data for ROI flows in, watch all and sundry pile in, and as i have said before this industry will take off. Secondly, spending money on this type of thing is not a waste as long as some joined up thinking has been employed with your other health benefits.Whether this has taken place, probably not? just introducing a service because it sounds like a nice thing to have, will get most people (ie like us bloggers) jumping all over you, especially when there is tax payers money involved, but this does not mean the service as an entity is without value. Unfortunately i am privvy to further details of the offer, and needless to say it looks like it hasn't been thought thru (not surprising)thay want a therapist for one hour at three sites,for one day a fortnight. Now in that hour a therapist will be able to treat 4 people max out of the whole of sussex hq,(now lets think who the likely candidates for them four slots would be?)people in the control centre, on the front desk,chav chasers all deserve this, but will THEY get it? One final point, if you say its £80000 project just because someone before you said it and someone before them said it, it doesnt mean it is, all you acheive is to sway people's opinion based on something that was just plucked out of the air (job at the Mail. NOTW awaits)8-10k should get it done.

twaza (@wassabeee on twitter) said...

Everyone seems to have assumed that the indian head massage services are for the police. Perhaps they are for the prisoners, remandees, and sobering drunks?

If IHM effectively reduces stress, it should surely reduce anti-social behaviour. This would be excellent value for the taxpayer's money. Even better value for money would be obtained if the police could be trained to do IHM themselves.

It is a pity that Gilbert and Sullivan are no longer with us; this is excellent material for a song.