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Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of the Reform Regime.... and a Manifesto for a Better Way (Paperback)
  • Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of the Reform Regime.... and a Manifesto for a Better Way (Paperback)
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Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of the Reform Regime.... and a Manifesto for a Better Way (Paperback)

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£20.00
Paperback 224 Pages / Published: 11/04/2008
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The free market has become the accepted model for the public sector. Politicians on all sides compete to spread the gospel. And so, in the UK and elsewhere, there's been massive investment in public sector 'improvement', 'customer choice' has been increased and new targets have been set and refined. But our experience is that things haven't changed much. This is because governments have invested in the wrong things. Belief in targets, incentives and inspection; belief in economies of scale and shared back-office services; belief in 'deliverology... these are all wrong-headed ideas and yet they have underpinned this government's attempts to reform the public sector. John Seddon here dissects the changes that have been made in a range of services, including housing benefits, social care and policing. His descriptions beggar belief, though they would be funnier if it wasn't our money that was being wasted. In place of the current mess, he advocates a Systems Thinking approach where individuals come first, waste is reduced and responsibility replaces blame. It's an approach that is proven, successful and relatively cheap - and one that governments around the world, and their advisers, need to adopt urgently. "A refreshing deconstruction of the control freakery of the current performance regime. It could do for thinking on business improvement what An Inconvenient Truth has done for climate change." Andrew Grant, Chief Executive, Aylesbury Vale District Council "This is the must-have book. It correctly identifies why the present regime is failing our citizens and customers, but more importantly it gives the reader a proven method by which to bring about real improvement in service performance and cost." Dr Carlton Brand, Director of Resources, Wiltshire County Council "This book is uncomfortable, challenging and very direct. It offers huge learning and insight... A superb read." David McQuade, Deputy Chief Executive, Flagship Housing Group "If ministers, local authority leaders and chief executives only read one book this year this is it. A true beacon of sanity in an increasingly insane regime; ministers should read this and recognise the error of their ways." Mark Radford, Director of Corporate Services, Swale District Council

Publisher: Triarchy Press
ISBN: 9780955008184
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 367 g
Dimensions: 244 x 170 x 12 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Systems Thinking in the Public Sector ... is an extraordinary insight into why, at the end of each month, millions of us are left wondering where on earth all the money taken from us in tax has gone." "The argument compellingly made in this book by John Seddon is that the Government has designed failure into almost everything it does on our behalf. It has not done so deliberately; but it is culpable because it has failed to listen to people who know better how to run services on behalf of the customer rather than the producer."Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph "It's time to face up to the unpalatable truth - Labour's public-service reforms have failed. Determined to liberate public services from producer interests, the government itself has turned into the oppressor. It is now locked into a nightmare cycle in which each round of reforms makes things worse, justifying further reforms which founder in their turn because (you've heard this before) in attempting to do the wrong things righter, they actually become wronger.;Do quotas and targets enforced by a regulatory bureaucracy remind you of anything? Yes: they're called central planning and don't work any better in UK local government offices and police stations than in Soviet tractor factories. One of the strengths of Seddon's diagnosis is that, as a consultant, he has seen almost every public service from the inside. From trading standards to planning and housing repairs, all exhibit the same dysfunction, being forced to conform to a work design that starts from the wrong end - the requirements of government rather than those of the citizen. The design fills the system with error and waste, driving quality and effective capacity down and cost up."Simon Caulkin, The Observer

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