From a systems perspective the UK Public Sector is totally broken!


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John Seddon, in his ground breaking book Systems Thinking in the Public Sector, provides a harrowing view of the “value destroying and non-customer centric system” the UK Public Sector has become locked into in the last 10 years.


Seddon identifies 5 types of waste which are rampant right across the board in the current UK public sector regime from education to health to citizen engagement:

1. The costs of people spending time writing specifications
2. The costs of inspection
3. The costs of preparing for inspection
4. The costs of specifications being wrong
5. The costs of demoralisation

He suggests that to fix the current regime would require 4 fundamental systemic changes:

1. Changing the locus of control – instead of compliance people need to feel free to act in the best interests of their stakeholders
2. Inspection as one question – “What measures are you using to help you understand and improve the work?” instead of “Are your following the standard process?”
3. Learning about what works – changing the focus to understanding what works and providing information on it so that managers can decide what methods suit their circumstances
4. A better view of human nature – not assuming people are perfect or selfless but changing the whole emphasis to “liberate public servants from the prison of suspicion and distrust that the current regime locks them into”.

Read Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of the Reform Regime…. and a Manifesto for a Better Way by John Seddon published by Triarchy Press 2008

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ken Thompson
Ken Thompson specialises in four key business areas: 1. Creating High Performing Teams in enterprises including Virtual and Mobile Teams, 2. Establishing effective Collaborative Business Networks, 3. Development of graphical on-line interactive Business Dashboards and 4. What-if Simulators for organisations to support Performance Improvement, Strategy Development and Executive Team Development.


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