This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Think Paper: Winter 2010
The Case Change management in the public sector is driven mostly by a focus on business planning, service delivery, the power of competition and better systems management. There has been a concerted effort to import such disciplines from the private sector as a way of increasing There has in the business sector over the last thirty years been more and more emphasis on delivering excellence by ensuring a consistent customer centric driven approach. Many of the basic business processes for developing
The shift from a product and service orientation towards a customer focused orientation has been profound in the private sector but much less marked in the public sector
efficiency and effectiveness. The adoption of systematic business processes is however, a second order activity in most private sector organisations. The principle function of businesses is about winning customers, and delighting them through the development of products and services, not the other way round. products and services are now well established and the delivery of excellence in these areas is seen as no more than a base line requirement for success. The shift from a product and service orientation towards a more customer focused orientation has clearly been profound in the private sector but much less marked in the public sector, in which a product and service focus
A citizen centric approach to public service design and delivery will be a more credible, motivating and sustainable platform for change in the public sector than simply trusting professionals ‘to do the right thing’ or through exhortations, incentives and penalties to provide more efficient and effective public services.
still dominates management and professional thinking. A more sustainable & culturally relevant approach People who work in the public sector do so partly because such roles provide them with a strong sense of satisfaction and personal well-being. However, in practice, they often find themselves dealing with the vagaries of working within a service verging on the edge of being perceived as institutionally dysfunctional and one subject to continuous public disquiet. Developing the means for a sustained organisational change and service improvement through a process of satisfying customer needs is about developing a new culture attuned to the public sector ethos of: care, support and collective responsibility. The Prize Building on recent reforms focused on service efficiency and effectiveness, but also emphasising customer needs, will result in a culture that is more motivated, progressive, and ambitious and constantly striving to improve services. One that is not merely driven by the need for systems efficiency, to hit targets or to satisfy ‘managers’, but one that is driven by a desire to serve and produce tangible benefit for services users.
A ‘Citizen Centric’’ approach to service improvement will also gain new respect from the public. Public service providers would no longer be viewed simply as a once great but failing set of post war institutions, putting up with chronic adversity. A new perception would grow, over time, a perception of responsiveness and efficiency and a service driven by a desire to satisfy people real needs. Big Society A ‘Big Society’, is one that empowers, facilitates and supports its citizens to create a better life for themselves, their families and everyone else also needs to have its foundations in an ethos of service. Putting more emphasis on citizen driven as well as citizen responsive services is about ensuring that everyone not only gets their needs met as far as possible but also that everyone helps all the people they can to get what they need. Big Society Citizens needs Big
one way street. It involves a change in approach from both providers and also from the consumers of public service. Existing ‘Big Citizens’ like the thousands of local people who already give their time and energy to help others need to be encouraged, supported and praised. An army of new ‘Big Citizens’ will need to step forward. They will also need to be encouraged and supported to do so. In a new citizen centric public service approach incentives will need to be developed that encourage people to make an active contribution to helping public services become more responsive and also to help deliver some of the services that people say they actually want the state to provide. One of the big challenges will be to develop and deliver forms of support and encouragement that promotes active citizenship. There will be a need for incentives and rewards as well as many forms of general encouragement and information about how to help. We know that people are generally disposed to helping others so it should not be the case that people need to necessarily receive some form of conditional cash payment to make a contribution. New forms of incentives in the form of public recognition in the shape of awards or publicity might work for some. Others might favour some form of
The ‘Big Society’ concept is the flip side of a citizen centred approach to public service delivery. It represents a social contract that implicitly accepts that taking forward a citizen focused approach to public service reform is not a
small financial or material contribution to the work they deliver to help them do more. In order to determine the best way for the Government to encourage participation research will need to be conducted with actual and potential activists to determine how best to help them, In effect thee will need to take the same citizen centric approach to developing support mechanisms for ‘Big Citizens’ as there will be for every aspects of developing a bigger society. It will also be important not to fall into the trap of the state trying to bureaucratise the process and drive a uniform approach to engagement form Whitehall. Rather local schemes and community solutions should be supported by local public services. Interventions should not be driven by such things as a set of targets for the number of active citizens, or the number of new projects set up. Success should be measured by the impact of interventions, the real benefits to people’s lives in terms that they
understand and can believe are important. ‘Public Service’ not ‘Public Services’ Citizen centric service design and delivery will only be possible if a new culture of public services is encouraged and facilitated. This is the role of central government, to put in place the incentives and disincentives to developing such an approach. Central government can also foster a change of culture using ‘soft’ approaches such as training, capturing and making available learning and also through a process of empowering citizens through information about what local providers are doing and how they measure up to the best providers. This paper has argued that the application of action to support the hypothesis of adopting a citizen centric approach to public services is a key element in reinvigorating and refocusing public service delivery. Citizen centric design is also a key factor in reinvigorating
public sector staffs morale and pride in what they do as it rightly reinforces and builds on their senesce of vocation and desire to deliver better and more responsive services to the people that they work for. Citizen centric design also means that rather than adopting any preconceived tactical approach such as ‘Nudging, Shoving, Smacking or Hugging (See THINK paper Autumn 2010) governments and public sector organisations should insist that systems are put in place that ensure that citizens views , needs and wants are given weight when making decisions about how to promote social wellbeing. Intervention approaches such as nudges are often key ingredients in a successful intervention mix but they are not a recipe for success in every situation. The recipe for success and to increase public sector motivation and morale is to adopt a citizen centric approach to planning and service delivery.
Professor Jeff French
www.strategic-social-marketing.org. Tel 01428 751 475Mobile 0788 389 4802. Jeff.French@strategic-social-marketing.org
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.