Change the DNA, change the beast

June 7, 2009

Following a meeting at Reform last week, several suggestions came out: (as Reform runs under the Chatham House rule, I can’t say who said what, but I can give you a flavour).

  1. Those who run political initiatives are not asked to justify the routine costs of governing
  2. There is a huge issue with the cultural DNA differences between public and private sectors in terms of reviewing
  3. The public sector is very diverse and diluted and although devolution is a key driver for change, the “it’s our money and we’ll decide how to spend it” mentality is alive and well in government departments

I’ll leave the recommendations to come from the authors of a paper due out in the next couple of weeks. Nevertheless there are a couple of points I think are worth raising now.

  1. Government needs to push service delivery as far as possible to the private sector and offer contracts to local/national  businesses to enhance the local economy, notwithstanding the need to comply with EU competition law
  2. The government should become both the commissioner of services and the quality assurance auditor, to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness
  3. There is a need to build a vehicle which could be a consortium or joint venture between government and one or several private sector partners that will administer the transformation and contracts to service providers

I’m having a follow-up meeting tomorrow to discuss this in more detail, but I believe that only by changing the DNA of the public sector, can we change the beast.

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