We asked a local authority boss to comment on the current round of public sector reforms and the need to deliver less targets and more solutions-focused efficiencies during this time of austerity.
"Please don't talk to me about solutions-focused efficiencies. I've had it up to here with solutions-focused efficiencies. I've spent half my working life in a successful target-based thinking arena that is dedicated to managing core competencies and rolling out goals-driven solutions to the end-user. And the last thing we need right now is solutions-focused efficiences.
"During my past ten years, in particular, as head of a human-capital rich strategic solutions department, I have been at the cutting edge of local authority, people-centred planning and services provision. Our initiative-based policy development unit has offered countless clients (i.e.end-users) the kind of robust ideas-endowed resources they demand and, in my opinion, are right to expect from a leading public-sector provider. And these resources, I have to add are the envy of public-sector strategic resourcing departments the world over.
"During my time, we have managed, through a process of interdepartmental and multiplicative collaboration both to enhance and progress a range of strategy-critical services that have, quite literally, pushed the envelope when it comes to public sector functionality. In education, we were first when it came to the new code of learning-centred and interdisciplinary competencies advancement - no small feat, even despite the human capital and the generous employment facilitation that the government of the day allowed us. In public sector health provision, through a series of holistic engagement initiatives, we redrew and reinvented the entire patient-focused experience. And in policing and public order resourcing, we have rolled out a range of cutting edge strategies, that have enhanced the surveillance capabilities upon those citizens and residents of our borough who are deemed to fall outside the envelope of what is considered acceptable in this day and age. Those of you who do not actively engage with our detailed refuse collection policies beware!
"So I have to object when I listen to the Prime Minister criticising the targets-based culture that has operated so effectively over recent years. Where would we be without targets? Where would we be without resource-efficient predictors of results-focused orientation? Where would we be if we did not grade any current or given situation against future aspirations within a defined timescale? Where would we be without verifiably holistic engagement initiatives?
"Up shit creek! That's where we'd be! Up shit creek!
"So I will say simply this to the Prime Minister: Mind your language, Prime Minister. Or else you are quite realistically in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Which in strategic terms would be a rod/back interface situation."
"Do you see where I'm coming from?"