Good process is vital for good government

Andrea Siodmok and Matthew Taylor at the RSA: “…‘Bad’ process is time wasting and energy sapping. It can reinforce barriers to collaboration, solidify hierarchies and hamper adaptiveness.

‘Good process’ energises people, creates spaces for different ideas to emerge, builds trust and collective capacity.

The bad and good could be distinguished along several dimensions. Here are some:

Bad process:

  • Routine/happens because it happens            
  • Limited preparation and follow through         
  • Little or no facilitation            
  • Reinforces hierarchies, excludes key voices  
  • Rigid accountability focussed on blame           
  • Always formal and mandated           
  • Low trust/transactional       

Good process:

  • Mission/goal oriented – happens because it makes a difference
  • Sees process as part of a flow of change – clear accountability
  • Facilitated by people with necessary skills and techniques 
  • Inclusive, what matters is the quality of contributions not their source
  • Collective accountability focussed on learning 
  • Mixes formal and informal settings and methods, often voluntary
  • Trust enhancing/collaborative

Why is bad process so prevalent and good process so rare?

Because bad process is often the default. In the short term, bad process is easier, less intensive-resource, and less risky than good process.

Bringing people together in inclusive processes

Bringing key actors together in inclusive processes help us both understand the system that is maintaining the status quo and building a joint sense of mission for a new status quo.

It also helps people start to identify and organise around key opportunities for change. 

One of the most positive developments to have occurred in and around Whitehall in recent years is the emergence of informal, system spanning networks of public officials animated by shared values and goals such as One Team Gov and a whole host of bottom up networks on topics as diverse as wellbeing, inclusion, and climate change….(More)”.