Why we must break the constraints of the industrial model of government

Max Beverton Palmer at the New Statesman: “…In practice, governments must shift from delivering what they always have to ensuring people’s needs are met in the best possible way. This should open up delivery to partners from both the private and charity sectors, where they can provide a better service that delivers better value to citizens, and much greater engagement with the public.

To manage this shift, leaders will need to resolve three key trade-offs.

First, states must be able to give up control to encourage innovation while protecting quality and in-house capacity. They must create new frameworks to assess where to encourage more open policymaking and delivery and where to double down on the competencies and infrastructure only they can provide. Technology can help here, creating new levers to protect the public interest by governing services’ access to government platforms and datasets akin to app store guidelines.

Second, states must reorganise around scale economies underpinned by technology while moving delivery closer to people’s lives. They should provide the foundations that allow new services to operate, while letting go of controlling the last mile of service delivery. A better way forward is a more collaborative approach that encourages communities, charities and companies to design more tailored services on top of public-controlled infrastructure, enabling people to choose those which best meet their needs.

Third, governments must be able to better listen, engage with and adapt to peoples’ views without descending into mob-rule. A core part of product and service design both in business and in the public sector is iterating delivery according to user needs, but the feedback loops in policymaking are comparably non-existent. New tools can help leaders understand the plurality of public opinions and address the growing disconnect between public institutions and those they represent.

MaxGetting from the status quo to this more open model will be challenging. But action in four priority areas should provide a starting point: infrastructure, organisation, competition and engagement….(More)”