What goes around comes around… again and again!
I must be getting old. I am certainly not in the first flush of youth, and neither can I see the ‘gold plated’ pension in the near distance. However, I have had a real sense of déjà vu in the last few days as that latest ideas seem to be going with the things that we tried a few years ago.
It all started for me with Local Area Agreements, that idea that encouraged local areas to work together to improve outcomes, and those that were able to deliver stretch performance received performance reward grant. This is still a noble idea and should have provoked partners into working together.
In the experience of this guest blogger though, this just led organisations to ensure that their pet projects were funded through the pump priming grant and that they got their fair share of the reward grant. This was an opportunity to rewire the system and organise around the needs of people who needed our services.
Fast forward to last week where Mr Guest Blogger here was hearing about the need to deliver locally integrated services which organised around the needs of individuals and broke down organisational boundaries, with those service funded by community level budgets.
This is the organisational equivalent of Hooke’s Law, which states that an entity can be stretched in direct proportion to the force applied to it, but once that force is removed, the entity snaps back into shape. Bureaucratic organisations are by their very nature highly resilient , and I want that to be the case for chunks of Local Government that many of our residents rely on. However, we exist to serve residents, not simply to exist.
I long to hear the officer or organisation that says “the interests of the people we serve are best served by us no longer existing and so we’ll get somebody else to do what we do and things will be better”.
There is alarming organisational self interest abounding in many partnership discussions but getting decision makers to put this aside and concentrate on evidence and the needs of individuals remains some way away, just like that pension cheque.
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