In my last post, Part One of Ducks and Icebergs, I summarized some of the challenges public servants and of course, the rest of us are facing in the next 15 years. Here are five trends public servants are exploring in response to these challenges:
(1) Co- production and co-creation.
This is not a particularly great phrase but it indicates that systems
recognize their financial and personnel limitations and are seeking
partnerships with the community. Essentially Government needs to move away
from doing things to or for people; to doing things with them. According to Geoff Mulgan, CEO of the Young Foundation; .. government can succeed
better by directly addressing the quality of its relationships with the
public, rather than doing so indirectly through promises and their
delivery. Read, Promising Ideas - Public Services and Civil Society Working Together, produced by the Young Foundation in March, 2010.
Download Promising_Ideas Also read, Putting the Public First - Partnering with the Community and Business to Deliver Outcomes an articulate expression of 'co-production' from the Government of Western Australia.
(2) Self Managed Care. This terminology comes from systems and is not how
individuals and families describe their care for each other. However, the
opportunity for people to customize, control and shape the supports they
receive from government is a long time goal of many advocates. One example is the
UK's direct payment funding to people with disabilities, seniors and
others on government benefits. This initiative began with
family and disability advocates who created In Control and has now been adopted by the UK government.
(3) Relationship based public policy
- After 20 years of direct experience at PLAN we know relationships are
at the heart of what makes a good life. And services do a better job
when they strengthen natural relationships and leave behind stronger,
supportive ties for people to draw upon. We know that strong social
ties mean you get sick less often; heal more quickly; and use less
services. Now government is awakening to these facts and beginning to
address social supports and relationships as a key complement to more
traditional services and programs. Click here for a brief prepared by
our Vancouver based, Better Together coalition on the policy benefits of
Download Better Together See also Charles Leadbeater's article, With.
Download With. Charles is a leading thinker, writer and practitioner you will read more about in my future blogs.
If systems are going to have a legitimate partnership with communities,
families, social networks and individuals they will have to work out
who and how to share private, personal, privileged and confidential
data. Tyze (www.tyze.com) was created to fill this gap. Tyze provides
a secure on-line platform to store confidential data; a means to
identify and legitimate family and friends trusted to receive
confidential data; and a bridge between the formal system and
the so called informal natural systems of care.
(5) Incentives and Rewards
Government spends considerable sums of money treating the symptoms of
social problems but significantly less treating the causes or
encouraging creative and innovative responses to tough, resistant to traditional solutions social challenges. There has been little
structural incentive to improve outcomes, either within or outside the
system. In other words, there are no financial rewards for saving money and
improving outcomes. This is changing. The best examples of providing incentives for improved social outcomes is the Social Impact Bond. See also my previous post on Social Impact Bonds.
initiatives are not new. To varying degrees they have been under
consideration or are being implemented already. In fact most of these
were driven in the past by advocates seeking to rebuild civic society,
to tap into the abundance of community resources, to address isolation
and loneliness, to end the dependence on professionalized services and to shift control from the state to the individual and
family. What has changed is the economic and demographic context which
I summarized in Part One.
Government now has its own reasons to move in this direction. There is of course the possibility that the power of the state
will overshadow and undermine genuine partnerships. And we should not
underestimate the need to rebuild trust between community and
there is a potential alignment of agendas between policy advocates and
public servants. The potential convergence
is too good an opportunity for solution based advocates to pass up.