Quote of the week
“…the time to think strategically about the long term is now.”
— Accenture Report
There is little doubt that a crisis of relevance has hit governments. As they deal with reduced budgets and increased expectations from citizens, some experts are beginning to argue that if government is to remain relevant, it will have to fundamentally change.
Accenture has started a new series called Delivering Public Service for the Future: Navigating the Shifts. And while it doesn’t actually use the phrase “government relevance,” the theme is throughout the paper.
The paper says governments need to move beyond trying to do more with less. They need to think radically about new ways of doing – affordable – business.
Their research show that citizens have little affection for so-called “legacy structures” that no longer meet their needs. Think government departments, individual websites, competing jurisdictions. They care about service outcomes, but do not care how – or by whom – services get delivered.
The Accenture paper proposes four ways in which public sector service delivery and design can be improved. First, governments have to move from standardized to personalized services. This was a goal of the Big Society initiative in the U.K.
Second, governments need to move from being reactive to “insight driven.” This includes using data to drive forward-looking decision-making.
Third, public servants need to become “public entrepreneurs,” where they use the machinery of government to meet economic outcomes as well as to encourage diversity in service delivery. This means killing the risk averse, empire building “public manager” mentality, an expectation that Treasury Board President Tony Clement has put forward.
Accenture’s fourth proposal is to move public servants from focusing on “piecemeal efficiency” to “mission productivity.” Essentially, governments need to institute a relentless drive for ongoing improvement at an enterprise-wide level. Obviously efficient programs are important, but the overall goal must be to make government as an institution work cheaper, more focused and better if it is to remain relevant to its citizens.
This first report is at http://www.accenture.com/ca-en/Pages/insight-delivering-public-service-future-navigating-shifts.aspx. We should be looking forward to the others.