Leading from the Front

Finally got around to reading this Demos report (http://www.demos.co.uk/publications/leading-from-the-front).  It received a little publicity at the time for its suggestion that all central inspection agencies should be abolished and that front line public service workers should be liberated to use their initiative etc.  In some ways, I have sympathy for the idea and hoped to read a cogent analysis that pointed out the problems of performance, of organisational forms and of the whole systems of incentives as they currently operate.  Alas, the work is superficial and, while it briefly mentions the possible downsides of removing all oversight, absolutely fails to address such concerns.

Perhaps worse, though, I suspect the pamphlet has tried to practice what it preached.  It appears to have dispensed with any proof-reading or other form of quality oversight and is riddled with errors.  How do we ensure that a removal of oversight in our public services does not lead to errors but to improvements in the responsiveness of public services?

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October 2009
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