The case studies in this volume are further evidence of impact of systems theory on front line services particularly within local government and need to liberate managers from pointless edicts and targets which litter the public sector. I have been hugely impressed with the impact that the work of John and his colleagues have had in challenging traditional thinking and shifting public services to design against demand. In turn it produces the wonderful outcome that managers abandon the pursuit of meeting redundant indicators and concentrate on public expectations for better services. --Steve Thomas, Chief Executive, Welsh Local Government Association.
This book provides any leader charged with service performance improvement and simultaneous cost reduction all the information necessary to deliver real-world improvement to customers. This method is well proven in my own organisation. -- Dr Carlton Brand, Corporate Director, Resources - Wiltshire Council.
Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Head of the Conservative Councils Innovation Unit
These case studies show how the application of the Vanguard method transforms the lives of both the customers and the people who deliver our local public services. This is essential reading for anyone who is interested in delivering better local services at lower cost. -- Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader, Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Head of the Conservative Councils Innovation Unit
an important contribution to the developing debate on the best tools and techniques that are required to improve public services, and not just from the point of view of cost, but from the perspective of the end user - the citizenry we all serve. Its pragmatic, example-driven approach will give a practical insight into the approaches and benefits that can come from the use of systems thinking. --Michael Willis, Chief Executive, Surrey Heath Borough Council
With unprecedented pressures on the Public Sector to significantly reduce its spending, this book offers practical examples of how `systems thinking' can both save money and transform services. Applying it will change the way you think. In Suffolk's Trading Standards service it reduced the time taken to deliver complete solutions to citizens from 60 days to just 6, whilst saving £80,000; creating 15% extra capacity and reducing staff by 10%. If you're in a position of influence in the public sector you can't afford not to know about this thinking. --Andrea Hill, Chief Executive, Suffolk County Council
From the Inside Flap
In his acclaimed 2008 book Systems Thinking in the Public Sector, John Seddon blew the whistle on public sector reform. Politicians on all sides, he showed, were competing to spread the flawed gospel of quasi-markets, competition, targets and inspection. In the UK and elsewhere, thousands of people had been engaged at a cost of millions of pounds, to impose and enforce targets that made things worse ...
Those people are still there - from the Audit Commission down - with the same vested interest in keeping their jobs and maintaining the status quo. But, as his last book showed, the free market model actually creates waste, drives up costs, damages services and destroys morale.
Systems Thinking offers a proven, successful and cheaper option
Now Delivering Public Services That Work sets out the alternative. It brings together case studies from 6 different public sector organizations that are using Systems Thinking - and , specifically, the Vanguard approach to Systems Thinking - to bring about rapid and extraordinary change. The Case Studies show:
##The results that can be achieved:
* When someone on Housing Benefit reports a change in circumstances, a number of actions are triggered. In 2007, East Devon District Council was taking 20 days to process these notifications. By 2009, that was 3.8 days.
* Before Stroud District Council started Systems Thinking, it often took 40-45 days to process a Housing Benefit claim; now most are processed within a week.
* Stockport Borough Council's HR Department cut service times by over 50%.
* Central Otago District Council cut the time taken to approve or reject requests for resources from the Roads Department from an average of 50 days in 2008 to 14 days by the end of 2009.
## The process that each service provider went through
## How they overcame initial resistance and hostility from staff
## How they rolled-in (rather than rolled-out) the programme across other departments/services
## What unexpected benefits accrue (a 44% drop in staff illness in one case)
With its six clearly explained examples of how to do it, Delivering Public Services That Work:
- Is a breath of fresh air for public service managers and senior executives...
- Is a revelation for any member of the public who has ever wondered where their money goes and how it could be better spent...
- And should be compulsory reading for policy makers and officials in central government responsible for the current mess.