Abstracts: February 18th, 2010

The paper illustrates the need for more innovation in public service and for a greater focus on decentralization. The authors, from the National School for Government, have drawn their conclusions from the Total Place initiatives. Policy development on public service reform has shifted towards a more decentralised, less command-and-control based approach, but a whole generation of Whitehall staff has grown up in that world, having little direct knowledge of the front line and no capacity to see things from a local perspective.

The authors urge that organizations across the country should emulate the innovations that are emerging from the Total Place pilots and that government should address the systemic impediments to innovation across the public sector. At the same time there should be systemic change in government processes, such as financing, performance measurement and commissioning.