Friday, August 19, 2011

John Seddon in Oz

I have made earlier postings about John Seddon's work   He is scheduled to be in Sydney and then Melbourne at the end of the month.  I recommend attendance if you can make it.   This column by Simon Caulkin is worth looking at in its own right as well as for getting a feel for the sort of change that Seddon and his colleagues facilitate.

Lessons from the front line: What works and what doesn’t in UK public sector reform | Professor John Seddon 

Wednesday 31 August, 3pm to 5pm (followed by wine and canapés)
Dixon Room, State Library of NSW,
Shakespeare Place Sydney (Mitchell Wing entrance)

Cost: $22 (NSW IPAA members) or $44 (non-members), includes canapés and drinks following the presentation.
RSVP here. Limited places so register now This event is being organised by CPD and IPPA, registrations are being coordinated by IPPA

Join the Centre for Policy Development & the Institute of Public Administration Australia (NSW) for a seminar with Professor John Seddon, providing insights into the UK government’s radical reforms of the public sector – with some lessons for Australia. Read John’s thoughts on Big Society here.

Through the Blair years John Seddon gained a reputation as a leading critic of public sector reform. His 2008 book, Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: the failure of the reform regime… and a manifesto for a better way, was read by Cameron’s policy team while in opposition and was thought to be ‘going too far’; but in some ways Cameron’s new coalition government has gone further. The target-setting regime is over and the Audit Commission is to close. On other fronts, Seddon remains a strident and informed voice against UK government policy, arguing that ministers seek policy-based evidence rather than evidence-based policy.

Seddon is as vociferous about what works. Those who follow his ideas achieve performance improvements that represent economic benchmarks. In this unique seminar John Seddon will talk about what works, what doesn’t work and he will offer up some clear advice for Australia:
  • Why change should start with studying (no plan required)
  • How studying can reveal counter-intuitive truths (e.g. managing costs drives costs up)
  • How managing value drives costs out of public services while improving service delivery
  • How conventional approaches to sharing services lead to massive and costly failure
  • Why economy of scale is a myth
  • Why targets and inspection/regulation make performance worse
  • Three steps to sharing services that are guaranteed to maximise efficiency and improve service
  • How to get knowledge; studying service organisations as systems, the prerequisite to effective and profound improvement
  • The role of central government; constructive things to do and things to avoid
  • An evidence-based view of current UK government initiatives, including the Big Society.
The seminar is being presented as part of CPD’s Public Service Research Program. To  download “The State of the Australian Public Service: An alternative report”, visit the program webpage. Be sure to sign up to our email list here [link] to get the latest updates.

About Professor John Seddon

John has received numerous academic awards for his contribution to management thinking. Originally an occupational psychologist, John was persuaded by Deming’s obvious truth, that we, mankind, invented management and we can change it. John has developed methods to help managers of service organisations change from a conventional command-and-control design to a systems design.

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