Monday 21 March 2011
Gave evidence today on the future of audit and inspection in local government to the inquiry that the Communities and Local Government Committee is holding at Portcullis House.
Alongside me was Professor John Seddon who has written widely on systems thinking.
It's fair to say that whilst I agree with John's approach to improving systems and processes there are several key areas of policy around how his ideas apply to public services where we disagree.
We slogged it out with the Committee for almost an hour before they called time on us and we then shared a taxi back to Euston.
APSE's views are that there is a need for openness and transparency in public services that is best facilitated by the scrutiny of an independant national body, although we would accept that the Audit Commission's role had become overgrown. We also think that if there are over 400 authorities in the UK some of whom are providing over 200 individual services then there are valuable lessons that can be learned from each other through identifying best practice and sharing amongst the sector. Value for money studies have aided this process. Public Services cannot be exclusively demand driven, there are a number of major policy issues such as climate change that require political and managerial leadership despite the fact that sometimes the public disagree.