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by John Seddon
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Politics & Government
  • Author:
    John Seddon
  • ISBN:
    0955008182
  • ISBN13:
    978-0955008184
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    Triarchy Press Ltd; First edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Pages:
    224 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Politics & Government
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1106 kb
  • ePUB format
    1332 kb
  • DJVU format
    1851 kb
  • Rating:
    4.6
  • Votes:
    287
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Interesting, if biased manifesto on systems thinking and a Utopian premise for implementation. Wel put statements about the gouvernement processen. Sharp, clever, smart! Seddon shows how Deming in the 80's already stated that targets are not the way to satisfy the customer.

Interesting, if biased manifesto on systems thinking and a Utopian premise for implementation. His 'solution' to the ills of public sector service organizations is just to scrap everything and start over in his mold. Clearly that won't happen, but he can't come up with anything more pragmatic. He also assumes all employees are intrinsically motivated when there are at least a couple in every office I've worked who do it for the paycheck.

John Seddon here dissects the changes that have been made in a range of services, including housing benefits . This is a good introduction to using systems ideas in management.

John Seddon here dissects the changes that have been made in a range of services, including housing benefits, social care and policing. His descriptions beggar belief, though they would be funnier if it wasn't our money that was being wasted. In place of the current mess, he advocates a Systems Thinking approach where individuals come first, waste is reduced and responsibility replaces blame. Read Seddon's first book, Freedom from command and control, first to gain a bigger perspective on his work and ideas. Sep 16, 2012 David Thrale rated it it was amazing.

Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Systems Thinking . John Grisham Books Paperback 1950-1999 Publication Year. This item doesn't belong on this page.

Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of the Reform Regime. Freedom from Command and Control: A Better Way to Make the Work Work by John Seddon (Paperback, 2003).

System thinking represents a better logic for the design and management of work.

Systems thinking in the public sector: The failure of the reform regime and a manifesto for a better way. Axminster: Triarchy Press. uk/idk/aio/4626517 ('A new programme from Vanguard: Lean Fundamentals'). System thinking represents a better logic for the design and management of work. The better way is to manage an organization as a system which simplify the work and opposed to command and control thinking.

John Seddon's study of how to improve public services suffers from a broad and breezy set of dismissals of nearly . There is a good point buried in here, about the way in which public service jobs too often are very specialised.

John Seddon's study of how to improve public services suffers from a broad and breezy set of dismissals of nearly anyone he doesn't fully agree with. Public sector workers are expected to specialise in very narrow tasks rather than to have the broader problem-solving skills which would better reflect the messy actual demands on public services.

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John Seddon invented the concept of failure demand when he discovered that the movement of ‘telephone work’ . Retrieved on 2018-10-12

John Seddon invented the concept of failure demand when he discovered that the movement of ‘telephone work’ to call centres from local bank branches in the 1980s caused an explosion in the volumes of demand – the number of phone calls soared. He found that the rise in call volumes was attributable to the creation of ‘failure demand’, . people ringing back because they did not get their problem solved the first time. Retrieved on 2018-10-12. uk: John Seddon: Books. Retrieved on 2013-07-26.

Seddon, J. (2008) Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: The Failure of a Reform Regime and a Manifesto for a Better Way, Triarchy PressGoogle Scholar. Cite this chapter as: Samuel . Evans B. (2011) Rethinking for Radical Improvement in the Delivery of Housing Services: An Overview of the Application of Systems Thinking in the Housing Sector. In: Zokaei . Seddon . O’Donovan B. (eds) Systems Thinking: From Heresy to Practice. Palgrave Macmillan, London. 1057/9780230299221 7.

The free market has become the accepted model for the public sector. Politicians on all sides compete to spread the gospel. And so, in the UK and elsewhere, there's been massive investment in public sector 'improvement', 'customer choice' has been increased and new targets have been set and refined. But our experience is that things haven't changed much. This is because governments have invested in the wrong things.

The free market has become the accepted model for the public sector. Politicians on all sides compete to spread the gospel. And so, in the UK and elsewhere, there's been massive investment in public sector 'improvement', 'customer choice' has been increased and new targets have been set and refined. But our experience is that things haven't changed much. This is because governments have invested in the wrong things. Belief in targets, incentives and inspection; belief in economies of scale and shared back-office services; belief in 'deliverology... these are all wrong-headed ideas and yet they have underpinned this government's attempts to reform the public sector. John Seddon here dissects the changes that have been made in a range of services, including housing benefits, social care and policing. His descriptions beggar belief, though they would be funnier if it wasn't our money that was being wasted. In place of the current mess, he advocates a Systems Thinking approach where individuals come first, waste is reduced and responsibility replaces blame. It's an approach that is proven, successful and relatively cheap - and one that governments around the world, and their advisers, need to adopt urgently. "A refreshing deconstruction of the control freakery of the current performance regime. It could do for thinking on business improvement what An Inconvenient Truth has done for climate change." Andrew Grant, Chief Executive, Aylesbury Vale District Council "This is the must-have book. It correctly identifies why the present regime is failing our citizens and customers, but more importantly it gives the reader a proven method by which to bring about real improvement in service performance and cost." Dr Carlton Brand, Director of Resources, Wiltshire County Council "This book is uncomfortable, challenging and very direct. It offers huge learning and insight... A superb read." David McQuade, Deputy Chief Executive, Flagship Housing Group "If ministers, local authority leaders and chief executives only read one book this year this is it. A true beacon of sanity in an increasingly insane regime; ministers should read this and recognise the error of their ways." Mark Radford, Director of Corporate Services, Swale District Council

Mamuro
Interesting, if biased manifesto on systems thinking and a Utopian premise for implementation. His 'solution' to the ills of public sector service organizations is just to scrap everything and start over in his mold. Clearly that won't happen, but he can't come up with anything more pragmatic. He also assumes all employees are intrinsically motivated when there are at least a couple in every office I've worked who do it for the paycheck. And spoken like a true academician, he assumes that managers will be able to perform this 'check' on an ongoing basis, when we have a myriad of other duties to perform, from making payroll to unplugging toilets. I think his ideas have merit and am willing to explore further, but his zealous rant against the regime gets very tiring by the end of the book.
Ann
Should be mandatory stuff for anyone even thinking about reorganizing public administrations
Shazel
Wel put statements about the gouvernement processen. Sharp, clever, smart! Seddon shows how Deming in the 80's already stated that targets are not the way to satisfy the customer.
Nikojas
Public companies in Chili are at the top in terms of bureaucracy and self interested politician. So, titles like this promotes at least some hope in order to develop better services to community and ecourage to keep puching foreward despite all burdensome.
Eseve
"When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a measure." Goodhart's Law is as powerful, if not as well known, as Parkinson's Laws. It deserves to be better known and understood.

This book helps us to understand the working out of Goodhart's law, and shows us how disastrous it is when people in charge do not understand Goodhart's Law. It uses British examples, but the principles would be just as valid in USA and other countries. The current British economic horror story is in large part due to the public sector flaws that this book describes so well.

The basic error which Seddon exposes is that failure to think of the whole system or pathway of help, leads instead to focusing on parts of the system, with the result that although each bit may be doing its bit, the overall result is awful, as one part clashes against another. This dynamic is currently endemic in Britain's public sector leading to valueless activity, meaningless measurement, and ever poorer service, at ever greater cost. You and I as taxpayers are paying heavily for this stupidity. David Craig describes the full costs in his book Squandered.

The dynamics of not trusting the staff, not believing the staff's reports, working to meet the target, rather than to meet the need are powerfully described, with examples drawn mainly from the housing sector. I could supply many examples from the UK NHS, and teachers, soldiers and police would readily testify to the truth of Seddon's argument. Their managers would utterly deny there is a problem, and set about rooting out the few bad apples who disturb their illusions. It's not that managers are intrinsically daft, it's just that the tasks they are set are misdirected from the start. Politicians wonder how the services get poorer even as all the targets they set are met.

Seddon's book is seditious. It makes a powerful case that most of the people in the public sector involved in regulation, management, specification of roles and contracts, are actually wasting their time, and even worse they get in the way of front line staff trying to do their jobs. When the truth that Seddon articlulates is fully understood a whole load of jobs and staff in the public sector will need to disappear.

This is an excellent book. It challenges current orthodoxies, and explains why front line public servants such as doctors, teachers, police so detest their management. This book deserves to lead to major changes in how the public sector works. Management that is focused on targets, and looking good to superiors and politicians, rather than on delivering good service to clients and patients is useless.

I recommend this book to MPs, councillors, and to front line public sector workers. Their managers must not read as it is dangerous, and they don't need to know it, or they will lose all belief in their work.

This book is very powerful medicine, and the British public sector would benefit from a large dose of it.
Opilar
Extracts from Philip Johnston's review of the book in the Daily Telegraph:

"Do you ever wonder how the Government came to make such a pig's ear of running the public services that by 2010 annual spending by the state will have doubled since 1997 to the astonishing sum of £674 billion - with little obvious to show in the way of improvement to justify such an outlay?

We know that vast amounts of our hard-earned cash are simply wasted, but have only a vague idea of the cause of this profligacy. Is it because the Government has employed too many bureaucrats, or because the computer systems have crashed, or because the public sector is simply incapable of doing anything efficiently?

I have been reading a book which purports to provide at least part of the answer: Systems Thinking in the Public Sector. The title makes it sound more boring than an Alistair Darling speech, but it is an extraordinary insight into why, at the end of each month, millions of us are left wondering where on earth all the money taken from us in tax has gone.

The argument compellingly made in this book by John Seddon, an occupational psychologist and "management thinker", is that the Government has designed failure into almost everything it does on our behalf. It has not done so deliberately; but it is culpable because it has failed to listen to people who know better how to run services on behalf of the customer rather than the producer.

On the eve of the Budget last week, Gordon Brown set out what he called the third stage of Labour's public sector reform programme.

It was, he said, "designed to meet the rising aspirations of citizens and to achieve excellence and opportunity for all". The Prime Minister said the first stages "inevitably meant using national targets, league tables and tough inspection regimes to monitor progress". Now he wants to focus on diversity of provision and choice.

We can only hope he had Seddon's book by his bedside as he pondered these changes, because it is evident that the whole edifice of public service delivery is rotten from top to bottom and needs a fundamental redesign. Throwing more money at it will simply compound failure. And the choice Mr Brown's reforms seek to offer is pointless if we are simply being asked to pick a school or hospital from three bad ones.

Seddon says that the fundamental problem is precisely what Mr Brown identified as the "inevitable" requirement of efficiency: the obsessive control of public service delivery by a central command structure that is largely ignorant of how to do the job properly, but whose mechanisms - targets, inspections and the rest - have become an orthodoxy that few dare challenge.

"If investment in the UK public sector has not been matched by improvements, it is because we have invested in the wrong things," says Seddon. "We think inspection drives improvement, we believe in the notion of economies of scale, we think choice and quasi-markets are levers for improvement, we believe people can be motivated with incentives, we think leaders need visions, managers need targets and that information technology is a driver of change. These are all wrong-headed ideas. But they have been the foundation of public-sector 'reform."

Seddon says that public services have requirements placed on them by a whole series of bodies that are all based on opinion rather than knowledge. Many are burdened with specifications, targets, regulations and the like which are actually making matters worse.

The really scary thing is that the Government is simply digging a deeper and deeper pit into which to pour our money. New management approaches and further "reform" are compounding previous mistakes.

"At the heart of the problems with public-sector reform is the regime's incapacity to do the right thing," Seddon says. "It is focused on doing the wrong things and assumes compliance to be evidence of success. The inability to act is systemic."

Nor is he enamoured of trying to improve services through "local engagement" or "citizen's juries".

He argues that what people want from public services is for them to work properly, not to pick a heath-care model, vote on a local education policy or elect a chief constable. Waste can be eradicated if the systems are properly designed against demand rather than phoney outcomes.

Take the payment of housing benefits to four million people. The system the Government designed for doing this involved having a front office for claiming benefits and a back office for processing them.

Immediately, says Seddon, there was a problem. It meant that the person with whom the benefit recipient dealt was different from the person who would decide about the payment. Targets were then superimposed on this structure - how quickly back-office phones were picked up, or correspondence answered, or the time taken to calculate a claim.

While this might look like a sensible approach, Seddon says it simply guaranteed that, from the claimant's stand-point, the service remained poor because the back offices simply became repositories for complaints about delays and wrong decisions. It also opened the system to fraud.

What should happen is that when people turn up to get a service, they are met by someone who can help them get it.

"As soon as you create a split between front and back office, you also create waste. To do the same on a larger scale is to mass-produce it." The same failures are built into all public services, and to address the problems by reducing the number of targets is pointless: "Doing less of the wrong thing is not doing the right thing."

Waste on the scale we have seen demoralises people working in the public sector and angers those who pay for or use services. It is also stupefyingly costly. Cumulative public spending since 1997 stands at £4,500 billion - double the total for the preceding 10 years.

How much of this is wasted? The public sector employs 800,000 more people than in 1997, many of them engaged in developing specifications, writing guidance, drawing up standards, devising targets, enforcing inspections - all in the name of a reform programme that does not work properly.

It is barmy - a madness in whose name we have been mightily fleeced, and continue to be so.