The common statement “the business of governing” is detrimental, as the focus should be upon providing government with the best efficiencies private business experience, and expertise, has to offer.
The statement should read “business within government”, providing a completely different mindset.
This involves implementing within government the best efficiencies of business by identifying process improvements, removing duplication of effort, improving inter-departmental coordination, reviewing and assessing key personnel (always with the goal of ‘best fit’) with positions allocated by merit, and producing budget savings through operational efficiencies, all with a focus on customer (public) outcomes and improved service.
Quantifiable achievements would include;
- Designate and decide on all areas of Departmental and Ministerial responsibility so no-one can “pass the buck”.
- Allocate responsibilities and targets to ensure the desired and clearly stated outcomes are achieved within set time-frames.
- Ensure all cost savings achieved are ongoing, no one-off savings included in targets, by implementing guidelines, overseeing their implementation and educating management.
- Allocation of necessary resources (from those existing within government), setting applicable Key Performance Levels (KPL) and managing staff to complete set objectives and achieve all desired outcomes.
- All reports produced to be concise and written in plain English, with detailed analysis provided only when requested.
- The emphasis will be on outcomes, results, savings, improved service and efficiency not on unnecessary documentation, sub-committees or meetings.
This proposal would require minimal personnel for it would allocate additional resources from other Departments (not exceeding an agreed limit), and investigate and set goals, priorities and outcomes in simple terms.
Initial targets would be;
- Documented ongoing budgetary savings through reduced red tape via improved coordination, demarcation and processes.
- Improved accountability within government departments creating efficiencies and gains in timelines and processes.
- Improved ‘connection’ between wants and needs of the public and what government provides.
- Improved public service in all areas, with all agreed objectives (including time-frames) being met.
- Overall improved perception of government efficiency, thereby attracting a higher class of personnel and additional budget savings through their specialist knowledge and experience.
- Improved performance measurement and ongoing guidance to ensure operational efficiencies are maintained.
Is the above business-like approach really outside the capabilities of our elected officials? When every vote counts, decisions can be compromised.
This is an unfortunate fact since Democracy (or what we now know as Democracy) began.
It would therefore be prudent to appoint a successful business person to head such a Department with powers level with that of a Minister, to ensure success.
The saving of hundreds of thousands of dollars would result, if expedited correctly, an amount equal to hundreds of people not having to pay tax for a year. As the appointee would be on a contract they would have no fear of losing votes, leading to decisive and correct decisions being made.
Surely a winner for everyone, especially as the above savings figure is extremely conservative. In fact, savings of millions of dollars would be the set target, anything less being regarded as a failure, over the term of implementation (years).
But would politicians have the courage to give someone the power and authority to achieve this? Unfortunately I fear not, for once again they would wonder if introducing such a system might anger some minority groups and lose them votes. Or potentially cause disgruntled public servants to voice discontent. The right person for this role would take note of any such discontent and target them for removal.
Change is far easier to implement when you have new employees, who are unaware of ‘old’ procedures and are more willing to accept new ways of thinking.