Holistic Government

Demos have written the following in their publication “Holistic Government”:

The core problem for government is that it has inherited from the nineteenth century a model of organisation that is structured around functions and services rather than around solving problems. Budgets are divided into separate silos for health, education, law and order and so on.

The vertical links between departments and agencies in any one field and professional groups such as the police, teachers, doctors and nurses are strong.

The horizontal links are weak or non-existent.

Management textbooks now talk about the process centred organisation, where we have clearly defined who are our customers and set up the organisation to effectively achieve their needs. The NHF talks of joined up thinking and constructive engagement. Demos sets out the following basic rules:

  1. 1 Holistic budgeting: in order that services can be designed in the most effective way and closely targeted upon key groups in each area, budgets should be organised not by functions or organisations but around outcomes and geographical areas, right down to the level of the postcode district.

  1. 2 Organisations defined around outcomes: Instead of departments, and quangos being responsible for administering services, organisations should be charged with achieving outcomes and using their budgets to buy whatever services or functions they require.

  1. One-stop shops should become the principle means by which the public deals with government. One-stop shops will organise what the public sector offers by the life events that trigger people’s needs for services. The functions and services that make up today’s public sector will become “back offices” and “content providers” for these one stop shops and will, over time operate and be managed in more integrated ways.

  1. Case workers: The roles of frontline staff should be developed, empowering them to purchase services across health care, housing, social services, benefits and job training to bring together packages of customised solutions that suit the needs of the individual. The frail elderly Project Manager is already in a strong position to develop this role.

  1. Contracts should be based on outcomes.

  1. Every department, agency and tier of government should be audited to identify the balance of effort that it puts into preventative activity across the range of outcomes with which it is charged.

  1. The role and status of preventive work should be enhanced in all professions.


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