10 principles for better government
This paper sets out a vision for a state that is less dependent on the market-based assumptions that have dominated policymaking over the last 35 years and which puts people at the heart of its thinking.
In this thought-provoking personal essay, Community Links co-founder David Robinson identifies 10 principles to underpin a citizen-centred model of 'whole system' reform of public services.
- Build readiness
- Prevent the preventable
- Prioritise relationships
- Combine functions
- Co-produce services
- Co-locate the public estate
- Cultivate the willing
- Reduce inequalities
- Commit to common
- Tell the story of our lives
Together, Robinson argues, these principles would equate to reclaiming some part of the 'old normal' - our common humanity, mutual trust and a willing kindness. By this view, piecemeal, programmatic reform - layering specific initiatives and isolated
pilots over a failing system - means more waiting for trouble, more belated reaction and - ultimately and inevitably - more failure.
A 'better government', on the other hand, would understand the scale of the challenge to our services and the importance of bold, whole-system reform. It would structure its narrative around shared values and align its vision with 'the deep-set rhythms of our daily lives', making readiness - not the more negative resilience - its primary goal. This better government would prevent the preventable and champion relationships as the organising principle at the heart of all Britain's public services.