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improve services delivery, it actually has an effect on costs.” (Business group)

Comparisons with the private sector

41. In the four comparison groups that we ran, we asked participants their views on what government could to do enable itself to become more comparative:

  • o

    Proper financial planning using business cases: “ . . . most public sector organisations haven’t bench-marked where they are now. Therefore, they cannot show that they have benefited from change. They have no base line. Whereas that is second nature in retail or a law firm.” (Business group)

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      More staff involvement in innovative projects: “We’ve implemented a new system, we’ve got store staff buy-in. We’ve spent a significant amount of time and money actually engaging them and it works. It is all about everyone sharing ownership.” (Business group)

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      More end user or customer involvement in innovative projects: “You could adapt [collecting customer opinions] to the public sector. You have to be more aggressive about measuring customer satisfaction. You could generate, I mean the profit/loss [driver] isn’t going to work, but there ways of generating similar pressures.” (Business

o

group) “ . . . innovation in the market place is created

. . . out of ruthless

eye for standardisation. Take an example from government, which goes to the heart of how government funding decisions are made. Because if you ask how can you distribute your budget . . . on things that are essentially to do with delivering the government agenda policy versus fixing up the fabric of the department, the ability of the department to respond to change over time, then my guess is that they will be won-over. The problem with that is that every time you need to deliver policy you can only deliver it using components that are incremental, because the fabric of the department is never fixed up. . . Tax Credits for example, every aspect of this project was hand-crafted from the ground-up. New call centres, brand new this, that and the other.” (IT Practitioners group)

Conclusions

42. Overall in all seven groups, the discussion was wide ranging. The civil service groups seemed anxious to dispel some of the myths of civil service personnel being risk averse and slow to innovate. All three groups felt that the service was changing in this regard, that examples of good practice were becoming more widespread. This was also backed up by the four comparative groups. This is changing the focus of innovation in government organisations:

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    “That is certainly what we have been focused on and we are entirely driven by, in terms of innovation, what our customers want from us and how we can improve our services with their needs.” (Senior civil servants group)

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