Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Failures in Public Administration

This post outlines the second change in my approach to writing including blogging that I discussed in Saturday Morning Musings - a change in writing direction.

Over recent years I have written a fair bit about what I see as problems in current Australian public policy and administration. The problem in all these words is that it can be hard to see the pattern.

As an experiment, I have decided to devote Management Perspectives for the next month to a detailed outline of what I see as the reasons for systemic failure using multiple case studies drawn especially from my own posts to make my points. I can then address possible solutions.

I do so with a degree of hesitation. I am a management professional, but I sometimes feel very remote from current thought. I have to accept that I may simply be out of touch, although I do not believe this.

In some ways I am treating the series like a court case or possibly an official inquiry. My job is to present the evidence, summing up every so often. The reader's job is to come to a judgement.

The series will be non-party political, purely professional, although I cannot divorce my own values from the argument.

Take, as an example, some of my arguments on the refugee issue and on associated questions linked to the war on terror.

The thing that swung me on this issue was the growing evidence of in-justice and the acceptance by so many Australians of that injustice. My concern here was not the detail of argument about refugee policy, but the growing evidence of systemic failure that finally revealed hundreds of cases of failure of due process. I believe that this is simply unacceptable.

There will be a fair bit of repetition in the posts simply because the same issues recur. I stand to be corrected, readers must be the judge, but there have been just so many failures in recent years.

Finally, this series is dedicated first to my former staff who joined with me in our attempt to reshape elements of the system and to all the public servants who still struggle to make a difference despite an increasingly infertile environment.

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