Systems thinking in the public sector

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Much of what we complain is being forced onto voluntary organisations by local and central Government derives from ineffective and outdated management styles and theories – targets, performance management, quality assurance, benchmarking, regulation and the rest of it. These styles and techniques make services worse not better, build in unnecessary costs and make it harder for voluntary agencies to take their cues from their users and communities.

John Seddon is a private sector consultant who is trying to introduce ‘systems thinking’ into the public sector, in an attempt to lift the burden of this tick-box approach and substitute new thinking that starts and finishes with the demands and experiences of service users.

You can get some insight into John’s thinking and the work that he and his colleagues have been doing in the public sector by checking out the Systems Thinking Review website here:

More information is also available from the company’s main website –

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