Less is more
by Matthew Horne
Demos have published a report on how government can achieve cost savings and efficiencies in public services.
Their argument is that governent should focus on effectiveness (doing better more effective things) and in the long run efficiencies will come.
I am not convinced of their argument for 2 reasons: government has been following an effectiveness and improvement paradigm for 12 years and it has not generated significant savings or increasing productivity; and secondly fixating on effectiveness does not give us a theory of change.
The argument in education that school effectiveness research told us very little about what we should do to improve schools is well known.
Similarly, the instruction to do what is effective in public services is not that helpful. How do we create effective services, and create a system that continuously develops new models of effective practice. Innovation comprises both concepts of efficacy and outcomes and a theory of change.