“We don’t measure our success by results but by activity,” is an old joke from Yes, Minister. For much of the bureaucracy in Ireland it’s true today as it was in the 1980’s, with endless hierarchies of managers and paperwork, committees and working groups and studies in place of actual work to produce actual results.
Old Politics Failure
During the good years politicians expanded the bureaucracy but results in many cases got worse. In the bad times they have been cutting without any thought to how best to maintain service levels in critical areas like health, education and policing. They have been unwilling or unable to show backbone in dealing with the vested interests in the bureaucracy to secure results for citizens.
Aaron’s plan is to transform the way government approaches its job. When you pay for a health care system you pay for nurses, doctors and hospitals; not for endless middle management and paperwork. The internal naval gazing will be done away with permanently by reforming the system and creating an elected post with sweeping powers to end waste and refocus minds.
Results Orientated Government
- Wipe out management and paperwork in favour of enabling frontline staff on the coalface
- Reward staff for meeting tangible goals of service delivery, punish those who fail
- Every initiative that has a glitzy press conference launch must also have a glitzy finish outlining what was promised versus what was delivered, why and who was responsible
- Create an elected office with powers to audit government activities and weed out inefficiencies, giving the people a counterpoint to keep government parties honest