Not in total agreement

18 Sep 09
John Atkinson from the Local Government Association’s Leadership Centre and national lead for Total Place thinks the scheme is here to stay

John Atkinson from the Local Government Association’s Leadership Centre and national lead for Total Place thinks the scheme is here to stay. My conversations with policy makers tell a different story.

Total Place is an initiative; a last-ditch attempt to do something that works in public sector reform.  Both the Tories and Liberal Democrats want to avoid the initiative-itis that has characterised the New Labour administration. And both have promised a move away from the pernicious command-and-control thinking that runs through it.

The core principles of the Total Place programme are plausible to those who believe that to improve services and reduce waste you first have to count costs. Counting costs – the core principle – has the weakness of knowing the cost of everything but the value of nothing.

Atkinson is confident that Total Place will not fall victim to a government change. My reading is that the new government is unlikely to adopt Total Place, especially as it will have been shown to have no useful method by the next election.

John Seddon
Vanguard Consulting
Buckingham

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