Policies need Confidence

All organisations need policy. How confident are they that policy (aka strategy) will be followed and that the desired outcomes will be achieved? Because policies are always top-down, confidence in success exudes from the top; but apathy, indifference and scepticism is the normal response from the bottom. Let’s see how Confidence Management could lead to more realistic expectations and implementations.

Here is an example     from a membership organisation of  managers working in the information domain. They have been developed, top-down:

Three core principles 

  • Collaborate, share and re-use assets
  • Redesign services to simplify, standardise and automate
  • Innovate to empower citizens and communities

Six strategic capabilities

  1. Leadership from CIOs
  2.  Governance
  3. Organisational change
  4. Strategic commissioning and supplier management  
  5. Shared services
  6.  Professionalism

Six key issues around information and technology

  1. Information governance
  2. Information management, assurance and transparency
  3. Digital access and inclusion
  4. Local public services infrastructure
  5. Business change
  6. Central government services have been integrated with local public services delivery.

The document had a successful launch.   Stage 1, on time and on budget.   Stage2 is for the individual members to plan implementing these policies (aka strategies) back in their own organisations.    Stage 3 is to convert those plans into changed practices throughout the UK.

The Confidence Management Process  converts the lists above into fifteen questions in relation to how confident each interviewee is about the progress that  will be achieved within  5 years, by 2016.

How confident, on a scale of 0% to 100%, are you that the following targets will  be achieved?

  1. The organisation and partners have  collaborated, shared and re-used information assets  with pooled budgets and staff for all services.
  2. All services have been redesigned to simplify,  standardise and automate business processes.
  3. Citizens and communities have been empowered by innovative methods in every service area.
  4. CIOs have demonstrated leadership and delivered more efficient and fairer public service outcomes, demonstrated by KPIs.
  5. ICT Governance processes have been managed by a Programme Office,   administering a portfolio of business change programmes and projects  with strong change and risk management.
  6. Outcome-focused organisational change methods have been employed successfully in all services.
  7. Strategic commissioning and supplier management has proved to be more effective and reduced costs by at least 25% with better service provision.
  8. Shared services have been operated 25% more efficiently  by     partnership arrangements.
  9. ICT Staff have been assessed under SFIA framework and improved their level of skills to  operate as  a certified professional.
  10. An information governance framework has been implemented and best practice is being followed.
  11. Standard information management, assurance and transparency processes have been instituted that control data throughout the lifecycle – providing a single version of the truth.
  12. Multi-channel digital access has extended to  80% of service transactions, with special provision for digitally excluded citizens.
  13. The infrastructure has employed the Public Sector Network for Cloud services, shared data centres and shared application.
  14. Business change projects have delivered measurable outcomes and benefits across organisational boundaries.
  15.    All central government departments have closely integrated ICT systems     for local public services delivery, eg Education, Health, Justice, DWP  and HMRC.

This would enable a bottom-up, and middle-out, perspective of the policy. It should help to identify the critical success factors (CSFs). In the end it is the foot soldiers who have to implement policy. They are likely to recognise similar initiatives from many years earlier, and carry on with business as usual. Leadership must focus on CSFs or lose the opportunity for another five years. Hard times calls for tough decisions.

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