Have you asked yourself “What is the point?”

Many times over the last 3 months I’ve asked myself  – What is the point – I mean really what is the point to what we do?

Prompted by a number of things going on in my work life, outside work life, blog posts, research and a range of other external factors – I seem to be focusing on the underlying issue of Value. I’ve also started to apply this to myself in a self evaluative way to ensure that should the situation arise and my employment be terminated I know for sure what my value is and even who would benefit the most from it.

I won’t go into the details of all the contributing factors but lets just say that the current economic situation is also a major driver in why I am looking at this – personally and professionally.

So the issue of Value is an interesting one in Local Government and the wider Public Sector right now, as many councils embark or are embarking on consultation exercises to find out what the general public think about services and what is important to them.  We will get many perspectives on value and what is important and people will ask many times throughout the next few months “What is the point of that service?”.

When that question is asked  – do we really know what the point is? I mean over and above the set of indicators we are or even used to be measured by? or the numbers of people who use the service? I’m sure most service managers will be very aware of the outcomes they are trying to deliver and what objectives drive there work. But can they answer the simple question – What value do they offer?

For me once we get to the answer we can start to have conversations about who is best placed and has the capabilities to deliver that value – I think Big Society is sort of focusing in this area but isn’t looking at the right thing in my humble opinion.

If we get to a point where a community agrees to the value of a particular service and understands what capabilities are required to deliver that value then we can consider options for delivery. Lets just suggest for a moment that “Private Business” has the right capabilities to deliver a particular service, but the values are compromised due to the type of business. We have a number of further options to consider at this point:

  1. Do we compromise the value created and go for the Private Business based on its ability to meet the capabilities – we would end up asking ourselves even more “What is the point”
  2. Do we suggest that the Private Business changes it business model to deliver social objectives  we actually refocus the organisation and become a Social Enterprise.
  3. In Big Society Style – Do we create our own organisation with the right capabilities and the right values – set up a Social Enterprise.

So when it comes to asking “what is the point?” ask yourself instead – What value is being created here and am I best placed to create it.

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