Transformation – Do we know what we’re doing?
In an excellent piece on Transformational Government Glyn Evans, Assistant to the Chief Executive (transformation) Birmingham City Council, rightly questions the phrase “Transformational Government“.
He points out that it may mean in practice the sort of incremental change that happens anyway, which few outside government will notice – and if they do it’s probably because something has gone wrong.
Much good work based on IT has continued, largely unpublicised, in local government, with a few dishonourable exceptions, Haringey council for example, and the general improvements should be commended. But it’s not transformational government. The phrase suggests a culture change, something radically different. Being able to get a tax disc online or view a householder’s history of planning applications on a council website is a big step forward. It is not transformational government.
A genuine transformation would be setting up new council care homes on the basis of savings, or efficiencies that are so pervasive they lead to a reduction in the annual council tax bills. That’s transformational government.