towards agile government
This report is a joint publication produced by Simon Parker, Head of Public Services, and Jamie Bartlett, Researcher, Demos, together with the State Services Authority.
Demos fosters political participation by focusing on the way that personal experiences interact with impersonal, national and global forces. Working withboth formal and informal institutions, small and large organisations, our aim is to help citizens and politicians interact in effective, creative and meaningful ways in order to create progressive social change. By consistently highlighting emerging sites of power and politics, we turn complex issues into intelligible and practical choices and make proposals that are imaginative, just andempowering. Contact us at: Demos Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +44 845 458 5949 Fax: 020 7367 4201 Postal address: Third Floor Magdalen House 136 Tooley Street London SE1 2TU United Kingdom Web address: www.demos.co.uk
About the State Services Authority
The State Government of Victoria has vested the State Services Authority with functions designed to foster the development of an efficient,integrated and responsive public sector which is highly ethical, accountable and professional in the ways it delivers services to the Victorian community. The key functions of the Authority are to: • identify opportunities to improve the delivery and integration of government services and report on service delivery outcomes and standards; • promote high standards of integrity and conduct in thepublic sector; • strengthen the professionalism and adaptability of the public sector; and • promote high standards of governance, accountability and performance for public entities. The Authority seeks to achieve its charter by working closely and collaboratively with Victorian public sector departments and agencies. Contact us at: State Services Authority Email: email@example.com Phone: +613 9651 1321 Fax: +61 3 9651 0747 Postal Address: 3 Treasury Place Melbourne Victoria 3002 Australia Web address: www.ssa.vic.gov.au
© 2008 State Government of Victoria and Demos
table of contents
about this report 1. introduction 2. new reform imperatives 3. what is agile government? 4. the agility cycle 5. agility in practice 6. what constrains agility? 7. towards agile government 8.conclusion appendix A project participants appendix B references
ii 1 3 5 9 13 19 21 27 28 33
towards agile government i
about this report
In 2006, the State Services Authority released a report on The Future of the Public Sector in 2025. The report identified seven future issues and challenges for the public sector. One of these was fostering agility to support a high performing publicsector. The uncertainty that the future holds means that the public sector cannot predict many of the challenges that it will confront. As such, the public sector requires agility in its systems and structures to respond to future issues. This report is the culmination of a collaboration between Demos and the State Services Authority which set out to explore the idea of agile government in moredepth. The project was launched at a seminar in June 2007 held in Demos’ offices in London. The purpose of the seminar was to test early thinking about what agile government might mean. In September 2007, Demos and the State Services Authority then released a provocation paper to generate ideas and provoke debate about what agility means and how it could be applied to government. The paper outlined apreliminary definition of agility and explored its capabilities and challenges for government. In October 2007, Demos researchers spent two weeks in Victoria, Australia to conduct seminars, workshops, and case study interviews. The purpose of the research visit was to: • test the ideas outlined in the agile government provocation paper • develop a deeper understanding of agility and ground...