Friday, 19 July 2013

The Reform Of Our Institutions Won't Come From The Top

It's been a difficult month to finish this post. Every day another dollop of decrepitude is revealed amongst our rotting institutions. Systemic slaughter in the NHS. The convenient collapse of a major police corruption trial through 'missing' evidence. Police concealing the misuse of private investigators and spying on victim's families for the chance to undermine public sympathy. Sunlight on vast pay-offs to the departing management of the Savile-stricken BBC. The lengths to which the unions will go to control the Labour Party and use it to enshrine their own power. The Church of England deciding to turn money lender. And, surprise, surprise yet another massive bank fine...because, yes, any bank that relies on a public guarantee of its liabilities and massive tax subsidies through ISAs and so on should regard itself as a public institution.

It's a core theme of this blog to contrast the decline of faith in institutions that have evolved to suit themselves at our expense, with the rise of facilitators who exist to help us solve problems more effectively for ourselves.

Our institutions won't align with the interests of the those who rely on their services while they suppress evidence of their ineptitude, or while trustees and management quibble over their extent of their responsibilities, or while politicians spend their time blaming each other for the mess. These are sure signs that our institutions are stuck in denial and that the MPs and Ministers whose job it is to supervise them are stuck in their own cycle of blame.

Until our institutions understand and accept the need to align with the consumers of their services, rather than the desires of their pompous managers, they will not evolve into efficient, facilitative organisations worthy of our trust and respect.

But I don't believe that our so-called political leaders or the managers of our institutions have either the self-awareness or the skills needed to achieve this evolution. They are merely products of 'the system' that so desparately needs to evolve.

Sustainable reform will only come come from the grassroots rather than the top down. It will only come when each of us takes personal responsibility for turning things around, whether by exposing institutional failings or genuinely working to solve other people's problems rather than merely our own. 

In other words, both the problem and the solution are in our hands.

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