Public service operating principles

Noreen Blanluet

Last month I drafted a table contrasting the traditional command-and-control approach to public services with the co-production / involvement / citizen-centred approach. Then I put it out on twitter to see what people thought of it. It wasn’t bad but there were a few things I wasn’t 100% about, particularly the “oldskool” label (but at that point I wasn’t clear how else to describe it).

It was this, fyi:

The feedback and responses surpassed my hopes and expectations and the conversations that resulted really helped me develop my thinking. I have now arrived at a more exhaustive v2, that includes more aspects with more clarity.

The standout lightbulb moment was that “oldskool” made the left hand column feel passé, out of date, and not to be used any more. I unconsciously used terms that made it look bad and like it should be abandoned in favour of co-production. I’m pleased to present an updated version where these two sets of principles are alternatives to each other, not “bad” and “good”. The left hand approach is useful in some contexts, but shouldn’t be applied as a blanket approach (which is what has tended to happen); and the right hand column is fantastic and inclusive and innovative, but not suitable for everything. Sometimes you call in the experts, sometimes you gather the people. The key thing is to know when to use which.

Version 2 is below, and I am still open to feedback and development that will lead to version 3.

The pdf is available to download at

Noreen Blanluet

Written by

Director, Co-production Network for Wales. Public services are evolving, let's do good together. I’m interested in complexity, empathy, and related things.

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