Always interesting to read the piece by Verona Burgess in Friday’s Australian Financial Review. Today’s article was the insights from an interview with Peter Shergold, the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
He mentioned that two of the public sector’s biggest challenges will be systemic. The bulk of the article is devoted to embedding the whole of government approach to public administration in middle management and in departmental financial arrangements. This would increase the focus on citizen-centred service delivery, moving away from strict equitability towards greater tailoring and moving to pooling arrangements for funding allocations. Interesting stuff and one could possibly expect to see that in state public sectors as well in due course.
The second systemic issues is that of devising better ways to manage the information explosion. I have canvassed that previously, coining the term infoluenza to describe the unsustainable addiction to incorporating more and more information. (As an aside, a simple google search on this term now lists a huge variety of sites.) Shergold comments that we need to improve how to filter all this information, how to turn the information into knowledge and how to identify potential issues for crisis management. Good environmental scanning and issues management are two ways to help do this by discerning the weak signals from the noise and for dealing with important topical issues as they arise.