Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Strategies for government departments

I've recently been developing the strategy for my own company, so I was interested to see this article by Paul  Mason about the strategy for the UK armed forces.
...three potential military strategies under consideration by the Coalition government...The "Adaptible Britain" scenario sees the UK retain the ability to respond to "generic threats" - retaining an army, airforce and deepwater navy, through conventional warfare. "Vigilant Britain" was code for retaining the big stick of nuclear weapons and a large Navy but with an army capable of only an "occasional foray". "Committed Britain" was code for a focus on power-projection, Afghanistan style.
Interesting. But what I found particularly thought-provoking was the following line:
To be able to ask yourself "what kind of country do we want to be in the world" is a nice choice to have: many countries don't have that choice.
And notably, neither do many government departments.

Imagine that the Department for Work and Pensions - or the Department of Health - or the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - were to ask itself: What kind of department do we want to be? What is the vision for work and pensions in Britain that we are trying to bring about, and what resources do we need to do that?

It's quite a clever tactic for the Ministry of Defence to say "we simply can't execute the Adaptible Britain strategy while making 20% cuts". But what if DEFRA could say the same?

It would make the choices posed by planned spending cuts a lot more visible. And it would create the space for a really interesting debate between proponents of different public service strategies.

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