The above is a link to the CHRE (council for health regulatory excellence – or somesuch appalling quangoese). I’ve read the full report and can confirm the Telegraph writer gets the gist. It’s worth a look if you missed it. Fundamentally, it’s an enquiry into the IPCC equivalent for social workers and showed this organisation was a complete mess and covering up major incompetence and scandal. This is a widely held view on the IPCC itself, but their CEO and Chair are in active denial and are using silly IPSOS Mori polling of society in general to hide their failings. The CHRE is a dismal GUANGO (no typo, it sounds more like guano), but the report shows what can be done with a little straightforward enquiry. They actually asked people involved for their views and looked at some of the horror cases that emerged without the kind of hostile prejudice cops show when confronted by old ladies they have let down.
We could revise the methods used by using new technology and get good work done across the public sector. The basic idea is simple – ask the right people and protect whistle-blowers. New technology would allow us to talk directly to complainants (say Google Talk) and get surveys done very cheaply using ‘spankout a survey’ technology (more than this, we can follow up to find out what respondents really meant). The results could easily be available for genuine public criticism on a website.
I’m only talking in outline here, but the great advantages involve cutting costs and cutting out the expert bias of guns hired by authorities interested only in protecting their own interests. I could set up a working model very cheaply. Universities are already doing work like this.
There are issues about protecting anonymity on all sides, but these can be handled. Such a system immediately confronts managerial and political interests and this is probably the only reason it’s not in widespread use. There’s a business opportunity here too, though this runs up against existing interests too.
My guess is it would take about five to ten pages to detail how to go about it all. In principle, we could change the way we go about public sector decision making, and the legal and political systems too. The move is towards a real open society and, of course, confronts the enemies of such.
The Telegraph report shows what can be found out and established, though we could go much further.
The key issues for me concern public choice theory – roughly a means to bring the ‘private’ interests of decision-makers into line with public interests. There is no need, in the first place to get very technical.