…Asset Based Community Development is widely viewed as one of the key solutions to fixing an increasingly strained and creaking Public Sector; enabling communities to do things for themselves will take pressure off the Public Purse. And there appears to be a great deal of truth in this…after all, how many times have we all heard of the Public Sector actually getting in the way of progress rather than enabling it? (please don’t send examples, my inbox isn’t that big)
But before the Public Sector raises the flag and heads-off on its never-ending and sometimes self-perpetuating crusade to fix and solve everything, it should look in the mirror and start with its own form of ABCD; Asset Based Company Development…the Public Sector needs to start to address its woeful track-record of developing its own people. If I had a fiver for every time a highly paid gaggle of consultants have been hired by the Public Sector to “bring insight” to a situation which Public Sector staff have already known more about than any consultant ever could, I would be a very wealthy man. Yes, I understand that consultants can often add value, but the amount of money the Public Sector spends on consultancy as it reinvents the simplest of wheels, is beyond reason.
It seems to me that one of the key reasons the Public Sector fails to learn from its own people is the perennial issue of hierarchy…you simply can’t be taken seriously if you are not of the right grade or title; I clearly recall a former Public Sector manager of mine telling me not to worry too much if I wasn’t being listened to, as they had been in post for eight years before they were taken seriously. What a waste of talent and knowledge, and what a waste of tax-payers money.
I’ve been lucky, I’ve not always worked in the Public Sector and I’ve had some great managers who have invested in me and then watched as the organisation has benefit from their investment decisions. The message for the Public Sector is clear, if you preach Asset Based Community Development as a way of working externally, then you should at least try to practice it internally…