The HIPSS Manifesto for Public Sector Services

This manifesto is based on the premise that public sector services belong to us, we the taxpaying public own them. We collectively pay for them and they exist for our benefit. Therefore, we can legitimately and should, expect them to make every effort to understand our needs, to make us the focus of their activity, to act with courage in our best interests, to display honesty, integrity, openness and transparency in all their dealings and behave in ways that reflect our collective humanity. We want...  

To create cultures of trust in public sector services by making honesty and integrity expected behaviours. This will reduce harm, save lives and create more compassionate trusting workplaces. Minimising the amount of valueless regulatory and legal activity will also make services more effective and efficient by ensuring scarce resources are used to best effect. This will benefit the users of services, the people working in them, and the public purse.

To make the scale of the problem and its impact much more visible. Poor cultures in the NHS alone cause untold harm and cost over ten thousand avoidable deaths a year, that's two Hillsborough tragedies each week. The emotional cost in terms of lives lost, harm and hurt caused, families and futures shattered, is immeasurable. The financial cost is staggering. Our NHS paid out £2.4 Billion in 2018 and faces future liabilities of approx. £80 Billion (that's billions with a B).

To develop robust accessible knowledge that increases our understanding of this issue. Improvement begins with understanding, we must be open to the gaps in our knowledge about what drives poor behaviour in public sector services. We will collaborate to develop insights and highlight the impact, in all its forms, personal and financial, of poorly focused cultures, unintended actions, ethical fading, and wilful-blindness.      

To develop a collective understanding that when bad things happen in our public services, it is seldom due to the deliberate acts of people with bad intent. Many working in public sector services are often unaware of the impact an action, or inaction may have, or that there is even an ethical dimension to a decision or situation they are involved in. Decent people can unwittingly and inadvertently end up doing incredibly shitty things.

To be a place that recognises, celebrates and champions the courage of those who challenge the status quo in all our interests, those who speak truth to power, who call it out when they see something wrong, and who stand up when they are told to sit in silence. To stand with and acknowledge the fear of those who feel isolated and alone, and reinforce the internal compasses of those who need support, to rekindle and refresh their sense of purpose.   

To establish forgiveness and learning, alongside accountability, as essential parts of our relationship with public sector services. Our increased expectations of them and their willingness to be held accountable and transparent in their dealings with us must contain room for mistakes, well-intentioned errors, and lapses of judgement. We are human and bad things inevitably happen, its how they are dealt with that defines us.

Things change and so this manifesto will remain a work in progress. You are always welcome to comment on and contribute your suggestions for inclusion...  


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