Overview of the event
Professor John Seddon is an occupational psychologist, and visiting Professor at the University of Cardiff, with extensive experience of working in the private and public sectors. He is a trenchant critic of management fads and of the thinking which currently drives many public sector organisations. Professor Seddon’s work with organisations shows that many of the assumptions underpinning modern management practice – the importance of targets, specifications, incentives, inspection, shared back office functions – do not result in enhanced services. Indeed counter-intuitive though it may seem, command and control management of this type is wasteful and time-consuming and leads to reduced efficiency and service and lowers staff morale.
In this event Professor Seddon outlined his experience of working in modern public sector organisations in the UK and how the thinking behind a lot of current practices is fatally flawed. He will also outlined alternative practices.
Glasgow Housing Association have been using John Seddon as a consultant to help them improve their service to tenants. Taroub Zahran, GHA’s Chief Executive outlined what this has meant for them and what she sees as the benefits of this approach. She will also outlined her vision for how this approach could be used across other services in the city and beyond.
Following a question and answer session for participants, there will was an opportunity for a panel drawn from across various public sector areas – education, health, police and social services – to put questions to Professor Seddon.
The final speaker of the day was Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, who talked about the implications of these ideas for his own area of work and more broadly what the benefits for Scotland could be in embracing some of Professor Seddon’s ideas.
Zoe Van Zwanenberg, former Chief Executive of the Scottish Leadership Foundation and current Project Co-ordinator at the Centre, chaired the event.