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Ideas are Easy, Delivery is Difficult

Policies for red tape reduction are a recurring feature of public policy. As is their failure.

Across Australia, Canada, the UK and Western Europe methods for reducing regulatory burden have improved. Most governments in Australia have models and policies in place that are based on The Netherlands’ innovations of the past decade.

The real issue is Execution. That’s where we help.

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Getting Structure Right

Building organizational structures to support red tape reduction requires as a minimum:

  • solid red tape KPIs in Executive Contracts and Performance Agreements
  • cascading KPIs in all individual Work and Development Plans, and induction programs in the organization
  • awareness of and response to KPI gaming
  • integration with Business Planning/Strategy and reporting
  • integration with policy development beyond compliance with Regulatory Impact Statements
  • integration with project management structures (PMO if present)
  • easy red tape feedback processes from the public, from stakeholders and from internal parties.

There are several resources that describe good structures without addressing execution. For example, the UK Regulators’ Code┬áhas 28 very useful points.

Building those structures and their supporting processes is our bread-and-butter.

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Getting Execution Right

Like innovation, red tape reform is only meaningful when it is executed. Design, measurement, and incentive and reporting structures are necessary but not sufficient for success. What’s needed is culture, skills and behaviour that support execution.

This is an identified need in many public sector organizations.

This is where we focus – on the difficult detail where real differences are made. Where you:

  • have to ask hard questions to get things done
  • need process, project, policy and change management skills
  • need to build supervisor and managerial skills, and the courage to match.

See Execution Issues for Red Tape Reduction for the sort of details that count when you’re trying to reduce red tape and regulatory burden.

Execution Issues for Red Tape Reduction

We want red tape reduction and efficiency programs to work. In our experience, where they don’t it’s because of execution failure.

These are a few of the issues we’ve addressed and resolved in our projects.

Real red tape reduction requires facing the ugly truth

Issue To get it done Issue To get it done
It’s not just how, but if Hard questions on whether we should be regulating at all Personnel is policy Right people, right role, with the right attitude to red tape.
Building supporting processes Deliver skills for lean, flexible, accountable design Make it personal No committees. Clear personal responsibility with the resources to do the job – otherwise it’s just bullying.
Know your processes End2End Map it, review it, trim it, automate it. No reduction without knowledge Beware gaming Never trust the numbers. Audit and real-world feedback. Learn from the UK. Break the save-headcount game.
Link to efficiencies Data-driven, faster, lighter, cheaper process with useful metrics IT delivery Higher expectations, upskill, outsource.
Respect unintended consequences Hard questions on red tape policy that retains red tape Project management Higher expectations, upskill and managerial courage to be a hard nut. Allocate resources. PMO where useful
Supervision & performance mgt Higher expectations, upskill, managerial courage and real Exec support Behaviour impact Hard questions on real impact of notional $ savings
Take change mgt seriously Use professionals. Innovative, non-bureaucratic communication & training Benefits realization Make sure IT & process change is worthwhile. Review, force through to utilize fully
Only some carry the can Recognize and support the minority who do the most, sanction those who coast Political process Hold Ministerial Offices accountable for creating red tape by instruction
Beware Stakeholder capture Large insiders can accept red tape to dissuade new entrants Engage small business Engage innovative prospective new entrants dissuaded by existing red tape