The politics of excellence

Posted on May 1st, by editor in Caring Times. No Comments

When I first read Tom Peters’ and Robert Waterman’s In Search of Excellence in the ’80s, I was excited by their ideas of excellence in management – “When we have a problem here we grab ten senior guys and stick them in a room together for a week. They come up with an answer and implement it” is a good example of the approaches being promoted by the book. I was a researcher for social services at the time and such concepts were never going to catch on when “Let’s set up a working party and write a report” was more the order of the day. Why is it then that a quarter of a century later the delivery of excellent care is less likely to be delivered? The answer lies in the National Minimum Standards, NMS, and the manner in which they are enforced. In the 1960s and ’70s most “care” was delivered by the public (local authority) and voluntary sectors, and a close liaison was maintained between the worlds of academia and the actual delivery of care. This enabled social work practitioners to deve

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