Australia Needs to be More Citizen-Centric
27 March 2012 at 3:14 pm
Australia is lagging behind in the co-design and co-production space between government and the Not for Profit sectors, a conference has been told.
Not for Profit leader, Elaine Henry, who is the chair of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth and the former CEO of the Smith Family says internationally the pendulum has swung from public sector to private enterprise, but it is now coming to rest on citizens.
Henry was speaking at “The Co-Design for Citizen-Centric Service Delivery Conference” in Melbourne being attended by senior Commonwealth, State and Local Government representatives as well as academics and leaders in the Not for Profit sector.
Organisers of the Conference say Government and the Not for Profit sector are increasingly recognising the benefits of co-design and co-production, but the question now is not whether to pursue co-design and co-production, but how to do this most effectively.
Co-design and co-production can be defined as a systematic approach to understanding citizens and working with them to design, shape and deliver better policies and services.
Organisers say it’s not only about being ‘citizen-centric’ but about partnering with communities to ensure policies and services deliver desired outcomes.
They say the benefits of this approach are clear but it can be challenging, particularly because it is a significant departure from the way policies and services are traditionally designed and delivered.
Elaine Henry told the conference that she sees co-design as part of the co-production process.
She says that peoples' needs are better met if they are part of the process of designing and producing services.
“You must give as well as get. Co-production is about this process, allowing service recipients to contribute, not treating them as 'costs'.”
Elaine used the example of a group of women who, 30 years ago, wanted to share their experience with breast cancer with women just diagnosed to help them. They had to get the permission of doctors to talk to patients.
She says that now it is a self-organising network, where every woman can connect to others without having to 'ask permission' of an authority figure.