Fit for purpose (and cuts)

13 Apr 2011 by Karl Hallam

Anyone who bares the scars of filling in a local authority PQQ will have some inkling as to why things go wrong. The term 'fit for purpose' is the one that always create tension here in Cadence HQ (shared office space Spaceworks in Sheffield).

It is one of those little phrases that attracts us all, as it is neat and sounds sensible and who would not want to provide services that are FFP? Its the same with innovative and sustainability and hard working families; who would admit to not want to be it, achieve that and help them?

The issue for us is that something can only be FFP if the puropse is clear. In the previous decade a certain degree of wooliness has been tolerated, but the cuts are changing that. Just the other day we were looking at some work around third sector commissioning and the FFP thing had been dropped in and yet there was no real laying out of the purpose of the work or to put it another way - WHY?

The why of things is a bit of an obsession here, but if you don't know why someone wants to do something it is hard to suggest the best/most efficient solution. This lack of a why, or perhaps lack of belief in the stated why might explain some of the problems the government is facing at the moment. The moves to GP commissioning may well be a cunning way of delivering on reducing cuts and localism, but too many stakeholders obviously doubt that and suspect other motives. Some, for example, think it is a move to make the NHS more FF the purpose of getting more private sector involvement. But, that's not the topic of this little post. The thing it does mean is that third sector organisations have got to get very hot on why they do what they do and therefore are they getting anywhere with it. When the new Councillors sit down in may and wonder if they would have been better off losing, rather than having to implement some awfully hopeful budgets, they will be making great use of FFP - beware or better still be prepared.

Contact us if you want to chat to us about our ideas in this area.

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