Policy Press

Implementing holistic government

Joined-up action on the ground

By David Wilkinson and Elaine Appelbee


Feb 17, 1999

Page count

180 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
Implementing holistic government

This important and timely report addresses the critical issues of implementation of the newly emerging and long-term public service agenda. The authors draw upon a unique range of research, practice and theory from the fields of community development, regeneration projects, public and private sector management and organisation development, as well as public and social policy.

The authors identify six key issues to be addressed:

developing evidence-based approaches to change - using the research;

recovering from addiction to failing ways of working;

taking community involvement seriously;

getting beyond zero-sum power games and establishing trust;

'Best Value': the making or breaking of holistic government and joined-up action;

real change takes time.

Implementing holistic government describes what needs to happen to move beyond the policy and management rhetoric of partnership and consultation to real joined-up action on the ground. Central to this is the creation of empowered front-line professional teams working in partnership with local communities for sustainable quality of life improvement as experienced by local people.

The report concludes with policy recommendations, giving clear direction and support to the translation of rhetoric to reality on the ground.

"This is a remarkable book - powerful, insightful and practical. If we follow the advice offered ... we will be closer to making a reality of joined-up action on the ground." Ken Jarrold, CBE, County Durham Health Authority

"After all the rhetoric here is a real breakthrough in how to reconnect local government and its partner agencies with citizens and communities." Nicky Gavron, Local Government Association Planning Committee

"Makes a valuable contribution to the discussion about holistic government and how it can be developed at local level." Judith Hunt

"Whitehall and town hall policy makers should read this book." Sue Richards

David Wilkinson is a partner in the consultancy network, Whole System Development and is based in Keighley, West Yorkshire

Elaine Appelbee is the Bishop of Bradford’s Officer for church in society

Contents: Setting the context; The functional inheritance and its consequences; The public service, community interface; Change that works - sustaining community and quality of life improvement; Change that works - sustaining organisational and whole system change; Developing the middle ground: where bottom-up meets top-down (a third way for local governance?); Improving sustainable quality of life: the benchmark for Best Value; Joined-up action on the ground: six key issues that have to be addressed; Working in the middle ground: recommendations to promote joined-up action on the ground.

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