The four police forces which have rejected Whitehall targets are just the beginning. There is a revolution about to begin in the way our public services are run – and some more questions.
Once they have discovered that targets are like the Emperor’s New Clothes – you just say no and they disappear – then there is a question about exactly who quangos and public services are accountable to, and how.
With that proviso, the most exciting aspect of this change is that the police forces have grasped that the way to deal with distorting targets is not to reform them, loosen them or water them down. It is to recruit the kind of staff who can take initiative and responsibility, build local relationships, and then manage them face to face.
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