The 'Little Heresies' seminars provide an important public platform to debate the future of public services.
This book takes its title from the first seminar, 'Kittens are Evil', suggesting that what appear to be well-intentioned policies not only create perverse incentives but also lasting damage to the social fabric.
Public services' management practices, underpinned by neoliberal thinking, were imposed by Margaret Thatcher.
Successive governments continue to be duped into believing, against plenty of evidence to the contrary, that New Public Management, as it is now called, works; it work much better if people tried harder to become more machine-like, and to make more of an effort to eat less, exercise more, to stop getting older, to be more enterprising, to tick the right boxes, to remember their unique customer reference number, be digital by default and, frankly, become more service-shaped.
The pros and cons of New Public Management are already well-documented in the academic sector. In this first publication from the Little Heresies series, eight heretics, all leading thinkers and practitioners in their professional fields, explain the effects of neoliberal thinking across a wide range of services; of marketisation, target and league tables, of family interventions, designer-babies, and ineffective management practices designed by Whitehall.