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‘We know New Public Management fails but what else can we do?’ – Toby Lowe and Gary Wallace

Is there a better way than management by targets? Toby Lowe and Gary Wallace share the pioneering Human Learning Systems approach of Plymouth’s Health & Care system.

21 May 2020
13:15 – 14:15


The Human Learning Systems approach is rapidly emerging as an alternative way to do ‘public management’ – the process of using resources for social good. It helps to frame different principles and practices which embrace the complex reality and challenges of public and voluntary sector action, freeing people from the wastefulness and demotivating effect of management by targets.

Watch the webinar

Download Toby and Gary’s slides

Speaker biographies

Toby’s bio:  My purpose as an academic is to help improve the funding, commissioning and performance management of social interventions (across the public, private and voluntary sectors). My research team has used complexity theory to create a critique of New Public Management approaches, particularly highlighting the problems created by attempts to use Outcome-Based Performance Management (e.g. Payment by Results) in complex environments.

We have also developed a new complexity-informed paradigm for the funding, commissioning and performance management of social interventions, and are undertaking action research programmes with public and voluntary sector funders and delivery organisations to explore how this paradigm is implemented in practice, and to support the development of a Community of Practice around this new paradigm.

Gary’s bio: Gary Wallace works in the Office of the Director of Public Health for the city of Plymouth. Gary began his career in Mental Health nursing before moving into the field of substance misuse and thence to Public health. In the course of his career, he has held clinical, developmental, managerial, research and strategic roles and has contributed to policy development in a range of areas both nationally and internationally. In addition to work in the NHS, Gary also worked in the charitable sector for a number of years. He is an Honorary University Fellow at the Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry, was a 2019 Fellow of Practice at Oxford University Government Outcomes Laboratory and is also a field supervisor for the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. He has a long-standing interest in improving the commissioning and delivery of services for people with complex needs and multiple vulnerabilities.

This session is part of a series of webinars being run by the Reimagining Health and Care group.

Other webinars in the series:

‘Using Communities of Practice and Self-Management to transform Special Educational Needs and Disability’ – Neil Dunford
Neil Dunford will share how he has used Communities of Practice and self-managed organisation techniques – such as Liberating Structures, Holacracy, Sociocracy, Deliberately Developmental practice – to transform trust and collaboration in Tower Hamlets.

Neighbourhood Midwives: The model that boosted continuity of care by 500%
Learn about the Buurtzorg-inspired model of care enabling self-managing teams of midwives to deliver continuity of care on their own terms.

Buurtzorg in the UK: learnings – and challenges – from the first 3 years’ – with Brendan Martin