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“The demon is that it’s still acceptable to have profit without purpose”

Leslie Johnston CEO Laudes Foundation Partnership, Pioneers Post 9/2020


Partnership is another word that all agree is good in relation to public services, but the critical question is what it should mean in productive practice.

The sine qua non of partnership is common purpose.

Thus, purpose alignment opens the way to partnership, where commissioner, provider and other stakeholders work collaboratively and co-operatively for the common purpose.


This allows for the mobilisation of all available resources, from all stakeholder sources, and puts the focus on overall, relational project management, rather than separated, transactional contract management.

It replaces cycles of transactional, non-progressive, short-term contracts with an over-arching, multi-stakeholder, strategic, long-term community development perspective.

Preventative activity becomes central to planning, not the service element most vulnerable to being cut to realise short-term economies.

A clearer and more strategic base is set for integration and rational budget sharing with other services and other public service sectors.


Models of “Innovation Partnership” and “Community Alliance” may become systemic, rather than testaments to the insight, capability and courage of individuals battling against systemic barriers and obstacles.

The virtues and efficiencies of common purpose, collaboration and Public Value may, thereby, be promoted, correcting their socio-economic undervaluation in relation to public services.

The malign-effects and inefficiencies of the pursuit of profit, market competition and private shareholder value may, correspondingly, be balanced, correcting their socio-economic overvaluation in relation to public services.

What next?

  • This is number 5 of our 5 Fundamental Correctives for Practical Public Service Reform and Innovation – read the others here: