Three new reports on partnership working between faith and local government.

When it comes to society we need a Prussian Approach

While the news is full of comment on the state of the European Union and the single currency, it may be unpopular to call for us to learn from our European neighbours, but I am daring to do so.

In fact it is not the Economic or social methods of the Prussians that I want to point to but the way the Prussians and then the German army was organised. The German army developed a technique of ‘Mission Command’. This is excellently described in the Book and TV series by Andrew Roberts called Hitler & Churchill secrets of leadership. Simply put Mission Command means that rather than the generals feeding the officers instructions one step at a time, instead they point out an objective and provide the officers on the ground the resources they need, then the officers and troops work out how they will achieve their objectives. There is no micro-management , so innovation and on the spot problem solving is encouraged. Most importantly those on the ground have the tools and the permission to meet objectives and solve the issues they face.

What has all this got to do with society – big, good or otherwise, in Britain today?

Big Society seemed to pronounce a new day and yes it is great to have the heavy hand of regulation and micro- management removed from the work of Voluntary and Community Organisations (Mind you I don’t  hear members talk about a sense of release). It is the resourcing  which is as much to do with the success of Mission Command not just the freedom to determine the solutions. Of course there are potential savings to be made with more flexible and localised solutions, but there needs to be adequate resource in the first place.

Far too many organisations are now merely concerned with survival and their purpose and objectives can be a distraction from pursuing the resources.  Freedom to respond and innovation has to go hand in hand with the provision of the right resources and funding to do the task. As one of David Cameron’s predecessors said

“Give us the tools and we will finish the Job!”

About Daniel Singleton

National Executive Director

Daniel Singleton has been the National Executive Director of FaithAction since 2007. In this role Daniel has become influential in a number of government departments, highlighting the significant part that faith-based organisations are playing in communities around the UK. Daniel also meets regularly with FaithAction member organisations to help them move forward and develop in their delivery.