Shedding Light on the Role of Rules
Rules and procedures are important as a guide to behaviour. However, human society and activities are far too complex to fashion rules with corresponding detail.
Without an element of discretion to enable sensible and reasonable application to actual situations, rules tend to proliferate and be applied blindly, creating unmanageable complexity, transactional friction, distrust, interference and injustice.
Officials who are well-versed in how to exercise discretion are less dependent on detailed rules and are more likely to decide fairly and objectively without undermining accountability.
A proper understanding of the role of rules has the potential to transform how institutions function. The teaching module that we develop and disseminate will enable decision-makers to understand and work with rules more effectively in light of the rationale behind them and the particular cirucumstances of each case.
Recognising Conflicts of Interest
Many abuses of authority and costly difficulties arise through a failure on the part of decision-makers and those affected to recognise conflicts of interest that taint decisions.
Promoting a better understanding of what conflicts of interest look like, where they are commonly found and how they can be eliminated or managed constitutes a potent preventive strategy to enhance decision-making and protect the interests of citizens.
Policy for Sale
One of the most insidious forces driving domestic and foreign policy off course is the undue influence that narrow interests (sometimes referred to as special interests) have on public decision-making through lobbying, political donations and influence brokering. Whether permitted under local laws or not, any auction of public policy should be recognised as a serious form of corruption that has inflicted inestimable harm to the health, peace and prosperity of millions at home and abroad. We believe that “Policy for Sale” must enter public consciousness and discourse as a fundamental tool of recognition needed to ring alarm bells loud enough to ensure sufficient responses to promote good governance. This is essential if democracy is to be protected from quiet subversion.
- State capture: when are elections merely a contest among unrepresentative interest groups over whose turn it is to help themselves?
- Tools to distinguish between wealth capture and wealth creation
- When cost externalisation is cost multiplication instead of cost saving: where rules of accounting are no longer fit for purpose
- The power of shared information in reframing the questions we seek to answer