by Matt Vidal and Jill Ebenshade
A central focus of the neoliberal ideology that dominates politics today is the privatization and marketization of the welfare state. Where public agencies have been spared from outsourcing or privatisation, they are increasingly subject to private sector management principles and practices, adopted under the banner of reducing public sector costs, increasing public sector accountability and improving service quality.
The two most common management systems adopted in the public sector are business process reengineering and lean, kindred approaches meant to provide comprehensive operations management. Both claim to be customer-driven management models that use process mapping to improve customer service via rationalized workflow and increased process control.
In 2011, the US Department of Agriculture launched a program pushing state and county-level welfare providers to adopt business process reengineering (hereafter, reengineering).
We recently published a case study on the implementation of business process reengineering in the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.