Delivering Public Services: Locality, Learning and Reciprocity in Place Based Practice

16 Feb 2018

Policymakers across myriad jurisdictions are grappling with the challenge of complex policy problems. Multi-faceted, complex, and seemingly intractable, ‘wicked’ problems have exhausted the repertoire of the standard policy approaches. In response, governments are increasingly looking for new options, and one approach that has gained significant scholarly interest, along with increasing attention from practitioners, is ‘place-based’ solutions. This paper surveys conceptual aspects of this approach. It describes practices in comparable jurisdictions – the UK, the EU and the US. And it explores efforts over the past decade to ‘localise’ Indigenous services. It sketches the governance challenge in migrating from top-down or principal-agent arrangements towards place-based practice. The paper concludes that many of the building blocks for this shift already exist but that these need to be re-oriented around ‘learning’. Funding and other administrative protocols may also ultimately need to be redefined.