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Creating the right environment, to make the right decisions, at the right time

Oct 18, 2011 - Comments: 0

As individuals we are making decisions all the time so it should be second nature right?

If only it was that simple for organisations. Many of us have had to make some really tough decisions over that past year – redundancies, mergers, cuts, etc and I am sure that some of the decisions made under pressure and quite often without all the relevant data or input. Some of these decisions become a bit of a gamble or risk. So what can we do to rationalise the process. Rather than list the do’s and don’ts of decision making and problem solving (lots of material out there, I thought it would be useful to reflect on a conversation I had with a colleague last week (Huda Amin, Women into Business) during one of our Action Learning sessions.

Decision making draws on various professions, including psychology,  sociology, anthropology,  political  science and economics and can affect behaviours at and individual, group or organisational level. It also is in my mind very much to do with having the right internal structure and communication.

Getting the right people involved in the decision – this is essential to ensure that all perspectives are included, to allow internal expertise to be utilised and to speed up the decision making process. It is sometimes advisable to set up steering committees (time limited of course) to allow external experts to be pulled in – time to draw on those favours.

Using decision making tools – There are lots of simple and effective decision making tools that should be used in teams or groups. These not only help look at the decision from various angles but also help individuals think out side the box. A couple of my favourites are Force Field Analysis and the 6 Thinking Hats.

Structure is also related to communication. Who and how do you communicate to? Is there an existing hierarchy or protocol? Does it work? Quite often internal tensions and doubts begin to emerge when people feel that decisions are been made without their knowledge. The key word here is knowledge. It is not always the case that everyone wants to be involved at every stage but just want the courtesy of been informed of what the issue is, why it has arisen and how they intend to deal with it.

Yes, decisions sometimes need to be made quickly and not every ‘leader’ has the luxury to consult to the level they would like to – fair enough  - this is sometimes the reality – However, what  often fails to happen is the essential communication before AND after the decision. Get this right and your decision making will be somewhat easier.

Tebussum Rashid

Shadow Justice Secretary puts the case for the opposition

Oct 18, 2011 - Comments: 0
But race still doesn’t seem recognised as a key issue

Sadiq Khan Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary gave the Howard League’s annual Parmore lecture in Canary Wharf last night.

As a working class kid from a South London housing estate, with 12 years experience as a councillor and having had an impressive legal career outside politics before coming into the Commons, Khan isn't one of those new breed of politicians who the accusation of lacking real life experience can be thrown at. He is clearly a product of his family and proud of his roots.

The speech was thin on policy specifics, which was not surprising as we are 3 1/2 years from the next election, but full of a detailed demolition of Ken Clarke and the Coalitions agenda at MOJ. He also gave a resound defence of Labour’s record in office on CJS policy. I would take issue on some of Khan's defences of the Labour Government’s record. He spoke of the need to balance punishment and reform in taking forward a progressive justice policy and informing public opinion. Too often in my view the last government seemed to be led by public opinion.

Khan said nothing in his speech on the major race equality challenges facing the CJS which was disappointing as it falls into the all too familiar establishment orthodoxy of not viewing race equality as a central issue for the CJS when the stats and informed people on the ground (for example in the two prisons I have recently visited with BAME populations in excess of 60%) clearly state the opposite. Unfortunately, I didn't get an opportunity to ask a question on race equality so we didn’t get a chance to hear his position, but BTEG will send in a short submission to Labour’s Justice  policy review. Too often attending events like this even in the context of a British Asian front bench spokesperson I am left feeling that race really isn’t embraced as part of the debate and a huge part of the answers moving forward.

However, I found his approach of both challenging and giving accolades to reformers, providing at least the opportunity to have a grown up debate. What we have to try and ensure is that race equality is fully part of that debate and as always this will be a struggle, but I am sure we can make a valuable contribution through the network.

Mark Blake

BTEG holds first of five consultation events on establishing it's BAME network

Oct 05, 2011 - Comments: 0
Over 25 people attended our first consultation event yesterday at the offices of Foundation 4 Life in Croydon. The feedback from the events will help to inform the development

BTEG holds first of five consultation events on establishing it's BAME network

Over 25 people attended our first consultation event yesterday at the offices of Foundation 4 Life in Croydon. The feedback from the events will help to inform the development of the network over the next two years. Of course the current environment for all voluntary sector organisations is difficult but there was sense of optimism that the challenges facing BAME communities in the area of the justice system could be addressed with greater engagement within communities and government showing greater commitment to address these problems.

A final report from the consultations will be available in December.

Mark Blake


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