Disparate fronts offer challenges
For a city to tackle a challenge from multiple, often disparate, fronts can be a successful strategy in a variety of situations. But mapping out the plan requires careful analysis of data.
“I spoke to the head of a police force recently who wanted to do something about the demands on the force brought by domestic violence. He called it ‘a scourge’ in his city, but it
wasn’t something that the police had the resources or the skills to deal with,” says Dixon. “It is a chronic problem, in numerous cities, involving a relatively
small number of people, consuming an outsized portion of police resources. Each weekend police are being confronted with the same people, struggling with the same issues.”
The solution lies in broadening the city’s response. “It is important to get social services involved, because these are families at risk. But the social services agency needs support from
the health department, as alcohol and depression are commonly seen to be associated problems, with many now agreeing that unemployment and appropriate education are the underlying problems.”
This multifaceted approach requires government to rethink its usual structure. As Dixon puts it, “Agencies and functions within government are bridging to each other in unprecedented ways. Challenging
for some, it suggests a very different operating model for city governments of the future.”
“In this example, we are on the cusp of police exchanging information with social services and healthcare providers: sharing information in ways that can better help individuals who need the help most.
Over time, we’re going to see a level of integration which truly will provide much better service, within increasingly different models of government delivering significantly better value