All services, private and public, will be average sometimes. And sometimes worse than that.

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I was intrigued by a question in the Observer editorial today, which was:

While few public services will ever sink to the nadir of Mid-Staffs, many will be average, unresponsive… just not good enough. What is the government’s answer to that?

I am afraid the question makes little sense. Regression to the mean suggests at some time all services will be average. Indeed, at some time all services will be unresponsive just as at others they may be fantastic.¬†Daniel Kahneman pretty much got a Nobel prize for pointing this out. And it’s not a fact for government alone: it’s what happens in human behaviour whether in the public or private sector. The only myth has been that it does not happen in the latter and only the former. That’s as wrong as the question was misplaced.

The question has to be how is the average improved. That’s a different issue.