John Seddon - failure demand

John Seddon, an iconoclastic management thinker, offers his insight into policing methods and how the system should be changed to reduce failure demand…

Failure demand is demand caused by a failure to do something or to do something right for the customer* – or in the case of policing, for the citizen. It is not uncommon to find that over 75% of demand into police forces is failure demand. Currently a few forces have clubbed together to fund an academic study into the volumes of failure demand into policing. I’d advise them not to bother. They won’t learn anything useful.

Failure demand is a signal, a signal of ineffectiveness. To remove it – as many large organisations have done – requires understanding the causes of ineffectiveness and, from there, designing a service that works for citizens. To put it another way, failure demand is systemic, you won’t get rid of it until you change the system.