What Can a Government Assure?

There is discussion about the vital responsibilities of government.  One of these is described as “assurance”.  What can government assure?  Is there a difference between assuring conditions in which citizens may live and speak and act, and assuring outcomes — outcomes of policies and programs or outcomes  for citizens?

The old aphorism, “A man’s reach must exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for”, seems to apply to governments, in spades.  Shouldn’t government visions and policies go just beyond what can be assured?

Can we be content that assurance is possible for the part of government which is the public service, and impossible for the part of government that is political?  Should assurance be possible when we consider programs and budgets, even though it might be impossible when we consider visions and goals?

If the responsibility of government is to assure conditions, although not outcomes, how can we evaluate whether the responsibility has been properly discharged, or not?

How does a government assure justice, when it deliberately — and rightly, in my view — creates a justice system that is immune to incident by incident intervention by the government?

I need your help with this.


One Response to “What Can a Government Assure?”

  1. rebootalberta Says:

    The three service levels of government to my mind are Insurance, Assurance and Ensurance. Insurance is merely paying money for findings of fault of damage – WCB level of responsibility. Assurance is money and inquiries to try adn improve current systems – What Childrens’ Services is doing with its review. Ensurance is a design forward perspective that looks with foresight at possible consequendes in an integrated way and sets up systems and resources to do the best possible work to achieve outcomes and to anticipate and prevent (not mitigate) consequences – including the unintended but foreseeable kind.

    It takes a wiser system with more than risk management and value analysis to achieve this higher level. But I think it is coming as we get more networked, integrated and interdependent as sectors, societies and nations.

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