Appreciative inquiry: A fresh approach to continuous improvement in public services


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How many of us are running out of ideas to improve performance and deliver elusive goals and targets? The demand to raise standards is never far away from political rhetoric, the drive to improve outcomes for stakeholders is a constant imperative of leadership, and inspection regimes hold us to account by confronting us with the deficit between progress and outstanding issues. But do we really think we have found the best approach to delivering this change? Have we developed a method which optimises the continuous improvement agenda in a way that enables services to thrive rather than feel overwhelmed by the needs we are trying to meet? How do we close the gap between our innate sense of idealism and the real-world problems of which we are only too aware? There is a fresh approach which works well, by placing people at the centre of the change process. It is called appreciative inquiry. This article explains how it has been used by Liverpool Council to powerful effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-33
Number of pages4
JournalHousing, Care and Support
Issue number1
Early online date1 Apr 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


  • Appreciative inquiry
  • Continuous improvement
  • Liverpool city council
  • Public services

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