When Tony Blair was Britain’s prime minister he promised: "The trains will run on time." To attain this, he established a delivery unit in 10 Downing Street. His agenda was to achieve a set of goals through a focus on implementation. I head a delivery unit in the Western Cape government and had the benefit of advice from Michael Barber, who ran Blair’s unit and is now renowned for delivery in the public sector. In my work, I am constantly reminded how hard it is to get tangible results and how important it is to make implementation a national priority. In Cape Town, the majority of commuters rely on Metrorail, yet every day suffer late trains and cancellations. Lives would be radically transformed if trains just ran, let alone ran on time. The delivery conundrum is being felt everywhere. As a result, delivery units have become popular. Even the best governments find that in a world of rapid technological advancement and challenging social media, bureaucracies are hamstrung by organi...

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