5th September 2013:
I hate templates.
I’m not talking about the sort of template you get from within a word processing package or the header that sits on top of your letter to a client. I’m also not talking about forms given to clients (although an argument could be made about them too).
On the contrary, I’m talking about the local authority template with boxes to complete, vague headings and italic writing that explains what is meant to go into each box.
There are three reasons that I hate templates:
1) People complete them
There is no template in the world that can be accurately deployed for every situation. Nonetheless, as soon as you ask someone to complete a template you can guarantee that they will try their best to find something to write into every box. This is just one example of the ‘compliance culture’ that can often be a real problem for local authorities.
2) The sum of a template is definitely less than the sum of its parts
The idea of a template is to ensure comprehensiveness. We don’t want to miss anything and therefore we design an approach that ensures that every officer completing it can’t miss the things we expect them to tell us.