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Thanks to the rise of empowered consumers, products and experiences that once seemed improbable, such as (literally) instant delivery, are now integral to our lives. But this era of innovation has also seen its fair share of flops: From Pokémon Go to Google Glass, technologies that looked like promising disrupters stalled quickly or generated more […]

3 months, 5 days ago

Systems Thinking Complicates Things

  I’ve had the honor and pleasure of appearing as a regular on Tom Cagley‘s SPaMCast podcast for almost three years now. Before I write one of my “Form Follows Function on SPaMCast x” posts, I always listen to the podcast to make sure that the summary is right (the implication being, relying purely on […]

5 months, 25 days ago

New book: ‘Changes – a business novel’

Delighted to say I’ve just published my ‘business-novel’ Changes. Hooray! More details are at https://leanpub.com/tb-changes . Here’s the cover: And here’s the blurb: Marco has a new job: Head of Organizational Change. But his bright new plan to bring the company into the

6 months, 25 days ago

Stopping Accidental Technical Debt

In one of my earlier posts about technical debt, I differentiated between intentional debt (that taken on deliberately and purposefully) and accidental debt (that which just accrues over time without rhyme or reason or record). Dealing with (in the sense of evaluating, tracking, and resolving it) technical debt is obviously a consideration for someone in […]

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Square Pegs, Round Holes, and Silver Bullets

People like easy answers. Why spend time analyzing and evaluating when you can just take some thing or some technique that someone else has already put to use and be done with it? Why indeed? I mean, “me too” is a valid strategy, right? And we don’t want people to get off message, right? And […]

8 months, 18 days ago

Decision-Making Models

In my previous discussion of the ACPO national decision model (May 2014), I promised to return to the methodological question, namely what theories of decision-making would be relevant to NDM and any other decision models. I have just happened upon a doctoral thesis by Maxwell Mclean looking at the decision-making by coroners, which analyses local variation in coronial outcomes at three decision-making stages: whether to report the death, whether to advance to inquest, and the choice of inquest conclusion.

Mclean notes that there is no decision-making model for coroners equivalent to the police national decision model and focussed on standards and consistency of outcome. He finds other examples of decision-making models in nursing (Lewinson and Truglio-Londrigan, 2008; Husted and Husted, 1995; Jasper, Rosser and Mooney, 2013); social work (O’Sullivan, 2011; Taylor, 2010); and probation work (Carter, 1967; Rosecrance, 1985). However, several of these are descriptive models rather than normative models.

Within the professions mentioned by Mclean, I found a lot more work on evidence-based nursing as well as some interesting international discussions on decision-making within offender supervision. Looking further afield, I was interested to find an article about a decision-making model in the US Army, but this turned out to be merely a polemical article by a former Navy Seal advocating the use of Design Thinking.

Rosecrance introduces an interesting concept of the Ball Park, where a professional decision is influenced by the anticipated reaction of a more senior professional. For example, the decisions of a probation officer are not solely designed to achieve the desired outcomes for the client, but also designed to meet the approval of (1) judges, (2) prosecuting attorneys, and (3) probation supervisors. When a recommendation seems likely to meet the approval of these three entities, it is said to be “in the ball park”. The “ball park” concept is also used in sales negotiations, and this hints at the idea that the focus here is on “selling” (or at least defending) the decision rather than just making it.

Coming back to the police, this frames the NDM not just as a way of making the best decision but also avoiding censure if anything goes wrong. See my post on the National Decision Model and Lessons Learned (February 2017).


Miranda Boone and Martine Evans, Offender supervision and decision-making in Europe (Offender Supervision in Europe: Decision-Making and Supervision Working Group, 2013)

Jeff Boss, The Army’s New Decision-Making Model (Forbes, 8 August 2014)

Carter, R.M. (1967). The presentence report and the decision making process. Journal of
research in crime and delinquency. 4 203-211.

Jasper, M., Rosser, M., Mooney, G. (Eds.) (2013). Professional Development, Reflection
and Decision-Making in Nursing and Health Care (2nd ed.). Swansea: Wiley Blackwell.

Husted, G.L. and Husted, I.H. (1995). Ethical decision-making in nursing (2nd ed.). St
Louis: Mosby.

Lewenson, S.B. and Truglio-Londrigan, M. (2008). Decision-Making in Nursing, thoughtful approaches for practice. London: Jones and Bartlett Publishers International.

Maxwell Mclean, The Coroner in England and Wales; Coronial Decision-­Making and Local Variation in Case Outcomes (Doctoral Thesis, University of Huddersfield, 2015)

O’Sullivan, T. (2011). Decision making in social work (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave
Macmillan

Rosecrance, J. (1985). The Probation Officers’ Search for Credibility: Ball Park
Recommendations. Journal of research in crime and delinquency. 31, (4) 539-554.

Mooi Standing, Perceptions of clinical decision-making: a matrix model (May 2010). This appears to be a chapter from Mooi Standing (ed) Clinical Judgement and Decision-Making in Nursing and Inter-professional Healthcare (McGraw Hill, 2010)

Taylor, B. (2010). Professional Decision-Making in Social Work. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Carl Thompson et al, Nurses, information use, and clinical decision making—the real world potential for evidence-based decisions in nursing (Evidence-Based Nursing Vol 7 No 3, July 2004) http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ebn.7.3.68

Related posts
National Decision Model (May 2014)
National Decision Model and Lessons Learned (Feb 2017)

Updated 4 March 2017

8 months, 20 days ago

National Decision Model and Lessons Learned

The appointment of Cressida Dick as the first female commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has been criticized in some quarters because of her involvement in the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005.

Dick was the “gold commander” who instructed armed officers to “stop” de Menezes. At the time, however, armed officers were following a new set of police guidelines known as Operation Kratos. In the context of these guidelines, Dick’s orders were interpreted as shoot-to-kill. At the Old Bailey in 2007, Dick denied that this had been her intention.

As Mary Dejevsky argues, the de Menezes case provides a lasting reminder of what can go wrong

“whether because the overall atmosphere has not been properly appraised, because the orders given were not precise enough, or simply because insufficient account has been taken of the human factor”.

The National Decision Model, which was introduced a few years after this incident, provides a framework that should (at least in theory) prevent this kind of miscommunication. See my post on the National Decision Model (May 2014). Perhaps this is one of the areas where “lessons have been learned”. Or perhaps not.

Iain Gould is a solicitor. One of his clients was involved in an incident in 2013 that resulted in his being tasered. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) attributed this escalation, in part, to a failure to follow the National Decision Model.

“I would question whether PC B gave enough emphasis to the first element of the National Decision Model, which is to communicate. … More effort should have been made, in line with the National Decision Model, to engage Mr S in dialogue.”

The IPCC commissioned a report in 2015, which contains some analysis of the National Decision Model, and some recommendations for its improved use. There are two versions of the report:


    The Guardian view on the Met police: changing, but too slowly (23 February 2017)

    Duncan Campbell et al, Leaks raise sharp questions about police tactics (Guardian, 17 August 2005)

    Mary Dejevsky, Can Cressida Dick win over the public? Yes, if she’s learned from her mistakes (Guardian, 23 February 2017)

    Iain Gould, Is Police Taser Policy Working? (11 May 2016)

    Martin Hoscik, Sadiq Khan says ‘My heart goes out to the de Menezes family’ but insists Cressida Dick is the right choice to protect London (MayorWatch, 25 February 25, 2017)

    Maxwell Mclean, The Coroner in England and Wales; Coronial Decision-­Making and Local Variation in Case Outcomes (Doctoral Thesis, University of Huddersfield, 2015)

    Wail Qasim, Lessons Learned (LRB Blog, 27 February 2017)


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