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Working Together - Public Services On Your Side

CAB 018/09
10 March 2009

The Government will today set out its vision for the future shape of public services, building on a decade of unprecedented investment and rising standards.

Working Together - Public Services On Your Side details the steps the Government is taking to give people, communities and frontline staff the information and real power they need to personalise public services. Reflecting their local and individual needs will create a richer, fairer and safer society.

The Prime Minister said:

"Renewed and reformed public services are the key to strong communities and a more socially mobile society. We will put people first by placing power in the hands of those who use our public services.

"We are ushering in a new world of accountability in which parents, patients and local communities shape the services they receive, ensuring all our public services respond not simply to the hand of government, but to the voice of local people."

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Liam Byrne said:

"Public services are crucial to providing real help through the downturn and helping families turn aspirations into success. After ten years of investment and improvement, we need to move forward, making sure all services are delivered with a personal touch.

"This means giving frontline professionals the freedom and flexibility to use their skills and a Government that focuses on ensuring high standards are always met, because when it comes to public services we want guarantees."

Over the past 18 months, as the pace of reform has accelerated, the Government has delivered huge advances across the range of public services. The pace of these reforms will step up again in the months ahead, so that services are more accessible and become more personalised to the needs of people using them.

* GP surgeries are now open for longer hours, with an estimated 75% of GPs' surgeries open at evenings, early mornings or at weekends by the end of the year;

* Around 1 million people are expected to receive a free health check-up under new NHS Services by April 2010;

* The 3000th Children' s Centre will open this summer, offering support to 2.4 million families and providing parents with additional support with childcare;

* 15 million people with long-term conditions will be offered a personal care plan by December 2010;

* Funding is being provided to ensure 140,000 pupils will receive one-to-one catch-up tuition in each of English and maths in the next school year;

* In the year ahead, the NHS Constitution will enshrine patients' right to choice in their NHS services; and

* Up to 80 more Academies will open in 2009 and up to 100 more in 2010. Almost twice as many academies have already opened since Spring 2007 than all previous years.

Empowering Citizens

Excellent public services depend on providing not only resources but information and control, therefore the Government will continue to make it easier for people to gain control of their services through shared information and online feedback forums. New digital technology provides a real opportunity to move from traditional Government consultation to a real dialogue between Government, citizen and professionals. The Government will:

* Provide people with new opportunities through the NHS Choices website to give online comment and share information about all health services in their area, including direct feedback to all GP surgeries this summer. This gives people more power to influence the way health services are delivered;

* Continue to see that payment to hospitals for services is linked to patient-reported experiences and outcomes - and the quantity of this payment linked to outcomes will now increase year-on-year;

* Provide a dedicated website in 2010 for parents to compare and share information about childcare settings. Combining this with OFSTED reports and price comparisons;

* Build new online performance maps of local services allowing people to compare their area with others from May 2009, this will help people put more pressure on their local councils to improve or change services; and

* Provide an online national crime map by the end of the year, building on the local area crime maps already available through Directgov.

New Professionalism

Across public services Government will continue to invest and foster a new professionalism in public services, ensuring Britain continues to have public services to be proud of. Government will:

* Create a new 'Prime Minister's Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery', looking at freeing up nurses and midwives to lead improvements on the front line;

* Work with partners to develop a new fast-track route for talented career switchers and graduates moving into teaching - taking six rather than the current 12 months to complete;

* Launch a Masters degree 'Teaching and Learning', with an ambition of 4,000-5,000 participating in 2009/10;

* Introduce a new Accelerate to Headship scheme in September 2010, to offer up to 200 outstanding individuals a fast-track pathway to senior leadership within four years;

* Reduce red-tape in policing equivalent to 2,500-3,500 officers over time, including around 690,000 hours of form filling alone; and

* Cut police targets to one - public confidence in policing.

Strategic Leadership

The Government will continue to play a strategic role, putting power into the hands of citizens, professionals, local service providers and institutions at the front line of public services. The Government will also increasingly focus on driving efficiency and enabling innovation. The Government will:

* Giving high-performing hospitals more autonomy through the expansion of NHS Foundation Trusts (FTs), with around 25 new FTs in 2009, subject to Monitor approval, this would mean more than half of all Trusts will be FTs.

* Giving Jobcentre Plus advisers greater discretion to personalise support, benefiting up to 80,000 jobseekers.

* In Local Government, freeing up local leaders to join up and tailor services and economic strategies across local areas. Plus a further six Multi Area Agreements over the next 12 months and with at least two cities increasingly take control over their own economic destiny.

* Across government delivering £35bn of value for money savings, equivalent to £1,400 per household that will be able to be allocated to front line services and further savings to come in 2009 Budget.

Notes to editors

The document Working Together - Public Services On Your Side can be viewed at www.hmg.gov.uk/workingtogether.aspx from 00:01 on Tuesday 10 March.

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