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Public Service Reform

The Government has delivered better schools, hospitals and policing and other services in the last decade, thanks to sustained investment and reforms to the way services work. In the forthcoming years this reform will need to accelerate because communities will have new needs following the recession, people will continue to want more tailored services and money will be much tighter.

Services will only further improve while driving down costs by releasing the insights, energy and motivation of those who use services and professionals on the front-line. At the same time, central government will need to continue to provide strategic leadership, particularly establishing the right national frameworks for promoting high standards and equity and for delivering greater value for money.


Tessa Jowell speech to Progress on mutuals in public services
In a major speech to the think-tank Progress, Tessa Jowell outlined that after the credit crunch and the expenses scandal, people are now looking for different types of organisations that give them a greater sense of ownership and control.

The Innovation Unit publishes "The Engagement Ethic"
Today (15/12/09) the Innovation Unit has published an independent think-tank piece on the potential of co-operative and mutual governance in public services. It argues that the biggest challenge public services face is the challenge of engaging citizens and service users and harnassing their energy and creativity. It identifies a set of practical steps that public services could consider to explore and develop.

The publication can be downloaded from the Innovation Unit website [External website].  

Pre-Budget Report
The Pre-Budget Report confirmed the Government’s commitment to protecting key frontline services whilst driving further improvements in value for money.

Putting the frontline first: smarter government
Putting the frontline first: smarter government sets out how Government will improve public service outcomes while achieving the fiscal consolidation that is vital to helping the economy grow. The plan has three central actions: to drive up standards by strengthening the role of citizens and civic society, to free up public services by recasting the relationship between the centre and the frontline, and to streamline the centre of government, saving money for sharper delivery.

The Young Foundation publishes "Public services and civil society working together – an initial think piece"
This commission for the Cabinet Office Public Services Unit provides an initial independent exploration of the evidence for individuals, local community groups and social enterprises working alongside local public agencies to deliver better outcomes – like better pupil attainment, healthier communities or safer streets. It identifies the current barriers to such work and considers promising areas for government action.

Comments on the evidence and ideas is welcome and can be submitted on the Young Foundation website.

The Government’s recent strategy to take the UK from recession to recovery - Building Britain’s Future [External website] – sets out plans for building the next generation of public services. This sets out how the Government will accelerate measures to empower citizens who use services, such as through stronger entitlements to high quality health, education and policing services.

The strategy builds on a framework for improving services published in 2008 Excellence and Fairness: achieving world class public services [PDF], and measures for reforming particular services, set out in Working Together - Public Services On Your Side [External website].

The Public Service Unit in the Cabinet Office is responsible for developing this overall strategy for reforming public services and embedding it through workforce and service innovation. In particular, we lead on:

Public Services Strategy 
Promoting and developing the Government’s overall framework for improving public services.

Accelerating the pace of public service reform by encouraging and enabling those involved to identify, learn from and implement the practical innovations which will underpin the next generation of public services.

Public Services Workforce Reform
The Public Service Workforce Reform Team recognises that world-class public services can only be delivered by a workforce that is engaged and motivated, and has the right set of skills.  We work in partnership with public service employers and trade unions to support the workforce in delivering the public services of tomorrow.  Click on the link to find out more about what we do.

Service Transformation
Embedding a systematic approach to the transformation of services and improving delivery capability across the public sector.

The Cabinet Office also has responsibility for:

Recent speeches by the Minister for Public Service Reform and Chief Secretary to the Treasury