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  'Citizens First' takes to the road!  Jan 31st 2001

Rt Hon Mo MOwlam at the 'Citizens First' Cambridge roadshowDr Mo Mowlam, Minister for the Cabinet Office, today praised a trailblazing national service managed in Cambridge which offers parents local and reliable childcare information at the click of a mouse button.

She was at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to see parents using a variety of information services including the ChildcareLink website which is updated daily at a local level – the first in a series of visits by Ministers to see the frontline delivery of public services and get feedback from customers.

Dr Mowlam said the site, which is funded by the Department for Education and Employment and Scottish Executive, was fast, efficient and user friendly.

The project, managed by Opportunity Links, is run through 149 local Children’s Information Services (CIS) in England and 30 in Scotland.

Dr Mowlam said: "I was very impressed with the way information has been co-ordinated on one website. This new approach has already made a real difference to the lives of many parents."

Dr Mowlam said: "Modernising is all about empowering workers, improving services for users, restoring confidence in public services and public service.

"Too often the changes that have brought about real improvements remain little known or celebrated. We are determined to celebrate these successes. They deserve recognition and in this way we can encourage them to be more widely adopted, helping those with new ideas to put them into practice."

She said the key to a successful Modernising Government programme was a public service ethos.

"This must be integral to our strategy. The workforce is the most important asset of the public sector, and there is a real need to invest in staff and to meet the challenges of technology by building on their skills.

"There are a number of reasons why the modernisation programme must succeed. There is a need for every organisation to improve continuously and there is a growing demand from citizens to be treated as customers and to get the results they need."

Dr Mowlam said the vision for modernisation applied to all parts of the public sector – the NHS, schools, prisons, the Forces, local authorities, agencies and central government departments.

"It means joining up. Good government need not be big government. Rather, it is about working in partnership with town halls, unions and the private and voluntary sectors to deliver the best possible services. It is about working together in ways that haven’t happened before. It’s not about dogma, it’s about what works.

"We’ve made a good start, but it is a long-term programme, not about quick wins. There will always be more to do.

"Only by working together will we succeed in our ultimate goals of giving a better service to the citizen and to get more job satisfaction

On the 27 February Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett announced new partnerships with Tesco and Lloyds Pharmacy to provide ChildcareLink in their stores via online kiosks. He said;

"To help parents get information about childcare in their local area, ChildcareLink will be included on touch-screen kiosks in Lloyds Pharmacy stores and in Tesco Internet Cafés. ChildcareLink is an interactive website - - that receives 1.8 million hits per month from the public and a separate phone-line for parents receives 500 calls per week. This shows the level of interest and need from the public. Many parents at home do not have access to the internet and these new kiosks on the high street will help meet that demand for the best advice and information.


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