11 July 2011
Modernisation of public services will give people choice and control over the services they use, and end the ‘get what you’re given’ culture.
People will be given more choice to shape the public services they use, putting control in the hands of individuals and neighbourhoods so everyone can benefit from the best public services available, announced the Prime Minister today.
While some of our public services lead the way, it’s clear that in many areas, they have not kept pace with people’s lifestyles and expectations, with a ‘get what you’re given’ culture too often prevailing. Building on progress already taking place in areas like schools, welfare, health and policing, the Open Public Services White Paper turns that culture on its head. And recognising that Whitehall does not know best, it begins a programme of consultation and engagement over the summer with individuals, communities, public sector staff and providers to ensure that the improvements are both ambitious and practical.
Speaking at Reform, the Prime Minister said:
I know what our public services can do and how they are the backbone of this country. But I know too that the way they have been run for decades - old-fashioned, top-down, take-what-you’re-given - is just not working for a lot of people.“Ours is a vision of open public services - there will be more freedom, more choice and more local control. Wherever possible we are increasing choice by giving people direct control over the services they use.
The five core principles for modernising public services are:
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:
This is an important milestone in the Government’s mission to make public services better for the people that use them. This paper alone won’t change people’s lives, but the principles it sets out will shape and improve the public services people use for generations to come. It will give people more choice, make services fairer, devolve power from the centre and make services more accountable to the people that use them.
Minister for Government Policy Oliver Letwin said:
For far too long, far too many people have had to make do with what they’ve been given, with only the better off being able to choose something else if the state let them down. That won’t be allowed to continue. We will allow people to choose the services that are right for them – the right schools for their children, the right hospital when they’re ill, and the right services for their neighbourhoods.
These principles are already being applied to public services – in particular in education and welfare. In the past year alone, for example, more than 1000 schools have applied to become academies and 20 groups of public sector employees have opted to create their own new public service ventures.The Government recognises that the changes necessary to modernise public services will not happen over night. Many of the policies will require detailed design, and engaging professionals and the wider public is critical to getting it right. This White Paper is open for consultation and we will soon commence a wide-range of discussions with individuals, communities, providers and public sector workers.