Quote of the Week
“…we are determined to open up the provision of public services and target funding at the most disadvantaged.”
The U.K. Big Society project includes the reform of government service delivery. As promised, the government has released a 2012 update on its original Open Public Services concept piece, and it is clear that change is still top of mind.
A major theme of the proposed reforms has been around citizen choice. The government wants to move away from a one-size-fits-all form of social service delivery to a flexible, efficient system that meets the differing needs of individual citizens.
Thus, the government says it still wants to get rid of barriers to choice and “embed a culture in which people can expect and demand the opportunity to exert control over the service they receive by choosing the provider that best suits their needs.”
To get there, the government had toyed with the idea of enshrining the “right to choice” in legislation, and resurrects this as a consideration in this document. It also proposes setting up so-called Choice Champions to promote and support choice.
Related to public sector reform, and as proposed by authors such as Drummond, the government is focusing on the Internet to change the way services are delivered, moving to a “digital by default” model for all services that can be delivered online.
Government Commercial Teams have been set up to “identify new commercial models (that) would accelerate reform and improve services.”
And for some time the government has been promoting a system where government workers would be able to form public service “mutuals” in order to bid to deliver services. The philosophy is clear: the report says such a move will “empower millions of public sector staff to become their own boss – freeing up untapped entrepreneurial and innovative drive.”
The report lists lots of successes, of course, and the message is clear: the U.K. government is not slowing down on its change agenda.