News story

Opening up public services

The Prime Minister has set out the need for reform and modernisation of our public services, to ensure everyone has the choice and control of the services they use.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

In a speech in London, the PM argued the need to give individuals and local communities more control and more choice over the services they receive.

Mr Cameron said the reforms were a “people power” revolution that will replace bureaucratic control with “more freedom, more choice and more local control”.

He described public services as “the backbone of the country” but said that they still operate with a “take-what-you’re-given” philosophy that has failed sufficiently to close gaps between the life quality of the rich and poor.

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.

Public services were centralised with all the right intentions: to drive progress through from on high, to keep tabs on how that progress was going with targets and rules and inspections. But the impact of this has been incredibly damaging.

The PM’s speech follows the publication today of the Open Public Services White Paper which sets out the government’s approach to public services by applying five key principles:

  • Wherever possible we should increase choice by giving people direct control over the services they use;
  • Power should be decentralised to the lowest possible level;
  • Public services should be open to a range of providers competing to offer a better service;
  • The state’s role is to deliver fair access, fair funding and fair competition; and
  • public services should be accountable to users and to taxpayers.

The White Paper will be followed over the summer by a wide-ranging discussion with individuals, communities, public sector staff, providers and others with an interest in how public services are delivered.

The Government wants to hear from the views of everyone working in and using public services about how it can turn its vision for high quality, efficient and modern public services into reality.

Visit the Open Public Services website to have your say.

External site: Statement to Parliament on Open Public Services

Download: Open Public Services White Paper

Published 11 July 2011