Press release

Radical transformation of Britain’s public services delivers more choice, better services and savings

The Open Public Services Update 2013 demonstrates progress in increasing individual choice while modernising public services.

Minister for Government Policy Oliver Letwin and Minister of State for Schools and the Cabinet Office David Laws are today publishing the second annual update on the government’s ambitious programme of public services reform. This includes the government’s response to David Boyle’s review into barriers to choice in public services, three further Choice Frameworks and a new Choice Charter.

The Open Public Services Update 2013 sets out the significant achievements the government has made in modernising public services in education, health, neighbourhood services and many other areas. In particular, the update shows how the government is giving more power to individuals, ensuring they have choice in the services they use.

Amongst the many achievements detailed in the report are:

  • 81 free schools and 2,886 academies are now open, allowing greater choice for parents and pupils and giving teachers the opportunity to make the changes that our schools need
  • the government has pledged to extend funded early learning to around 130,000 of the most disadvantaged 2 year olds from September 2013, rising to around 260,000 in September 2014
  • the innovative Payment by Results model is being extended across public services, from housing services for older adults to drug recovery. The Work Programme has supported more than 31,000 people back into work since June 2011. The next major expansion of Payment by Results is in offender rehabilitation, where private and third sector providers who manage sentences in the community will be rewarded based on their success at rehabilitating offenders.
  • the Apprenticeships Grant for Employers scheme has led to 18,900 apprentices being taken on.
  • the Mutuals programme continues to work across the public sector and there are now over 120 emerging and established mutuals delivering over £1 billion of public services, with more in the pipeline.
  • by April 2014 all patients in receipt of NHS continuing healthcare will have the right to ask for a personal heath budget, giving them more freedom to choose services that meet their needs most effectively and increasing patient satisfaction.
  • the Community Organisers programme has recruited and trained 195 Senior Organisers, who in turn will train 5,000 Community Organisers by 2015, helping communities to self-organise and take control of the decisions that affect them.

A major focus of this year’s update is the progress made to extend choice in public services. Earlier in the spring, the first two Choice Frameworks were published, setting out the choices available to people accessing NHS Care Services and Social Housing. Three further Choice Frameworks, covering adult social care, school education and funded early education, are being published today.

To complement the five Choice Frameworks, the government is today publishing a Choice Charter which sets out ambitious standards which all public service providers should achieve and which user of public services should come to expect.

Today the government is also publishing its response to David Boyle’s independent review of barriers to choice in public services. The government is pleased to endorse his findings on breaking down barriers across education, healthcare and social care. We have already taken action by:

  • enhancing school performance tables to include performance data of children receiving free school meals
  • making information on GP practices readily available through NHS Choices
  • introducing Friends and Family Tests to A&E and acute hospitals from April 2013
  • extending choice of provider to Mental Health Services from April 2014
  • placing personal budgets on a legislative footing through the draft Care and Support Bill;
  • ensuring greater access to information and advice for social care users to make choices about their care and providers available to them.

Minister of State for Schools and the Cabinet Office, David Laws said:

Through the Open Public Services programme we are putting greater power in the hands of individual citizens and local communities, letting them mould services around their specific needs. However, as we reshape public services for the needs and pressures of the modern world, we must also ensure that those services remain fair and accessible to all, regardless of background or ability to pay. Thanks to David Boyle’s review, we have been able to understand the barriers that stop people from exercising choice and have put plans in place to dismantle those hurdles.

The government can be very proud of the changes we have made to improve public services and will continue to work to ensure that everyone benefits from these important reforms.

Minister for Government Policy Oliver Letwin said:

Britain is in a global race and to stay ahead we must be ruthless on cost and ambitious with innovation in the services we provide. In 2010, the State was still the default provider of public services, but this had proved to be an outdated model, unable to meet people’s expectations in the modern world.

In the digital age, people expect to be able to access the services they want at a time and place that works for them. Through the Open Public Services programme we are releasing the government’s grip on local services and unleashing a wave of bottom up innovation that is transforming how services are delivered, accessed and experienced.

However this is still just the beginning and there are many further changes to come. More services will be transformed in the coming years, benefitting from openness, accountability and competitiveness, focussed on delivering the best outcomes for their users and the best value for money for the taxpayer.

Notes to editors

The Open Public Services White Paper was published in July 2011, setting out the government’s agenda for reforming public services. Download the pdf report.

The government commissioned David Boyle to look into barriers to choice in public services, particularly for the most vulnerable. He published his findings in January 2013.

For further information about the individual reforms described in the update, please contact the departmental press office.

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