Public service reform - history and the RSA

26 Jun 2009 by Karl Hallam

The RSA's 2020 Public Services Trust has started to publish papers. One of the first is a Brief history of public service reform and it is a good read. It is one of three papers under the banner of 'scoping the challenges'.

It outlines what they call a new settlement. What they suggest is that the settlement must:

1. Be responsive to the existing and new sources of insecurity and disadvantage that citizens face today - including how these are distributed across the lifecycle, how they differ can by gender, ethnicity, class, and spatially, and how they can combine in ways that entrench and perpetuate disadvantage; and

2. Have at its heart the positive aspirations of citizens - for themselves and the lives they want to lead, for their families, and for their communities.

The section on accountability is interesting with some acknowledgement of the difference between talking about localism and doing it. Cadence's work for ippr North on their Public Service Reform Commission has looked at this and suggests that there the centralist approach has de-skilled local government and that this is another barrier to overcome.

We are looking forward to the fiscal paper in the scoping the challenges series.

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