2020 Public Services - final report

15 Sep 2010 by Karl Hallam

The RSA hosted 2020 Public Services Trust has released a final report. It is called From Social Security To Social Productivity: a vision for 2020 Public Services ... don't let that put you off too much, it's still worth a look. Not just because of the recommendations, but for the way they have tried position with respect to the moves so far by the new government, around the Big Society and of course the cuts. The call for 'social productivity' (the term they use for the way a new deal between citizen, society and the state might be achieved) might be what the Big Society would be if it worked? Matthew Taylor's blog post on the report poses the question as to whether the BS stuff will really have an impact on the Comprehensive Spending Review 'My suspicion is that our report would be welcomed in Number Ten and ignored in the Treasury. It fits with the philosophy of the Coalition but not with the concrete policies emerging from many departments. The really big question now is whether the ideals of the Big Society will shape the strategy for the comprehensive spending review. If yes we would be in for a challenging but also very creative time in public services; if ‘no' then the next few years may indeed - as the TUC suggests - be a period of pretty unmitigated pain and conflict'.

The final report talks of the need for 3 profound shifts in public services:


  1. A shift of culture
  2. A shift in power
  3. A shift in finance
it goes into some detail on these and their are some interesting thoughts in there. However, as with the ippr North Public Service Paradox report on public services last year, which we did some work on and which Taylor was a bit rude about, it struggles with the size of the topic and the leap of faith required to think that government might be prepared to devolve anything other than budget cuts.



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