2011 and public policy prospects

5 Jan 2011 by Karl Hallam

The coalition government is many things, but one thing it is not is boring. The challenge for any initiative that we work on from Big Society to localism and third sector to commissioning is that the policy has got to be very good indeed to succeed when resources re being cut.

2011 should show us whether the Big Society idea is here to stay or not. Cameron has shown real loyalty to it and gives the impression her cares about it, but when other senior figures mention it almost feels like they are doing it as they think they should, rather than they really believe it.

Localism will struggle for credibility if it feels like the only tangible devolution is the responsibility of wielding the axe. Local government finance will be key here and until the review comes out and the government react it is hard to predict what will happen. But, how long can we persist with Council Tax ratings from 1991?

The third sector needs to perform in a way it never has before if it is to satisfy the government's desires. A quick flick through the specialist press suggests that too many are focused on survival, rather than innovaton. A letter in the Guardian today by the Chief Executive of the Lord Taverners (Matthew Patten who  was a client at for us a Clubs for Young People) is clear that we need a clear out and there are too many charities dependent on the state. It is a view that some would agree with, but when it is your local charity going under it feels a bit different.

Another area to watch in 2011 is the impact of health cuts on areas where the NHS has been collaborating more with local government in recent years. How cosy will those relationships in the face of bed blocking and leisure facility closures?

it won't be a boring year in the public policy world 




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