2020 PST Launch - Equality, Cohesion & Public Services

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30 June 2010 - 08:30 to 10:00
Venue: RSA, 8 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6EZ


Zubaida Haque, Independent Research Consultant

Peter Taylor-Gooby, Professor of Social Equality at the University of Kent & Director of the ESRC Social Contexts & Responses to Risk Programme.

Polly Vizard, Research Fellow at the Centre for Analysis & Social Exclusion, LSE.


Rajinder Mann, Executive Director Black Leadership Initiative, Network for Black Professionals

The 2020 Public Services Trust invites you to the launch of Equality, Cohesion and Public Services, a report which brings together contributions from three respected authors to look at the role of public services in reducing inequality and promoting cohesion.  It asks whether the reform principles suggested by the Commission on 2020 Public Services could take us forward, and how they might be put into practice.


Public service policies have never been more focused on tackling damaging inequalities and promoting social cohesion.  As Zubaida Haque remarks in describing these changes, the extent and rapidity of legislative reform has been ‘remarkable’.  Yet as Peter Taylor-Gooby points out, the changes experienced by citizens have been far less dramatic.  Despite some notable achievements in the face of formidable obstacles, services have generally struggled to reduce outcome gaps.


Our settlement has focussed on the fair distribution of entitlements, which although a necessary condition for a more equal society, is clearly not sufficient, underplaying as it does the challenges of converting entitlements into valuable outcomes.   Polly Vizard suggests that the capability approach, developed by Amartya Sen, might offer a better way to determine public action and drive progress.  Equality in the central and valuable capabilities to enjoy healthy and legal security, for example, need to be understood and supported with reference not purely to outcomes (what people are actually doing and being), but in relation to their treatment (discrimination, dignity and respect) and autonomy (empowerment, choice and control).  Rights and human rights frameworks may provide important new sources of ‘bottom-up’ pressure for improvement.


The authors will present and discuss their findings.


We are delighted that Rajinder Mann, Executive Director Black Leadership Initiative, Network for Black Professionals and 2020 Commissioner has agreed to respond to the report.

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