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2020 Vision: A far-sighted approach to transforming public services

Supported by Accenture.
Publication: June 2010
2020 Vision: A far-sighted approach to transforming public services

Public services are a cornerstone of British society and it is vital they be the best that can be offered. Given the scale of the challenges Britain faces, including the current fiscal crisis and the long-term crisis driven by, among other things, an ageing population, if public services are not transformed, there is a danger that they will simply be cut to the point that they can no longer cope with demand. 2020 Vision: A far-sighted approach to transforming public services discusses how best to enable citizen involvement in setting priorities for public action, delivering outcomes from services and holding service providers and government accountable for their performance. The report analyses the barriers to transformation, recommends steps to overcome them, and provides some practical examples of the types of policies that could create the conditions for transformation. At a time when a new coalition government has come to power and will need to deal with the present and long-term crises, 2020 Vision provides a framework for action to ensure public services continue to play a central role in making life better for all.

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Posted by Courtenay Young (Edinburgh)
28 July 2010, 9:50:37 AM
There was a discussion on Radio 4 (28/7/10) with someone from the 20/20 Public Services Trust about making the amount spent on public services more personal to individuals. The way to involve people even more directly is to allow them to be able to allocate their income tax towards the public services that they support or use. If there was a simple form on the back of their income tax submission / statement which allowed them to allocate (say) 50% of their tax to the NHS; 10% to the Armed Services; 10% to foreign aid; 20% to education; 5% to better roads; and 5% to cancer research; and then - the key point - if the total of those allocated amounts would go to form the future budgets for those public services, you would have true democracy in action. Other (less popular public services: like (perhaps) quangos, inflated Civil Service salaries, etc.) would receive proportionally less money and could - in due course - make public appeals to advocate the work they do and ask for citizens to allocate more towards their budgets. Simple and moreover it takes governmental political manipulations off the hook and out of the picture. Obviously the Chancellor would have to be able to have some say somewhere, but s/he can do this with indirect taxation, VAT, petrol & alcohol duties, stamp duties, NI payments, etc. all of which amounts ought to be targeted towards specific goals: petrol tax towards road improvements; alcohol duty towards health information, additional NHS resources and prevention; stamp duty towards improved social housing; NI payments towards (as was originally intended) the state pension; etc.

 

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