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From Social Security To Social Productivity: a vision for 2020 Public Services

The final report of the Commission on 2020 Public Services
Publication: September 2010
From Social Security To Social Productivity: a vision for 2020 Public Services

The report calls for a complete reconfiguring of public services around the needs and capabilities of citizens, based on the principle of social productivity. It argues that our public services are increasingly unsustainable. The Commission calls for a new deal between citizens and the state, based on social productivity - greater social responsibility and more intelligent collaboration between citizens and public services.

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Comments 1 to 5 of 5
Posted by Antonio A (London)
14 September 2010, 1:55:00 PM
What we are not addressing is the fact that the British Local Authority system is not able to cope with modern economic models. Having a thousand and one little entities all doing what they think fit with whatever little budget may trickle from the 'lean and mean' envisaged central government makes it impossible for the country to move forward with a quick pace and efficiently. What we need to explore is changing our current system, in many ways a left over from a feudal and territorial past where every duke, count and lord had holdings and ran them as they saw fit, to a regional government, not a unitary deal or a GO structure, but a truly democratic regional government that can handle budgets evenly across the region and can facilitate national implementations by working with other regions (we assume there will be a few of those) to foster national growth. A big society still needs a well structured governing body, not a neighbourhood church committee, which is what, in terms of budget power, size and concern, many of our LAs end up being. Out from the feudal past into a well structure family of regions catering to the local needs. Of course, that requires a change to our parliamentary structure...it will never happen.
Posted by Mike Llywelyn Cox (Norwich)
14 September 2010, 2:18:22 PM
Coordinated civil action?
Posted by Simon Abbott (Croydon)
14 September 2010, 8:27:43 PM
Thanks Antonio for your comments although I think your comments about a 'neighbourhood church comittee' to be extremely off the mark currently. Lets take inner london where do you find active community groups taking the lead and providing key services for the community such as after school clubs? Churches! they are currently more a part of the 'Big Society' than most people realise.
Posted by George Jones (London)
21 September 2010, 5:05:31 PM
Eight criticisms
1. Riddled with abstractions and the waffly jargon of management-speak.
2. Gripped by neo-marxist notions that there are entities called "the State" and "the local state".
3.Concept of "negotiated autonomy" can be put alongside "conditional autonomy" and "earned autonomy" as the latest wheeze to justify central control.
4."Minimum national standards" can never be stable and are centralising in practice. Celebrate diversity through local choice.
5. Mayors, sheriffs and commissioners are examples of one-person rule - the fuhrer principle. Celebrate collective decison-making.
6. Instead of "a multi-area approach to budgeting and service allocation", advocate a "multi-service and multi-budget" approach to governing in a locality.
7. Instead of wanting bigger areas to suit the convenience of providers and administrators, focus on areas citizens recognise as the areas with which they identify - the cities, towns, counties, villages and neighbourhoods where they live and vote.
8. Instead of incomprehensibly complex financial recommendations, decentralise taxation from HM Treasury by reducing grants and enabling local government to replace grant with local taxes that bear on their local voters, one on property and the other on income, following the Layfield (1976) and Lyons (2007)Reports. As long as HM Treasury controls the funding, there is no genuine decentralisation and localism. As long as it controls 96% of taxation and operates council-tax capping, Whitehall centralisation will prevail, and local bodies will be pressure groups seeking more grant not responsible decision-makers accountable to local citizens.
The 2020 Public Services Commission has a major gap in the report - neglecting to investigate decentralisation and localisation of taxation to elected local government which reflects local representative democracy.
Posted by Gary (Darlington)
24 September 2010, 3:23:25 PM
Simon, Where Antonio said "neighbourhood church committee", replace with "neighbourhood watch committee" or "parent-teacher association committee". Tsk tsk, ignoring all the pertinent points of Antonio's post and instead choosing to respond only on the matter of a hastily selected example - are you a politician by chance? Also, don't make the mistake of thinking that what happens in London is typical of what happens in the rest of the country.
There's a paradox to be resolved: On one hand we've got increasing calls for LAs, PCTs, benefits offices, social services, etc to work together, not just locally but nationally. And on the other hand, LAs and PCTs now have permission to break themselves into ever-smaller fragments by outsourcing.

 

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