The Open Public Services White Paper aims to 'encourage innovation and give people more choice and control over the services they use by putting power directly in the hands of millions of families and thousands of communities'.
Government has a habit of creating a false dilemma for itself: innovative but potentially flaky or safe and dull?
Like many of the best innovations, first aid training was a simple concept with a powerful impact – equip people with the skills to help out other people.
If you take one thing away from this series, it’s the insight that the only way to make savings sustainably is to start from how services can be better, not from how to save money.
An important challenge now for chief executives and service leaders is how to create the right environment for radical innovation across the organisation, supported with the right balance of risk and reward. But this doesn’t mean creating an innovative culture for its own sake, but a culture where staff feel empowered and supported to affect change and adapt their own practice.
As cuts are made and pressure on public services mounts, it is increasingly recognised that charities, voluntary groups and enterprises will be central in creating the public services of the future.
Meaningful community participation can be a powerful way to respond to social challenges and to prompt redesign of public services. With appropriate support, communities can and want to get involved.
Partnership with service users is part of the day job for many frontline staff. Teachers can’t teach if students don’t learn. Doctors can’t heal if patients don’t comply with treatments. And yet public services are rarely designed with these principles in mind. The implicit assumption – in design terms at least – is that service users don’t want to play more of a role, and that it’s only the domain of professionals to take decisions and direct resources.
Following last week’s Spending Review, it’s likely you will feel under pressure to cut new approaches or those that at first glance appear marginal and low impact. But it is these approaches that will save money and alleviate pressure on public services in the future.
Last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review has made the challenge critically clear: how can we save money in public services without significant harm to society?
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