Tag Archives: open public services

Will Lansley’s NHS reforms make episodes like the PIP implant scandal more common?

Such is the argument deployed by the editor of the UK’s leading medical journal, Richard Horton, in analysing the implications of both the recent breast implant scare and the Health and Social Care Bill for the NHS.

Horton acknowledges that the specific case of PIP, and the industrial-grade silicone they appear to have used in breast implants, represents clear regulatory failures at the hands of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).  The Health and Social Care Bill has very little to say about how the way in which medical devices are regulated and any changes to the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 27 Comments

Linda Jack writes: My solutions for improving public services

Yesterday I had my say about the concerns I have about the whole scale marketization of public services, so you are quite entitled to ask what would my solution be to the undoubted challenge to improve them?

Firstly – electoral reform coupled with a duty for local and public authorities to engage more meaningfully with the communities they represent. Involving service users as of right, in the design and delivery of services. I want to be able to elect both local and national politicians in a way that improves both their accountability to me but also their interest in doing …

Posted in Op-eds | 20 Comments

Linda Jack writes: Public services – open for whom?

It seems extraordinary to me, that hot on the heels of conference having, so recently, resoundingly rejected the marketization of the NHS and the concept of outsourcing to “any willing provider” – Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander yet again embrace an approach to delivering public services in the Open Public Services White Paper that flies in the face of Lib Dem policy and values. What is deeply shocking to me and I am sure many of you, is the assertion in the introduction that:

We are not the first government to realise the power of open public services, others have

Posted in Op-eds | 39 Comments

LibLink | Reforming public services puts power with the people – Alexander and Letwin

After Nick Clegg’s HuffPo debut yesterday, Danny Alexander has co-written a piece with the Conservatives’ Oliver Letwin on the Government’s Open Public Services White Paper:

Our society is blighted by the persistent failure to extend equal opportunity, dignity and worth to all. Inequalities in access to good schools, high quality healthcare, safe places to play, culture, sporting opportunities, decent homes and so much more leave our society less free, less fair and less united.

In order to ensure that every citizen is given the opportunities they deserve this Coalition Government has already moved quickly to lower taxes for the

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

Opinion: Schools should suit working parents

Like many parents of four-year-olds right now, I’m preparing for the big move to primary school this September. Our new school is doing a great job of easing the transition from nursery for our son; but as full-time working parents the difference between nursery and school is deeply stressful.

Nursery is run for working parents: open 8-6, three meals a day provided, flexible arrival and departure time, and one itemised monthly bill. School is very different: closed 14 weeks of the year, and finishing around 3pm the other 38. A whole mini-industry of breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, holiday clubs and summer schools has grown up to fill the gap for families who can’t have an adult at home so much of the time. Each one has its own waiting list, hours, costs, payment methods and reputation for quality … or not. Even school dinners are paid for separately. With less than 2 months to go, we’ve a lot of arrangements still to sort out.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 46 Comments

Opinion: Driving better performance across public services

25 years ago, when I was Leader of Kingston Council, Margaret Thatcher was planning to introduce Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) for services like bin collection and road sweeping. The Council Director responsible for these services started working out what measures he would take to improve efficiency and cut costs. But then the government announced a delay in CCT so he proposed shelving these plans. I said no.

I often recall this incident when the subject of competition in public services comes up. Liberals should never be afraid of competition where it is likely to lead to better public services. Nor …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments
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