Abstracts: November 30th, 2004

This report from the Audit Commission reveals that a recent poll of local government services found that the public want more responsive public sector services and they want to see more choice of provider and of services as a way of getting them. They also want high universal standards, not a postcode lottery. But there is a debate about whether greater choice is the right approach to improving public services. The two sides have taken entrenched positions with little movement into the no man’s land between them. The poll also clearly demonstrated that there was no enthusiasm for paying more for choice through higher taxes. More is being invested in public services, so the issue is how can greater choice be introduced in a way which gives good value for money and, arguably, better value for money than other ways of seeking improvement.The challenges are to ensure that greater choice is matched with greater fairness; to remove practical barriers, such as those preventing greater use of direct payments for people receiving social care, and to manage the limitations of choice in producing more responsive services.

Published by the Audit Commission:http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/reports/NATIONAL-REPORT.asp?CategoryID=&ProdID=B7162BE7A71A-4237-AD67-DC4DEB9EFFAC&SectionID=sect1#