By Catherine Needham
New moves towards transferring the purchasing power of the public sector towards individual users of public services are radical and empowering, but a debate is urgently needed on the way these reforms are to be implemented according to this report from the PMPA.
Personalization is gaining ground. In healthcare, there are already plans to tailor health provision around the individual, including personal health budgets, while employment services are increasingly offering personal adviser models. Pupil-led approaches to building design and teaching are also under development.
As procurement and much of commissioning moves to users of public services, the public sector’s role must become smaller and more strategic – assessing need and allocating money; managing markets; and light touch regulation. This change provides significant opportunities for financial savings, but there are areas of concern. Practical and ethical matters involved need to be examined to ensure the new options are truly effective. Public sector commissioners and providers will have to change, in recognition that the citizen is now in the driving seat.
The report is available from the PMPA.: www.pmpa.co.uk