Headlines: August 8th, 1997

Governing the United Kingdom in 15 years time will be very different to the way it is governed today. Finding out how different it will be is the task of Public Services Minister David Clark. In the White Paper to be published in the Autumn he will set our a vision that will take account of developments such as information technology and show how Government can relate better to the needs of people and businesses.The White Paper will draw on a number of projects involving both public and private sectors and through a consultation process it is hoped that new ideas will emerge. Dr Clark said: “The scope of the Paper will include developments in local government, schools, jobs, the health service and everywhere that government bears on people’s lives. I will be consulting widely with all those who have an interest. My Department will be working closely with other Departments, in particular with the Treasury, given the importance of the Governments Comprehensive Spending Review, to answer some radical questions:

  • What steps are we taking to restore the peoples trust in government and public bodies?
  • How can we make life easier for the citizen and business?
  • How can we make sure that we take account of peoples views of government services and the way they are delivered?
  • How can we make sure we are getting best value for money?
  • How can we work across institutional barriers and be a government of foresight rather than hindsight?
  • How can we best use all the potential of IT, not just to do what we do now faster or more cheaply but to reshape services?

The key challenges that the document will address are:

  • cleaning up politics;
  • rooting out waste and inefficiency in public spending, and getting results;
  • listening to the people and developing services to meet their
  • needs; and breaking down the institutional barriers and working better together.

Outlining his expectations of the White Paper Dr Clark said: “There is a lot of exciting work currently being done around the country on modernising and improving public services. The Better Government programme will build on and drive forward this work. But we are a long way from realising the full potential of our public services. We can achieve this by restoring public service values and integrity and demonstrating our commitment to them. Better Government will provide a modern, fair and strong vision of how the public services should serve every man, woman and child.