Headlines: September 8th, 1997

Mark Addison has been appointed Director of the Better Regulation Unit at the Office of Public Service. He was Director of Safety Policy at the Health and Safety Executive for three years. He will play an important role in steering the policy and implementation of the Government’s thrust to move closer to a customer focus. The task of moving central and local authority services from a focus on the organisation with delivery arranged in compartments is daunting. An early target for this shift in thinking is planning application information, which at the moment comes from many sources and requires effort and persistence on the part of the business or individual seeking to find out what is involved and what has to be done.In the ‘new look’ approach services are being planned from the customers point of view. The elderly, the young and the voluntary sector have been identified as key groups for this development. For the longer term future services might concentrate on specific episodes in people’s lives such as becoming unemployed, reaching pension age, or buying a car licence.

The customer focus approach is being trialled in pilot projects under the ‘Access to Government’ initiative. In Hartlepool there is a typical trial where the council have developed a one stop shop for local people and businesses.

Mark Addison’s new role will include responsibility for taking forward the recommendations of the Better Regulation Task Force which is chaired by Christopher Haskins, Chairman of Northern Foods plc. The Task force is due to start work in October when the names of the members will be announced. It is expected that a more unified service for business will be high on its agenda.