Headlines: September 26th, 1997

David Clark, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, wants to know how to re-energised the citizens Charter. He said: “It is essential to re-energise the Charter programme and give it a more dynamic purpose. It is quite clear that the programme must focus more directly on the needs and wishes of the people who use and deliver public services on a daily basis.”He is seeking views on how best o breathe new life into the Charter programme. There will be consultations with members of the public, representatives and public bodies ranging from local and central government to consumer groups and think tanks.

Dr Clark said: ” In the past the Charter programme has suffered from a top-down approach, where government imposed its own ideas of what was expected from public services. I want to find out what people really want from the Charter programme. By focusing on the citizen’s perspective I hope to make sure that public service reforms are made because they make sense to people – and not just because they suit government.

Questions to which answers are being sought include:

  • is there a need for more up-to-date criteria for providing excellence of service?
  • how can standards be enforced in public services?
  • what is the role of public service consumers in improving those services?
  • how can people be encouraged to complain about poor service?

Comments should be made by 21 November 1997 to Dr Sharima Rasanayagam Room 69A/G, Citizen’s Charter Unit, Cabinet Office (OPS), Horse Guards Road, London, SW1P 3AL. The proposed changes for the Charter programme will be published in the New Year as part of the Better Government White Paper.

The consultation document is available from the same address or by telephone on 0171 270 1882 or can be accessed at http://www.open.gov.uk/charter/ccuhome.htm.