Headlines: July 2nd, 1998

The Government has launched Service First – the new guideline for how managers in the public sector should approach providing public services and the replacement to the existing charter system.

In tune with Better Government thinking seen in earlier initiatives, Service First puts the customer firmly in the driving seat.

It promises a review of existing charters and other current ways of setting standards, and offers nine new principles of public service delivery. Public services should:

* set standards of service
* be open and provide full information
* consult and involve
* encourage access and the promotion of choice
* treat all fairly
* put things right when they go wrong
* use resources effectively
* innovate and improve
* work in partnership with other providers.

Launching Service First, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Dr David Clark said: “The broader programme of Better Government means putting people first. It means shaping public services to meet the needs of the citizen.

“Service First, as part of this wider programme, is a tough new approach. It signals the new direction in which this government aims to steer the public sector – a public sector which considers what its public wants and needs.”

There is a web site to accompany the initiative. Its address is: www.servicefirst.gov.uk