Headlines: February 22nd, 2002

Prime Minister Tony Blair, responding to the open letter from senior public service figures urging him to give greater support to public servants, see Publicnet Briefing 21.02.02, has offered a meeting to discuss the issues raised in the letter. While claiming that the Government is addressing issues such as recruitment with thousands more doctors, nurses, teachers and police officers, and pay, with public sector pay is rising faster than pay in the private sector, he acknowledged that there is much more to do.He supported the letter writers’ concerns about negative media coverage of public services and recognized the demoralizing impact of unfair media coverage.

Although the letter to the Prime Minister did not specifically express any concern about the involvement of the private sector in delivering public services the reply made it clear that there is a role for the private sector in helping to achieve excellence.

The Prime Minister did not respond to the main appeal for a major campaign to champion public servants, nor letter did not make any reference to the concern about the growing and uncoordinated, requirements for audit, inspection and regulation, and paperwork.