Headlines: June 16th, 2005

The Welsh Assembly has set out ambitious plans to raise standards across the public services. “Delivering the Connections” is being described as a ‘far-reaching programme for change and reform’.The proposals have been drawn up to build on the investment that has been made in public services in Wales. It sets out a five-year programme of action to make services more responsive, more accessible to people and to improve their effectiveness in meeting people’s needs and tackling their problems.

The Assembly Government says the Action Plan challenges public service organisations, from Government departments and local authorities, to the NHS and quangos, to find new ways of working together to deliver services designed to meet individual needs. It wants to see better information and advice for service users and ‘one stop shop’ arrangements where specialist services from a range of organisations can be accessed through a single service point. It calls, too, for better customer care and challenges public service organisations to get better value from their budgets with savings being passed on to front line services.

Public Service Minister Sue Essex said “Delivering the Connections” would drive forward the Assembly Government’s vision for public services with people and communities at their heart. “They need to be involved in the way services are planned and delivered in their community. We need better access for the vulnerable and disadvantaged and different ways for people to access services, which reflect their diverse circumstances and needs,” she added.

Services were improving as a result of increased investment but this momentum had to be built on. She said serious change on the ground would not happen by waving a magic wand and the five-year programme would require sustained commitment from public service leaders, stakeholders, the workforce and all those involved.

” This is a unique opportunity to develop a distinctive public services agenda for Wales. As well as meeting our needs and circumstances this agenda for change will make the most of the wealth of talent we have working in our public sector,” she said.