Headlines: March 23rd, 2009

A campaign is being launched to make greater personalisation of public services a necessity rather than an optional extra.

The New Local Government Network (NLGN), a think tank set up by senior local government figures to re-energise the sector, is publishing ‘People Power How Can We Personalise Public Services?’ today (Monday). The report explores the developing relationship between the state and the individual, with more and more services moving to empower citizens.

The report points to introduction of individual budgets in adult social care; residents being given a wider say over the housing they receive; and citizens being given a greater say in when and where they access health services.

Too often, however, NLGN says this agenda has been treated as an optional extra. The group says new research undertaken by the network demonstrates why it is now becoming a necessity and why the state should no-longer prescribe how services should be delivered.

Tied to the launch of People Power, the NLGN has written an open letter to the government’s independent review of NHS dentistry calling for urgent improvements in service provision.

It says that when the typical dentist has received the benefit of around £175,000 of taxpayer investment in their training and development, they should have greater obligation to treat NHS patients on qualifying than the current one year rule.

It points out that if basic provision of dentistry is substandard, aspirations for a choice between providers within a public service framework is not possible.