Headlines: July 27th, 2009

Replacing targets with entitlements to public services will make little difference on the frontline. This is a key finding from a poll of Publicnet Briefing readers. Creating entitlements for patients, parents, school leavers, young people and the unemployed is an essential part of the Building Britain’s Future initiative launched by the Prime Minister in June.

The Government’s strategy for developing world class services is to disperse power to the service users so that they will drive the system rather than the providers of the services doing so. The poll found that creating an entitlement was unlikely to give more power to the users with 71 per cent of respondents believing that it will make little or no difference. Only 28 per cent believed that there would be any shift of power.

Replacing centrally prescribed targets with a user entitlement could also be a powerful motivator for frontline staff and managers by allowing them to focus totally on the user without any concern about achieving targets. The poll found that there will be little or no motivation from the introduction of entitlements with 71 per cent taking this view.

Within the groups who responded to the poll, members of local councils were the most pessimistic about the outcome of moving from target to entitlements with 78 per cent believing that it will have little or no impact on either moving power to users or motivating staff and managers.

Local government officers took a more optimistic view with 40 per cent expecting greater user power and increased motivation for staff and managers.

Civil servants expressed a range of views with 50 per cent foreseeing greater user empowerment and 75 per cent believing it will make little difference to those providing the service.

Full details of the poll are available at Publicnet. http://www.publicnet.co.uk/features/2009/07/23/from-targets-to-entitlement-poll-17-july-2009-findings/?preview=true&preview_id=9169&preview_nonce=0ab8c0edf7