Book News: July 17th, 2007

By Simon Parker and Sophia Parker.This pamphlet from Demos contains a collection of essays and analysis from a wide range of public sector experts and practitioners. It claims that top-down reform is not enough to win public trust in services.The pamphlet’s chapters offer timely lessons on how public services can better engage their users based on examples of innovation in progress.

The authors argue that genuinely supporting the involvement of users and communities is a way to bring about a higher quality of service, a stronger public realm, and the flow of innovative ideas. It means that across public services there is a need to strengthen the scope for input from users, improve the opportunities for collective accountability for local services and strengthen the ability of frontline staff to be sources of innovation and collaboration.

The pamphlet draws attention to a range of important challenges including the need to create truly collaborative public services, which allow users and communities to work with professionals and institutions to shape and contribute to them. This is important because so much expertise about what makes for effective public services lies with the user, whether a homeless,teenager, a patient with diabetes or a parent-governor of a school.

The pamphlet is available at: