This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Public service philosophy

02 June 2011

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude MP once more outlined his vision for public service delivery at the BSA annual lecture at the end of May.

While some of the audience, members Business Services Association (BSA), were looking for more specific guidance on the government’s framework for providing public services, Maude concentrated on the philosophy behind how it will be delivered.

His key points included the establishment of the right ‘tight-loose’ balance, ‘pluralism’ rather than monopoly in public sector services, and a partnership approach that encourages any business, particularly SMEs, to come up with new models and ideas.

Maude described public sector reform as operating under a “tight-loose” framework. Operational activity to be controlled tightly from the centre will include strategy, strategic communications, cash, headcount, ICT infrastructure, broad HR operating standards, big projects that carry financial and reputational risk, procurement of commodities, goods and services that can be standardised and purchased in a co-ordinated way. Everything else should be “loose” – this means pushed away from the centre, including the accountability and delivery of front-line services. By tightening controls at the centre, the government has already managed to save £3 to 4 billion over the last financial year. £800 million was saved through renegotiating contracts with major suppliers.

The government is moving away from seeing the public sector as a monopoly provider. Pluralism is essential as it gives more choice to users and pushes power to communities, claimed Maude. Efficiency and innovation exist outside the public sector. As BSA-commissioned research shows, the outsourcing sector makes up 8% of total UK output and employs 10% of the workforce. With 40% of the industry operating in the public sector, this interdependence justifies a shared effort in looking for efficiencies.

The government is looking for new business models, rather than just a binary choice between in-house provision and straight outsourcing. These models will involve more SMEs, civil society organisations and employee mutuals (which may or may be not-for-profit). The private sector will be looked at to provide capital and expertise for these new models. For instance, the newly launched mutual, MyCSP, includes a private sector partner. The government will also often seek to retain a stake in a new mutual.

“There will be less auditing, monitoring and controlling – we need to move away from the control freak mentality. We want to move away from the way public service is delivered, away from big monolithic public bodies. Building service companies need to be creative. They mustn’t wait to be asked, they need to be more entrepreneurial.”

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page


View more articles
Article image

Why the Law Says You Need a Nappy Bin Disposal Service

At home, parents are used to disposing of their babies’ used nappies the same way they do any other domestic waste - bagging it up and sticking it in the r...
Article image

Collaboration key to achieving FM and real estate aims

An indirect route into his FM role has seen Chris Spratt discover a passion for the highly varied role and the benefits it provides to managing agents and ...

Benchmarking maintenance

BSRIA has just published this year's operation and maintenance benchmarking report as a guide for building operators to evaluate their performance against ...
Article image

No visas for low-skilled workers under current government post-Brexit plan

Calls for the UK government to rethink its immigration proposals are growing, following the announcement of its immigration policy set to take effect in Ja...
Article image

Swedish office workers risk cancer to get RFID chip implants

Staff at a hi-tech office block in Stockholm are volunteering to get RFID chip implants in their hands in order to improve workplace convenience. But studi...
Article image

The range of user friendly displays gets bigger

The CAREL range of displays has been expanded with the addition of the pGDx7’’, 10” and 15”, touch screen user interfaces with 7, 10 and 15 inch screens....