Localism and the Big Society

Open public service reform should not be a cover for serving corporate interests. Mutualism and its fellows could instead serve to enhance industrial democracy

Alex Marsh argues that to embrace the call to go further and faster on public service reform would play into the hands of corporate actors and lead to a further concentration of economic power. The development of alternative models of service provision that enhance industrial democracy should be pursued instead. Last week on this blog, Will Tanner argued that the […]

Localism may actually reduce citizen voice because information on citizen redress is either not collected or ignored

Citizen redress is essential for any government committed to administering accountable and efficient public sector services. However, as Jane Tinkler argues, the introduction of more complex provider networks in the Big Society threatens the already unrecognised potential of citizen voice in providing a system of checks and balances. There is one discussion point on the government’s localism agenda (as we […]

The concept of Open Public Services is being restricted by a focus on mutuals at the expense of large providers

The restructuring of public service delivery is a welcome reform, but as Will Tanner argues, the government’s overarching preference for mutual organisations over large providers – and the emphasis on narrow policy areas – will not yield any significant and long-lasting impact. The Government has made clear its intention to transform traditional models of public service delivery. Launching the Open […]

A more direct way of connecting places and Parliament is needed in order for service delivery to move into the 21st century

In this age of austerity, there are many complex issues that face our society. In tackling them, communities need to be given more control over their local public services and budgets. Sir Merrick Cockell advocates giving neighbourhoods greater decision making powers as a way of progressing into the future. Aside from dealing with the major issue of unprecedented budget cuts […]

For the future good of our high streets we need a better understanding of the social and economic life of local worlds in the context of global change

Profound changes are occurring on high streets throughout the country. In order for policies aimed at their planning and stewardship to succeed, a greater understanding of how high streets adapt to changing economic conditions and serve their neighbourhoods is needed. Suzanne Hall argues for a multidisciplinary approach in understanding the social and economic particularities of high streets.     Since late 2008, […]

Road safety is at risk if we ignore targets and the lack of funding in some local authorities

The downward trend in road deaths seen in recent years should not be taken for granted. Neil Greig argues that road safety is at risk if we ignore the efficacy of targets and the lack of funding in some local authorities. The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) recently gave evidence to Louise Ellman’s House of Commons Transport Select Committee Inquiry […]

‘Big Society’ volunteering in long term care must not substitute for skilled paid staff

Volunteer workers could transform the long-term care sector. However, Shereen Hussein emphasizes that a greater understanding of the strengths and weakness of a voluntary workforce is needed in order to effectively identify the services it is best equipped to provide. The government should think of volunteers as a complement to professional staff rather than their replacement. ‘Big Society’ volunteers are […]

Local authorities must invest in prevention and collaborative working in order to create tangible improvements in service provision

Stephen Hughes argues that public service providers must focus on achieving tangible outcomes for individuals in the poorest areas, and that this will require a rethink of the entire system centred around a multiple-agency model  that can overcome professional prejudice and compartmentalisation. Last month I was invited to give evidence to the CLG Select Committee around the subject of “Community Budgets” but […]