Letter to Prime Minister

Sir Stephen Bubb, the Chief Executive of charity leaders’ network ACEVO, has written to David Cameron arguing that better public services does not need to mean more Government spending. He says that the economics of public services can be transformed inside a generation by adopting the blueprint for delivering better public services as outlined in ‘Remaking the State’, recently published at ACEVO’s Annual Conference.

In his letter to the Prime Minister Sir Stephen questions the progress which has been made since he and David Cameron helped launch the Open Public Services White Paper in 2011 and states that spending cuts have long-term consequences for the support of communities, vulnerable people and social cohesion.

Sir Stephen says that ‘Remaking the State’ contains recommendations which deliver fiscal prudence at the same time as providing more effective public services via the third sector. It further suggests that the roadmap outlined in ‘Remaking the State’ would restore and reinforce public confidence in the services people receive.

Principally it proposes a Public Service Constitution which not only places people at the centre of decision-making on the services they receive but would give them the right to take a mass action – a super-complaint – should they feel collectively failed by a service.

This would provide a solid foundation on which devolved public services can be rolled out with better cost efficiencies as their delivery would involve those organisations in the third sector best placed to help in the local circumstances. ‘Remaking the State’ also argues that the exchequer can save billions in the long run by investing a fraction of that in expenditure which would future-proof excessive public service spending. In this ‘Five for the Future ‘ policy, Government would increase to 5% of its total spend the allocation on preventative services.

Sir Stephen Bubb says: “We know that many third sector bodies deliver more cost effective public services. They are closer to communities and citizens. We need to empower them to deliver more. Councils, and public bodies generally, need to be told to work with charities and social enterprises in redesigning their services. Instead of passing on cuts to charities councils should be using them to deliver better and deliver differently and innovatively.

“If councils and other public bodies simply revert to type and try to pass the buck with by the redistribution of cuts then ultimately communities will pay the price. Devolution and the transformation of public services gives us a once in a lifetime chance to transform their quality and efficiency – ‘Five for the Future’ proposes an achievable objective by which the economics of delivering public services could be transformed inside a generation. High quality public services which would be underwritten by the Public Services Constitution” 

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