A People Power Revolution

A People Power Revolution was the final report of the ACEVO Commission on Personalisation, chaired by Matthew Pike. Building on the work Making it Personal the report set out a vision of public services built around the idea of personalisation.

The report welcomed the Labour government’s commitment to a radical devolution of power to individuals. However, it cautioned that without practical measures underpinning this, it risked ending up as little more than empty rhetoric. The report aimed to set out such practical measures.

The report called for:

  • Bottom-up regulation and quality assurance, whereby the central regulatory regime is pared back and the growth of a bottom-up model involving simple quality standards relevant to the size and purpose of the service offered, evidence of social impact and customer feedback. New online outcome management systems can be used to make this information available to purchasers and providers. New local panels should be developed to moderate and review base standards for different services. We recognise that services with high fixed costs face a particular challenge in dealing with more dynamic social markets. We therefore propose new Community Asset Trusts that would manage and in some cases own pooled portfolios of land and buildings and lease these to providers. These structures would also greatly facilitate access to mainstream capital markets.
  • A revolution in the provision of information, advice and advocacy, with greater transparency and availability of information (including through social media), the growth of networks of mutual support, and the provision of advice and advocacy independent from Government. We argue that information and advice should be a top priority for government funding rather than an after thought but that such systems should not be over-costly. New e-social marketplaces should be made available free for users and providers. Providers should work together to develop a social Wikipedia of expert advice.
  • A new mutuality to drive up provider and workforce capacity, with providers and front-line staff coming together to address the capacity gaps they will face in moving to more ‘personalised’ public service markets. In particular we recommend use of wider models such as those developed by 3SC where lead agents constituted as social enterprises manage a large supply chain of third sector organisations.
  • Supporting prevention and the development of social capital, including through greater use of social investment, extension of co-funding, ‘mutual budgets’ allocated to individuals who band together to form mutual support networks, and linking the Government’s initiatives on neighbourhood budgeting and community organisers.
  • Large-scale social investment, to be promoted through a new tax credit – Social Investment Relief (SIR). SIR would make interest and capital repayments from. licensed social investment schemes tax free for UK tax payers. It would be used in particular to capitalise results based funding contracts and investment in community infrastructure via Community Asset Trusts. Tax incentives should also be provided for charitable trusts to use their endowments to invest in projects that are within their charitable remit.

To read the full report, see here.