Daily Telegraph, Feb. 21st 2011, p. 1 + 2
The Prime Minister has pledged to bring about a complete transformation of public services that will release them from state control. Reforms to be announced in a White Paper will propose an automatic right for private companies and charities to bid to run public services. Providers would be paid by results and would earn more as service quality improved.
(For article by David Cameron see Daily Telegraph, Feb. 21st 2011, p. 20)
J. Sherman, B. Kenbar, and A. Ralph
The Times, Feb. 10th 2011, p. 6, 7
Thousands of services for the disabled, the mentally ill, and the elderly are to close this year as councils start implementing massive budget cuts.
Social Policy and Administration, vol. 45, 2011, p. 54-68
Personalisation has become a unifying theme and dominant narrative across public services in England. Key to understanding the dominance of personalisation is the recognition that it is a story told about public services, their history and the roles and experiences of people who use them and work in them. This article identifies five key themes that are central to the personalisation story-line, noting their reliance on a combination of formal evidence, personal narratives and common sense. These are:
The article goes on to examine some of the complexities that audiences face in translating a story-line into policy programmes and frontline practice.
The Guardian, Feb. 1st 2011, p. 13
The communities secretary Eric Pickles has stonewalled appeals from councils to allow them to spread their budget cuts over a period of four years, meaning town halls will have to make their biggest savings in the next 12 months. The confirmation of the 2011-12 budgets will trigger a series of announcements by councils about the scale of service and job cuts.
The Independent, Feb. 9th 2011, p. 9
The article reports on the cuts to public services in Manchester, as the city is faced with a reduction in funding of £110m in 2010/11 and £60m in 2012/13. Manchester City Council will have to cut a number of services: public conveniences, libraries, swimming pools, weekly bin collection, and night-time street cleaning. Lollypop patrols will also be cut from September 2011 together with new road safety measures. Motorists travelling into the city will have to pay for parking both earlier and later in the day and on Sundays. The city is seeking long-term savings of 25 per cent on its total budget. There will be cuts to the Supporting People budget, resulting in the closure of 340 homes that allow people with disabilities to live independently. £8m is being cut from the early intervention grant; this includes Sure Start. Cuts, although not on the same scale, are also happening in North Yorkshire and at York City Council. Redundancies have been announced in all three councils.
G. Kelly and N. Pearce
Public Finance, Jan. 2011, p. 36-39
The authors argue that the coalition government's programme of welfare reform is driven by the aim of cutting spending rather than based on consistent principles. Firstly, the government is removing financial support from low- and middle-income working families, thus undermining its stated goal of rewarding work. Secondly, it is unclear what principle the government is following as regards who should be eligible for welfare support - specifically, the balance between universalism, means-testing and a contribution-based system. Finally, it is unclear what type of family structure the welfare state is seeking to support. Its decision to remove child benefit from households where someone is paying the higher rate of tax punishes stay-at-home mothers, while its cuts in support for childcare will fall hardest on dual earner households on modest incomes.