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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2001): Welfare State - UK

ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

K. Downes

Third Sector, no.213, 2001, p.9

The voluntary sector is becoming more deeply engaged in delivering public services under contract to local authorities. Article discusses whether this will lead to them becoming more or less accountable to users.

IN THE RIGHT VEIN?

R. Winchester

Community Care, Jul. 19th-25th 2001, p.18-19

Looking at the proposals for increased private sector involvement in public sector services, this article examines some of the fundamental obstacles to public private partnerships. It discusses whether government plans are going to improve services or whether it is just looking for a way to wash its hands of failure.

INTERESTS AT THE HEART OF NEW LABOUR

M. Seddon

Guardian, Aug. 17th 2001, p.18

Thinks tanks such as the Institute for Public Policy Research and networks such as the New Local Government Network are heavily influencing government plans for schools and hospitals. These institutions are dominated by businesses which are set to benefit from the public-private partnerships they promote.

LABOUR'S UPHILL STRUGGLE AGAINST INEQUALITY

N. Timmins

Financial Times, July 30th 2001, p.17

In order to reduce inequality the government will have to increase both in-work and out-of-work benefits faster than earnings rise over the next two to three years. It is also committed to investing heavily in health and education in order to improve services and retain middle class support for them. It is looking increasingly unlikely that the government will be able to do both within the limits it has placed on public expenditure.

MANAGING THE PROFESSIONS: THE CASE OF THE TEACHERS

R. Pring

Political Quarterly, vol.72, 2001, p.278-290

Article outlines a changing view of the management of public services using teaching as a case study. The change is from:

  • a management which provides a framework only, leaving the professionals to determine the nature of the service offered, through:
  • a management which sets the rules and framework within which a more market-driven shaping of public services is to emerge (thereby) diminishing the professional role of the teacher, to:
  • a management which sets the "targets" and exercises control through the reward of good performance or retribution in case of failure on the part of those employed to deliver the targets.

A new management-speak reflects this shift in public service management, a language of target setting and outcomes, productivity and performance indicators, inputs and value added, customers and service delivery.

MINISTRIES' CLASH POSES THREAT TO UNIVERSAL BANK

B. Groom and J. Mackintosh

Financial Times, Aug. 2nd 2001, p.2

Reports that Treasury officials want to restrict the new Post Office card account, which the government has to finance, to the 2m-4m benefit claimants without bank accounts. Research by Consignia, however, suggests that 6m people would prefer to receive benefits through the card account.

MINISTRY ROW MAY DELAY BENEFITS CLAIMANTS BANK

J. Mackintosh

Financial Times, Aug. 8th 2001, p.4

The new Universal Bank to be run by Consignia may be delayed by a row between the Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry. The two departments can't agree on whether to restrict the card account to 2m-4m benefit claimants without bank accounts. If the decisions are delayed further it could result in the computer system not being ready for the 2003 deadline.

THEY HAVEN'T THOUGHT IT THROUGH

D. Willetts

Guardian, Aug. 3rd 2001, p.20

Argues that the Labour government's reforms of public services will fail because they are insufficiently radical. Labour has introduced a raft of special initiatives while not tackling core problems.