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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2005): Welfare State - UK

Choice isnít childís play

N. Pearce

Public Servant, issue 29, June 17th 2005, p.12

Author argues that, while the scope of individual choice can profitably be widened, collective decision-making should remain central to public service provision. Full scale marketisation of provision would undermine social justice and community well-being.

Setting out their stall

K. Day

Public Finance, June 24th-30th 2005, p.20-23

The Labour government has introduced competition into the public services such as health and education, and has encouraged private providers to enter the market. It now has to decide how to regulate and manage the market it has created. It needs to begin considering now how to manage organisational failure, including bankruptcy, and how to regulate entry into the market.

'What works' isnít working

N. Lawson

Public Servant, issue 29, June 17th 2005, p.21

Under New Labour, the role of public services is no longer to promote social justice and solidarity but to equip people to compete in the labour market in a global economy. Author calls for a return to the values of fairness and collectivism in public service delivery. Market values of competition and greed need to be kept at bay.

Working with the Third Sector

National Audit Office

London: TSO, 2005 (House of Commons papers, session 2005/06; HC75)

Reports that substantial improvements are needed in the way that government departments provide funding for Third Sector organisations (TSOs) to deliver public services. Identifies the need to improve data on the level of public funds invested, to ensure that departments cover TSOs' overhead costs as well as direct costs, to move away from annual funding, and to introduce a proportionate monitoring process. Notes that payment in advance of expenditure, which enables TSOs to invest to deliver services, is becoming more common, and that efforts have been made to simplify application processes. Recommendations for improvements include: identification of beacon funders to act as centres of excellence, development of joint departmental teams to deal with TSOs, better staff training, and making guidance available via the Web.

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