29 May 2009

Public Service Reform... but not as we know it!

This is a "story of how democracy can make public services genuinely efficient" by Hilary Wainwright and Matthew Little - and published by Compass and UNISON with support from the Transnational Institute and the International Centre for Participation Studies, Bradford University and distributed by Picnic Publishing. 

This piece sets out to discuss why "few political leaders in either of the two parties responsible for founding the welfare state positively promote the idea of public sector staff themselves working with citizens and elected politicians creatively to improve the services that they deliver". It challenges the view of "the Westminster village" that "public service reform means marketisation and outsourcing to the private sector".

"This book recounts the story of a workforce that seems to have ‘energised’ itself through playing an active part in a well organised branch of UNISON. Between 2000 and 2002, this union and these workers successfully resisted the outsourcing to the private sector of Newcastle City Council’s corporate ‘back office’ and customer services, and then worked closely with management to see through an ‘in-house’ plan for improving services"


I have only just downloaded it (thanks to Clifford Singer for the link) - but appears to be a good read. You may agree with its trade union foundations or not - but it appears to be useful exposition of innovation and improvement in practice. But do let me know what you think!

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