22 January 2016 | By Emily Giles Insight

Make 2016 a year of transformation

Insight: Emily Giles, policy adviser, public services

Why successful public service reform needs innovation, tailored solutions and deep partnership.

As we head towards the end of January, your new Year’s resolutions may have already taken a knock, but we are looking to government to stay committed to its mission to transform public services if they are to continue to meet public expectations.

The government is clearly willing, as shown by announcements in the spending review, which included plans to modernise the Courts & Tribunals Service. But the question that remains is how the necessary transformation will happen.

There’s no one solution, but innovation, tailored solutions and deep partnership will all play their part.

To bring about the scale of change needed in service delivery, things will have to be done differently. It’s clear that competition can spur innovation and we need to encourage challenger firms to break into these markets and bring new ideas to the table.

That’s why the CBI will be creating opportunities for businesses to network in the marketplace, hear from specialists, and share policy insights to broaden access to public service markets.

Tailored solutions, developed collaboratively across local services, can be very effective in solving longstanding public service challenges.

The devolution agenda can drive this. In Manchester, for example, pioneering service integration could completely change the way the public interacts with the health and social care systems.

Local commissioners will all be looking for transformative approaches to public services, and business investment and innovation can help make this possible. So this year we will be working hard across the country to bring together businesses and local leaders to share intelligence and best practice in public services transformation, and make sure that everyone is ready to seize the opportunity of devolution.

Finally, deeper partnerships between government and suppliers will be fundamental to transforming services. Trust is necessary for innovation, and encourages a focus on results rather than on fixed contracts.

For this to happen, the government must look at its contracting practices. The recent focus on efficiency savings has left risk management in contracts better suited to straightforward, cost-cutting services – it is not conducive to forging strong partnerships between the public and private sectors. We need to find practical ways to improve government’s management of risk.

It’s our resolution at the CBI to encourage and support these enablers of transformation in 2016.


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