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‘Removing the barriers’ to public services reform

The Cabinet Office has published an update report on Open Public Services, saying that the government is creating “a more innovative, diverse and dynamic landscape of public services”.

These are some of the highlights from the last year picked out by government policy minister Oliver Letwin and Cabinet Office minister David Laws, who said the reforms have:

  • Increased choice and control, providing more than 700,000 people with personal budgets to access social care and support that will best suit their individual needs.
  • Empowered local decision-making. The Troubled Families programme has turned around the lives of 22,000 families, by giving local areas more freedoms to design innovative and integrated services – saving the taxpayer an average of £75,000 for each family turned around.
  • Opened up public services to a range of providers. From April 2014 people who use mental health services will have more choice about where and how they are supported. They will be able to choose services from a range of providers, including voluntary and private sector providers.
  • Given fair access to public services, to support the most disadvantaged to fulfil their potential. Around 130,000 of the most disadvantaged 2-year-olds are now eligible for a funded early learning place. From September 2014 this will increase to around 260,000 2-year-olds.
  • Made public services more directly answerable to the taxpayer and the public. More than 1.6 million patients have had their say on the quality of NHS health services via the new Friends and Family test.

Letwin said: “We have given choice and control back to local areas, and back to the people who can make the best decisions about the public services they receive. From increasing the number of people receiving personal budgets for their social care and support, to giving local communities the lead on what types of schools they want in their areas, we are witnessing a transformation of the relationship between communities and public services.”

Laws, who is also the schools minister, added: “We want to make sure everyone has a fair chance to realise their aspirations and potential. At the core of our Open Public Service reforms is a commitment to provide greater access and targeted support for disadvantaged families. Providing £2.5bn by 2015 to 2016 through the Pupil Premium, we are empowering head teachers to tailor support to nearly 2 million disadvantaged children across the country, helping to give them the best possible start.”

The full update on the Open Public Services is here:

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