17 July 2009

Power in People’s Hands: learning from the world’s best public services

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Power in People's Hands
The [UK] Government’s drive to reform public services by giving more power back to the citizen was accelerated yesterday, with the publication of a new study of innovative public services from around the world.

Drawing on more than 30 of the best examples from around the world, Power in People’s Hands: Learning from the World’s Best Public Services shows how giving people more control over the services they use and freeing frontline public servants to innovate can deliver better services and greater value for money.

The report, produced by the Strategy Unit in the [UK] Cabinet Office, looks at services that fall into five key strands:

  • Using entitlements to put power in the hands of service users.
    For example, the “0-7-90-90” healthcare rule in Sweden, which guarantees patients instant contact with the health system, an appointment with a GP in seven days, a specialist in 90 days and a maximum 90-day wait for treatment.
  • Empowering citizens and transferring accountability of services through real time, highly local information.
    The US government has created Data.gov, a website that increases public access to non-sensitive government databases in a format that makes the information easy to understand and re-use.
  • Creating personalised services shaped around an individual’s needs
    The Wraparound Milwaukee programme helps children with mental health problems and their families work with a lead professional to create a personalised package of care that keeps the child out of hospital and significantly reduces costs
  • Prevention rather than cure.
    The Netherlands and other countries are piloting systems that keep people with chronic conditions out of hospital. Each day the patient fills in an online survey about their health, allowing their doctor to spot early warning signs.
  • A new professionalism among front-line staff and leaders.
    Teachers in Alberta, Canada, can conduct research projects on issues relevant to their school. All projects (more than 1,700 so far) report their progress online to parents and the system has driven improvements in student performance.

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