The first hundred days of the next government – transforming public services for the future.
It is an evident truism that we live in a global society. Liberals embrace this with relish. But it is equally the case that global macro forces find their real, direct, personal resonance for most of us, most of the time, at a local level – within the communities within which we live and through our experience of front line services delivered in the local context. Be it health and wellbeing, social care or welfare, education and skills development or the delivery of accessible and affordable housing – the practical aspirations, ambitions and wellbeing of our communities are played out in the context of the delivery (or otherwise) of local public service.
In this context the LGA’s ‘100 days’ campaign and the important challenges that it represents to local and to central government reflects the continuing need and absolute priority for us as liberals, to focus the design, delivery and accountability of public services locally.
As liberals we recognise that flexibility and diversity in public service delivery can never be imposed effectively from the centre. Differences in need and demand based on local circumstance – our responsiveness to this in the design and delivery of truly resonant solutions – defies the centrist approach. For all of us, but particularly for the vulnerable and isolated in our communities, transparency and accountability dilute with distance.
Above all, ensuring the voice and the experience of service users, carers and professionals in the design and implementation of essential services is central to the delivery of integrated and tailored outcomes and the preservation of choice above diktat.
Local government can and must play its part in delivering an effective response. But to do so we need nothing less than a radical revision of current service philosophy, partnership, design, delivery and accountability. The first 100 days of the next administration must deliver exactly that.