Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Hilary Armstrong and Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber today shared their vision for better public services as they launched Drive for Change, a web-based toolkit aimed at getting employees more involved in improving the public services they deliver.
Ms Armstrong said:
'This launch is testament to what can be achieved when we work together to realise our goals. We know that employee engagement is key to successful public service improvement. The toolkit will make a real difference to ordinary people by bringing managers, unions and employees together to drive forward positive change in public services.
'And public service reform is not change for change sake, it's about improving people's life chances, it's about our vision for a better society. We've done well with the reforms we have achieved so far but this is not a reason to stop - we must go further.'
Mr Barber said:
'Change can be a difficult process and it is important that best practice and valuable lessons are shared throughout the public sector so that services and working environments improve across the board. The tool kit is concrete proof that the only way to reform public services is to fully involve the dedicated staff that deliver them day-in-day-out across the country.'
Piloted in a number of areas, the toolkit is already helping improve services and making a difference to people's lives. At Holloway Prison, the incidence of self harm among inmates has reduced by two thirds and Birmingham City Council plans to pilot a self-rostering system arranging care around elderly residents' needs rather than a rigid shift system, at the same time giving carers more flexible working hours.
* The Drive for Change toolkit has been developed by TUC and Cabinet Office, working with the Partnership Institute. It responded to an earlier audit by the Work Foundation, which found that employee engagement in public service improvement was patchy, and recommended the development of a toolkit to enable all organisations to follow good practice. The approach has been piloted in four organisations - Holloway Prison, Birmingham City Council, Sheffield City Council and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust. For further information about the toolkit, click here.
* The Public Services Forum was established in 2003. It brings together government, trade unions and employers to work jointly on workforce issues that impact on public services.