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GOVERNMENT IN PARTNERSHIP - CUNNINGHAM'S VISION FOR MODERNISING PUBLIC SERVICES

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Jack Cunningham, minister for the Cabinet Office, spoke this week about the government's vision for better, more re...
Jack Cunningham, minister for the Cabinet Office, spoke this week about the government's vision for better, more responsive public services.

In his forthcoming modernising government white paper he will set the agenda for a public sector properly equipped to deliver effective decision-making and services that respond to the people who need them. It will drive forward the government's aims to overcome institutional boundaries and make full use of information technology and other innovations.

The white paper is due for publication in Spring 1999.

Addressing the Public and Commercial Services Union Conference in London on Tuesday, Dr Cunningham set out the key themes of his White Paper:

'The key to modernising government is to make it simpler for the citizen. This means working across the boundaries that currently exist between public sector organisations, to ensure that services can be delivered more effectively.

- 'Strategic policy making means looking at long-term problems rather that short term crises, and developing policies that look at the whole issue rather than just individual symptoms.

- 'Joining up delivery means focusing on the individual's needs, not what is administratively convenient. It means mobilising the efforts of private, voluntary and public sectors to deliver outcomes that people want and need.

- 'Information age government means exploiting the opportunities of IT to improve the convenience, efficiency and quality of service.

- 'Empowering public servants means training and developing a public service that once again feels valued and equipped to act on its own initiative.

'My aim is to set a clear direction for the development of public services, which is why I'm consulting widely on the ideas behind the forthcoming white paper.

'Our wide ranging agenda to modernise government cannot be delivered without the close involvement, help and support of the public service unions and their members. Because, quite simply, the people who are going to deliver this agenda are the most important resource of all.'

Dr Cunningham explained that the white paper would lead the way by helping to translate the government's ambitions into action. It would create the climate for developing an effective public sector machine to translate intentions into results. It would provide the foundations for an integrated approach to policy making and delivery.

'There will be no big bang!' Dr Cunningham added. 'This is an evolutionary process. We want to turn the government the 'right way up', starting with the user not the provider. The white paper will be a key to providing focus and direction on the way ahead. The key to the future will be partnership - I am confident that together the public sector will achieve the vision.'

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