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The Public Management Foundation's second annual survey of the British people's views and expectations of public se...
The Public Management Foundation's second annual survey of the British people's views and expectations of public services is published today.

The research, conducted by the Office for Public Management, brings the voice of local service users to the national debate about public service performance.

The survey, of over 1,000 people in four locations, focused on key measures of performance in three public services: health, policing and education. These were identified in our 1996 survey, The Glue that Binds, as most important to people and their families.

People think that performance standards are important aids to their judgements about the quality of these services. There is strong support for performance indicators, but for a wider range than is conventionally used now - including outcomes measures, as well as measures of input and output. There is very little support for national standards, however, with the vast majority of people believing standards should be set locally or jointly between local managers and central government.

The public also believe that the setting of standards should entail much wider local consultation. Doctors should have the most say in health, followed by patients, managers and nurses; school managers in education, followed by parents and teachers; and police authorities in policing, followed by local residents and beat officers. In all cases, elected officials rank low.

'The messages from the public are clear,' says Greg Parston, chairman of the Public Management Foundation. 'The work that has gone into measuring quality improvement has been important, but it too needs to be improved.

A key challenge for those in public service is to listen to the public and to translate their support for performance measurement into meaningful, locally-owned targets.'

The report can be obtained from Public Management Foundation, 252b Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8JT , tel 0171 937 9600; price£8 inc. p&p.

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