The report presents an honest account of the last year, offering people the chance to hold the government to account. It spells out what has been achieved: economic stability; over 1m new jobs; standards in schools up; the first new hospitals nearing completion; record investment going in.
Launching the Report Dr Mowlam said: 'The report isn't soft soap. It paints an honest account of what is happening - one I hope most people will recognise. There are some important achievements that are making a real difference to people's
lives - but there's still a lot to do. I won't pretend that everything has improved as quickly as we hoped or that this has been the easiest of years. It hasn't.
- economic stability and a million more people in work than in May 1997;
- a£28bn deficit in 1997 turned into a£6bn surplus;
- 300,000 people helped to find jobs through the New Deal;
- greater investment in education, health and transport;
- nearly 5,000 more doctors and 10,000 more nurses in the NHS; and
- thirty-eight major hospital projects under construction.
'These achievements are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of thousands of frontline staff, doctors, teachers and police amongst just a few. That's why we've made frontline workers the stars of this year's report - not just on the cover, but in a series of short films available on the website which focus on new services such as Pensions Directs and the NHS walk-in centres.'
A unique regional database will simultaneously be launched on the website. Dr Mowlam will see how 'In your area' allows members of the public to type in their own postcode and get a taylored report on the key facts and figures - the good and the bad - for government activity in their own area.
In conclusion, Dr Mowlam said: 'The report contains facts, not spin. It also has a lot of useful information explaining how to use new government services - Pensions
Direct, the new NHS walk-in centres, or the Small Business Service - practical information about services which improve people's lives.
'Ultimately, it is for the public to judge the government's record. Read the report or visit the website, judge what these changes mean for your lives and your community, and then make up your mind.'
The government's annual report is on sale in Tesco, WH Smith, bookshops and newsagents, costing£2.99.
The report is also available on the worldwideweb: www.annualreport.gov.uk
The public is invited to comment on the government's record and set out their priorities for the year ahead.They can do this by completing the feedback form at the back of the report, or via the internet at the following address: email@example.com
The report covers ten locations around England, with frontline staff delivering public services. In each case a member of staff explains the service in their own words in the report itself, and they also appear on the front cover. There are also films of each location available on the annual report website and on video: the films sometimes, but not always, feature the same staff member.
- Small Business Service, Newton Abbot, Devon
Small firms adviser Bill Wells recalls how he advised local restaurant-owners Sue and Ian Trott not to buy a new computer to do their accounts but to spend the money on a website to bring in new customers instead.
- Pensions Direct, Newcastle
Dawn Ruddick and Pauline Dunn explain how Pensions Direct allows state pensioners to sort out any queries over the phone in minutes rather than having to write or visit a benefits office. The film shows a pensioner using the service, which will be available nationwide by October 2000.
- ONE, Milton Keynes
Saroj Patel shows how ONE integrates benefit and employment advice to provide a faster, more convenient service to clients, including a single claim form and one personal adviser, and also improve the support to help them move from welfare into work. The ONE pilots around the country are paving the way for the merger of the Emplyment Service and parts of the Benefits Agency next year.
- Beacon school, Birmingham
Jeff Darby, head teacher at Kingshurst School near Castle Bromwich, explains how working with two local schools - one of them a Beacon school - means projects such as accelerated learning can be tried out and passed on to neighbouring schools.
- Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, Norwich
Consultant pediatrician Peter Crowle talks about the excitement of moving to the new state of the art Norfolk and Norwich hospital, and also the emotions at leaving the old hospital. In the film, facilities manager Bob Atkinson shows the practical difficulties of using the old hospital.
- Metrolink, Manchester
Tram driver David Bardsley explains the benefits of trams in tackling congestion and pollution. The film takes a quirky look at the joys of tram-spotting as well as the new Millennium Lowry museum in Manchester.
- West Midlands police and Forensic Science Service, Birmingham Sergeant Sally Ann Holmes talks about the difference forensics - and particularly the national DNA database - can make to catching criminals. FSS scientist Jenny Mailley explains how the DNA matching system works. And Paul Diehl of West Mids police explains how forensics forms part of the force's new sector policing structure.
- ExCel Exhibition Centre, East London
Eastender Pat O'Brien describes the jobs and facilities associated with the new ExCel exhibition site being built on land reclaimed by English Partnerships in Silvertown in Docklands. He highlights the role of the improved transport links - road, rail and air (Note: works for private-sector company ExCel: used to work for Newham council).
- Playing for success scheme, Leeds
Colin Richardson, head teacher at Cockburn High School in inner south Leeds, explains how Leeds FC is working with nearby schools and the local community to improve skills, numeracy and motivation.
- NHS walk-in centre, Sheffield
Lead nurse Richard Desir explains how the new walk-in centres offer health advice and treatment from trained nurses without the need for an appointment. The 34 walk-in centres are conveniently located in shopping centres, high streets and pharmacies.