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PEOPLE'S PANEL UP AND RUNNING - FIRST RESULTS PUBLISHED

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Minister for the Cabinet Office, Jack Cunningham, has published ...
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Jack Cunningham, has published

the results of the first wave of research by the People's Panel - the

world's first national panel, set up as a cross-public sector

research resource into the effectiveness of government services.

Dr Cunningham said:

'The People's Panel will facilitate co-ordinated government research

and help us to ensure that public services are developed in the way

people want.

'I am delighted to announce that over 5,000 people, selected at

random from across the UK, have been recruited to the panel. They

will continue to be consulted, via surveys and other methods, to help

generate ideas on how services in the public sector can be improved.

'This will form an important part of the wider programme to modernise

government and make services more responsive to users.'

Commenting on the panel's first wave of results Dr Cunningham added:

'First results from the panel show that there have been some

improvements in public services over the last few years, and on

balance more people are positive about our public services than are

negative. But there is considerable need for the better performance

people are entitled to.

'The second wave of research is now under way, and the third wave

will take place in the new year.

'The panel is open to all publicly-funded bodies, and we hope that

they will use it. Several departments have submitted bids to use the

panel and we will be co-ordinating these carefully to ensure that the

panel is being used to best effect. I have set up a cross

departmental steering group to ensure that this is the case.'

Key findings from the first wave of People's Panel research include:

- half the panel think our public services are what they would

expect; 40% think that they fall slightly or a long way short of

expectations

- most people think services have either got better (24%) or stayed

the same (38%) over the last five years; a third think they have got

worse

- more people think our public services are friendly, hard working

and keen to help than think they are faceless, infuriating or

unresponsive

- the Post Office, local electricity companies and GPs top the

satisfaction ratings, while road and pavement maintenance is the

worst regarded public service

- strong support (77%) for being able to contact government services

by one-stop telephone call centres

- but call centres must have a real voice: 9 out of 10 people thought

it was very or fairly important that a person should answer rather

than getting a recorded menu of options

Dr Cunningham said the advantages the People's Panel offered the

public sector included:

- resources - saving resources through co-ordinating aspects of

departmental research and sharing information

- tracking - an ability to track how people's views are changing over

time

- accessibility - providing a ready resource for consultation,

allowing samples (whether of users or non-users of services) to be

accessed easily and quickly

- cross-cutting - providing an ideal vehicle for examining

cross-cutting issues to find gaps in service provision

- role model - raising the profile of government and public sector

research and encouraging others to follow suit in consulting their

users.

NOTES

1. The Cabinet Office has produced a summary of findings, which

highlights the main points of interest from the first wave. Copies

are available the Service First Publications Line (0345 22 32 42). An electronic version of this summary, along with the full topline results, is available on the Service First website at:

www.servicefirst.gov.uk/panel.htm

2. A contract has been let by the Cabinet Office to a partnership of

MORI, the market research company, and the School of Public Policy at

Birmingham University to set up and run the panel. The panel is

expected to run for three years, during which time it will be

evaluated. Continuation after three years will depend on the results

of the evaluation.

3. Any government department, Next Steps agency, non departmental

public body, or any other publicly funded body, local authority, or

association representing these organisations who wishes to examine

public views of service delivery can use the panel (on a repayment

basis).

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