A new manifesto calling for the most radical reform to public services in Britain since the birth of the Welfare State has been launched at the Institute for Government.
The document, ‘Manifesto for Better Public Services’, co-written by leading entrepreneurs and academics, estimates that savings of £46 billion per annum to the public purse could be achieved, enough to pay for more than a million additional frontline public sector workers.
Key recommendations in the manifesto are:
- Moving public sector and its suppliers to open book accounting – opening up and publishing all current operational data, roles, functions, processes, systems and costs to identify where money goes and highlight duplication and inefficiencies within and between organisations.
- Developing a ‘Lego block’ approach to services, adopting a set of standard ‘plug and play’ parts, mirroring best practices of Global internet-era organisations such as Amazon and Netflix and creating a shared digital public infrastructure fit for the twenty-first century.
- A 40% phased reduction in duplicated administrative and managerial processes, functions, roles and systems in our public services. Savings to be achieved by implementing new digital business models, delivering an estimated £46bn per annum for re-investment into frontline services.
Launching the report, Dr Mark Thompson, Senior Lecturer at Cambridge Judge Business School said, “digital technology has been a game-changer for many modern organisations. They have dramatically improved their frontline services by completely rethinking and redesigning the way they operate. In contrast, much of our public sector still looks and feels very old fashioned: technology is often used simply to paper over the cracks of their existing processes and services rather than to rethink, redesign and improve them.
“The opportunity is colossal: the £46 billion saving we could achieve by eradicating wasteful administration and duplication is enough to fund an expansion to our frontline workforce of doctors, nurses, police and other key service staff equivalent to the entire population of Birmingham.”
“Our government and political class need to respond much more effectively than they have done so far to the opportunity presented by the open culture, standards and shared plumbing of the internet. This is a fantastic chance to modernise the way our public sector works, directing significant resource away from massively duplicated administrative and managerial functions and back into frontline services.”