Prime Minister Tony Blair set out last week to
convince public sector staff about the need for change – and how he
would like to achieve it.
In a government pamphlet sent to 10,000 public
sector workers, Blair admitted there was “a huge amount still to
do” to reform public services, but that change could not be
achieved “without the dedication and skill of the people who work
on the front line”.
The pamphlet reinforces the commitment in last
December’s local government white paper to reduce red tape, have
extra freedoms for high-performing councils and greater
intervention for poor-performing councils.
But it also lays the ground work for the
introduction of performance-related pay and a greater role for the
private sector, while acknowledging that the public sector trade
unions are unlikely to accept all these changes lying down. “Moving
towards more flexible systems of pay and working will not be
unopposed. Yet the argument can be won,” it says.
The pamphlet also takes the opportunity to
explain the difference between public finance initiatives and
privatisation, stating that with the former “most assets either
remain or revert to the public sector, which continues to play a
key role in setting priorities and standards”.
Although the pamphlet fails to make a
reference to social workers, its content is intended to apply to
all local authority front-line staff.
– Reforming our Public Services:
Principles into Practice from www.pm.gov.uk/opsr