» Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Third Sector Speech

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) previewed the Prime Minister’s speech that he would give to the Future Services Network conference tomorrow. The Prime Minister and other ministers would focus on how the third sector, otherwise know as the voluntary sector, could work with government to deliver more customer based public services. The summit would address how the Government could insure public, private and voluntary sectors were able to learn to be the best service providers, how service provision could be shaped more towards individuals and the communities that use them, and how to develop and celebrate innovative methods of delivery. The Prime Minister would say:

"The influence which the voluntary or third sector has had on our economy and our public services over the past decade has been one of the most profound and lasting changes in society. The private sector has learned the value of being rooted in a community and of developing genuine programmes to support corporate social responsibility, while the public sector has learned the critical importance of understanding customers.

"When cooperation works it can be very powerful but if there are barriers which prevent this collaboration we will remove them, if there are rules that prevent private and third sector bodies bidding fairly against the public sector we will change them, if there is bureaucracy which inhibits the ingenuity of people with a public service ethos we will dismantle it. It is only if we do this that we will get to the root of some of the intractable problems we confront.

"It seems clear to me that partnerships between commercial companies, third sector organisations, and the public service will more and more be the way that we deliver better focussed and more cost effective public services."

The Prime Minister would also announce a review of community equipment, including wheelchairs, hand-rails and walking aids which would be led by the Department of Health. That was aimed to allow the voluntary sector to play a bigger role in a market which was worth an estimated £220million, both in delivering the services and informing their design. In the year 2004/05 it was estimated some 479,000 adults received equipment and adaptations from social services, so it was clearly a big market. The important thing was to have a tripartite approach which was voluntary sector, public sector and private sector working together and allowing the best people to bid successfully to provide the equipment. It didn’t mean it had to be voluntary sector but they could compete on equal terms. Asked if that applied if someone wanted to open up a hospital or a school the PMOS said that in terms of those processes, in other fields it was already known that the independent sector had been involved, resulting in real improvements for patients, for example in independent treatment centres. The important thing was that the service that was delivered was free at the point of delivery, as the Prime Minister reiterated at PMQs today, but that the best and most cost effective way of providing the service was found.

Briefing took place at 13:00 | Search for related news

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