» Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Public/Private Sector

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned that the Chancellor words on wage restraints had diverted from his message today, the PMOS replied that he did not recognise the premise of the question. The Chancellor had made the point, as had the Prime Minister, that we needed to see proper controls and returns on investment in the public sector in terms of pay. In terms of what the Prime Minister had said, his message was a broader one, which was that the public sector did need investment to improve, but the public equally, did expect, and were entitled to expect, radically better public services as a result of that investment. The Prime Minister believed that there was change for the better, but that process had to continue.

Asked if there was a policy about how to deal with those people who resisted change within the service, the PMOS replied that in terms of the conference today, what people saw was front-line representatives from a range of public services who did see that change for the better. In terms of making a case for change, that in essence was made by the public. What was driving the change was not dogma on the part of the Government, but rather, the expectations of the public that the public services would meet their needs. Public sector workers were just as much customers of the public services as anybody else.

Put that if there were managers of public sector organisations who refused to go along with the change, and who spread their views across the service, should those people be sacked, the PMOS said that the message the Prime Minister had heard from the FTSE 100 companies was also very much of how they believed change had happened, and was happening for the better. If people gave the public choice, what would drive change was as much the choice that the public themselves had made in terms of where they took their services and demands. That was what, in the end, would drive change.

Asked if there was anything that the private sector could learn from the public sector, instead of the other way round, the PMOS replied that of course it worked both ways. What there should not be was a situation where the public sector refused for whatever reason to learn lessons about effectiveness from the private sector. What was important was what worked, but to work, there needed to be proper investment. There also needed to be a recognition of the needs, skills, tools available today which were very different to what they were sixty years ago. Therefore, those skills, tools, methods of working had to be updated, and to do that meant change.

Briefing took place at 6:00 | Search for related news

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