Steve Beet shares his ideas about maximising the opportunities on offer from the Government’s Open Public Services agenda.
The government’s open public services agenda raises a number of significant opportunities. One in particular that we’re interested in is the introduction of a more diverse supply chain - new organisations coming in to deliver public services. Now there’s a number of real benefits for this, certainly you can have access to innovation and talent and new organisations, for example the voluntary sector coming in, with their passion for doing public services in a different way. Secondly it brings in opportunities around new organisations bringing in new approaches for delivering public services and also can introduce significant cost reductions in the way public services are done. So the open public services agenda provides a massive opportunity to reshaping how public services are delivered.
I see it as there being four main barriers for open public services:
I think there’s really four key questions that need to the answered:
I think the barriers we’ve talked about, the questions we’ve talked about, can be addressed and I think really it’s a very exciting opportunity. The key thing now is to get mobilised on a plan...There’s been a lot of talk about opening up public services, introducing new models - it’s now a time for action. So it’s actually getting that business case developed, it’s getting the idea approved, it’s actually getting on board the extra skills and expertise that you need to actually make the change. So there’s been enough talk now, there really is a need to getting on with the action, getting that plan in place.
In March 2012, the Cabinet Office published ‘Open Public Services 2012’, articulating the Government’s proposals for a more diverse, competitive and accountable public service landscape, and committing to opening up public services to a wide range of providers and models.
The new world of Open Public Services presents valuable opportunities for improvement and innovation, replacing ‘top down monopolies’ with diverse and dynamic markets of suppliers, competing to offer a better service for users. The Government would like to see new models for delivering public services – such as joint ventures, social enterprises and public service mutuals.
But for new business models to work, multiple barriers must be overcome – from risk aversion and confusion over the options to questions about the readiness of the market ‘to pick up the ball’ and deliver services. How can government and public sector organisations maximise the opportunities on offer from Open Public Services, and key barriers be resolved? What are the options for alternative public service business models? And how can these be put in place? Steve Beet explores further in this short video.