Posts Tagged ‘Steve Reed’

Optimism and relationships are in Labour’s DNA

03/02/2015, 10:16:14 PM

by Jonathan Todd

The British economy is growing because of the hard work and ingenuity of businesses and workers. Crime remains in a long-term decline. Some public services are improving because of the efforts of public servants like those interviewed by Liz Kendall and Steve Reed in a new Progress publication.

The economy improves in spite of George Osborne, while Theresa May benefits from a trend toward falling crime that predates her time in office. Osborne’s attempted fiscal consolidation has lacked strategic direction: cutting deepest where resistance was thought weakest (local government, welfare), instead of recasting the relationship between public, private and third sectors to secure maximum combined impact. Pockets of public service innovation are, nonetheless, discernible, even if this strategic direction is lacking.

Kendall and Reed delve into these pockets: Frontline, a programme designed to attract some of the country’s highest achieving graduates into social work; Newcastle city council’s response to the government’s ‘troubled families’ programme; Oldham council, experiencing a threefold rise in residents’ satisfaction under Jim McMahon’s leadership; Participle, an organisation that designs and helps to launch projects to demonstrate what the next generation of public services should look like; and the use of personal budgets to empower people to manage their health and wellbeing in ways that best suit their particularities.

“It might be tough for those of us who love politics to face,” as Hopi Sen noted, writing for Progress about a Policy Network pamphlet published at the end of last year, “but politics is primarily a secondary function in society. Real change is being created and developed elsewhere, and politics seeks to manage, regulate, anticipate and ameliorate those changes in the interests of the people”.


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We must plan to do more for less, says Jonathan Todd

29/09/2010, 02:30:48 PM

“Facing a new world with new challenges, we need to think again about how we can best serve the people we seek to represent”.

So argues an email which Ed Miliband sent to Labour party members last night. As Ed acknowledged in his conference speech yesterday, one of this new world’s realities, even if we were to now have a Labour government, is the necessity of cuts; and one of the challenges, therefore, is to deliver more for less.

Deficit reduction, however, has simply brought into sharper focus an inescapable trend. An ageing society makes ever less viable established means of financing and delivering pensions, health and social care. Innovation will remain a precondition of improved public services beyond the correction of the structural deficit, which all major parties are committed to achieving over this parliament. Successful adaptation to our cold fiscal climate isn’t simply about muddling through coming years but of making sustainable for the long-term, given profound demographic shifts, vital public services. (more…)

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