Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Ed and flooding

Good to see Ed, and indeed many others at the Hugo Young Lecture. A good lecture, and the first time Ed has talked about a "people empowered" public service. He is right to talk about how we give people power over the services they own and pay for. Too many public services are delivered in ways that treat the public as passive recipients who ought to be grateful for the service they get.

But he was much less explicit on the issue of who delivers the public service. As Blair would have said "what matters is what is delivered, not who provides the service".

He was critical of private sector provision - and rightly so. He was not clear whether he was still keen on opening up public services to different delivery organisations. As I said to him afterwards, there are thousands of “people-powered organisations". They are called charities and social enterprises. They are able to articulate voice and deliver more citizen focused services. They are the organisations Ed was talking about when he said he wanted professionals to enable people to network. We will continue this discussion he said.

So I suspect a "work in progress". More flesh is needed on how in reality such people powered services are delivered. You
cannot ignore the issue of more diversity of provision and that means councils and other state bodies loosing their right to deliver a service if people powered organisations can do it better. 

A somewhat windy and decidedly wet weekend in Charlbury. Rather cut down on the rambling with the Hound; the mill stream is a lake and our other favourite walk up to Ditchley was far too hard work across deep muddy fields.  

But at least there are signs of coming spring. Our graveyard is set on the slopes of a valley looking out to the Wychwood Forest in the distance. A charming spot in the winter sun. I have reserved my plot here; its becoming crowded so better get in before they make cremation compulsory!

 And it’s high up so no danger of getting my dead feet wet….

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