In a fringe meeting later he argued that the need for public spending cuts will force us to think about how we provide services; and pointed out there is now a lot of work going on in think tanks about how to do this.
Acevo has been working closely with Francis on the outsourcing agenda. The Conservatives have always been clearer that reform of public services means more delivery by non state providers. Labour has always been equivocal on this and indeed we heard nothing about it at the Labour fest in Brighton.
Philip Blond argued that the solutions of the 80s on outsourcing are not now appropriate so there is a need for alternatives, for example employee share ownership in public services. How do we cut intelligently? The answer lies in innovation. Let employees have a stake in a spin off public service organisations and set them up like John Lewis! He also said that the TS is more productive than the public or private sectors! He argues that the TS is not only more productive than the FTSE 100 but that employees are happier in their work. Powerful stuff!
And the innovation point is rather tellingly made later; "We didn't have any money so we had to think" as the leader of Westminster Council said. He also argues the need for Job centre Plus to be tied into the local economy with local councils and health authorities. A good point.