Ed Miliband on public service reform

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has this morning used an article in The Guardian to preview his lecture tonight on Labour Party plans for public service reform, which will see public service users ‘put at the heart of services’. Miliband will set out four principles for the party’s reform of public services, which are:

  • That people should “own information about themselves”, with an assumption that public service data is owned by and accessible to public service users;
  • More weight should be put on the quality of an individuals’ social network in the delivery of public services, as there is a “wealth of evidence” that this can make a difference in the quality of a public service;
  • Local people should be more involved in public service commissioning;
  • Power should be devolved to local areas when commissioning public services

Pete from PSI: Tonight’s speech will be the first time that Miliband has looked to cover the issue of public service reform, however, his first foray into the issue isn’t exactly a radical turn. The current Government are introducing measures to make public services more accountable to users and his points on access to information links to previous Labour Party commitments to extending the Freedom of Information Act to cover private companies delivering public services.

In fact, this speech sees Miliband play in to the hands of critics of the Party who accuse it of being too vague in its post-2015 plans so far, something which he has successfully countered with plans for the 50p tax rate, and a succession of policies to curb the ‘cost of living crisis’, including the proposed freeze on energy bills. This article suggests that his speech tonight will look to cover rather broad-sweeping, vague, issues of public service delivery, without challenging the Government on the real issues associated with delivery across the public services spectrum.