Monday, 10 February 2014

Miliband's 4-step programme: What it means

Miliband will be using the Guardian's Hugo Young lecture to launch his 'big idea' for Labour. He previews his speech in the paper today, setting out the four key steps to which he intends to commit the party. Here's what they mean.

1. First, people should own information about themselves. We should change the assumption that information on people's interaction with the state is owned by the state. Instead, there should be an assumption that such data is owned by and accessible to the parents, patients and those who use public services who it is about.

We won't increase data and information protection for individuals from the records held or created by banks, businesses, commercial data collectors, profilers or public-private agencies not covered at present by the FOI. We'll make sure that schools stop keeping accurate records on pupils in case they get sued, likewise GPs will record only the blandest, least judgemental notes on patients - Labour will end the 'NFN'* culture.

2. Second, no one should be left isolated when they could link up with others in the same situation. The old assumption of professionals delivering directly to the single user must change, because there is now a wealth of evidence that the quality of people's social networks can make a real difference to the quality of a public service.

We'll set up Oldie Chums Clubs run by experienced social workers. They will be compulsory for any lone adults over 65. Too many single old people are blocking homes that could house young people; eventually we'll make it illegal for old people to live alone in a house with more than one bedroom. This is for their own good.

3. Third, decision-making structures in public services should be thrown open to people so that we tackle inequalities of power at source – from personal budgets that help disabled people design their own care to councils that involve users in key decisions, to the empowerment of parents so that they don't have to wait for Ofsted if they believe things need to change in their school.

Councils will have to publish all key decisions 28 days in advance to allow the public to make representations. The notices will be in very small type at the back of local papers. No-one will take any notice.

4.  Finally, we should devolve power down not just to the user but also to the local level, because the national government's task is to set clear national standards for what people can expect, not to diagnose and solve every local problem from Whitehall. And if we are to succeed in devolving power to users, it is much easier to do it from a local level. In every service, from health to policing to education, and by devolving budgets more widely, we are determined to drive power closer to people

Of course we won't be devolving tax setting powers, or power over rationing those budgets at high level; we're just making savings by getting you people to do the final milk monitor bit for free. And our chums in PwC and KPMG are short of work so giving them the job of 'setting national standards' will bring back some of those 27,000 central State performance indicators the ruddy Tories abolished.  
*An acronym often used by East Anglian GPs - 'Normal For Norfolk'

1 comment:

G. Tingey said...

Oi nearly wet meself