A new CBI report, ‘Our future public services: a challenge for us all’ has warned that politicians of all parties have yet to grasp the pace and scale of change required if the UK is to live within its means and provide the services people expect after next year’s general election.
The report argues that public services require fundamental re-shaping to better meet public needs, rather than simply cutting budgets – leading to poorer quality services. For example, increasing the number of services available online and encouraging the physical co-location of some services would combine greater efficiency with joining up services.
Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said: “All parties must recognise that serious structural changes are required to prevent public services suffering inevitable decline through a thousand cuts. Managing public spending within acceptable limits will demand re-shaping of public services to better meet people’s needs, including increasing the number of services available online.”
The report recommends that a number of services should be digitised by 2020, including:
• appointment booking for all GPs
• e-prescriptions for smart phones
• online GP consultations
• all government forms and applications
• trackable planning applications
A number of services are already available online, but access is not yet widespread across the country. The Government Digital Service should lead on developing digital routes as the primary way citizens interact with public services.
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