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A liberal approach to public services

June 27th, 2017 Posted in education, health, Uncategorized by

Perhaps the one thing that politicians of all ideological persuasions can agree on is that running, and funding, public services is a challenge. They tend to disagree about how much funding should be given and how our schools and hospitals should be managed. This argument has been going on for decades. The post-Thatcher consensus appeared to be that British public services should receive a high level of funding while reforms took place to organisational structures and the way the services were delivered.

Reforming public services isn’t easy. People don’t like change and worry that the services will worsen. So what we get is tinkering and slowly declining services. Part of the problem is that hospitals and to some extent schools are run on a ‘command and control’ basis. Liberal reform would see far greater autonomy for both organisations and funding in the hands of parents and patients. This doesn’t mean ‘privatisation’ although privately run and public funded institutations could work.  The key though is autonomy for the organisation and individuals deciding where to spend the money. After that the Government should step back and let things evolve. The temptation to tamper would be great but far better, and liberal, to let people find ways to respond to the needs of the patients/parents. Trust people and we will end up with a far better system.

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