Demos, the UK think tank for everyday democracy, has published a collection of essays by leading thinkers and practitioners that assesses how far the UK has already come towards a more collaborative style of government and sets out international case studies of some of the most interesting initiatives to date. It concludes by asking how future governments can use collaboration as a key design principle for transforming the UK’s public services.
“Competition and choice have become the watchwords of public service reform over the past decade. But while these principles have delivered some important gains, they are not enough in isolation. Tight accountability and choice have often come at the expense of fragmenting the way that schools, hospitals and councils provide their services. Service improvement has come at the expense of the capacity to solve local peopleâ€™s problems.
If we want to sustain improvements into the next decade, then we need a new generation of reform that builds on experiments with collaboration between both different parts of the public sector, and between institutions and the people they serve. Joined-up government, place-based policy making and co-production with citizens offer exciting new possibilities for creating flexible, dynamic and democratic public service organisations.”