Public Administration Select Committee: Inquiry

PUBLIC SERVICES: PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST

Report: From Citizen€™s Charter to Public Service Guarantees: Entitlement to Public Services (pdf)
Report: User Involvement in Public Services (pdf)
Report: When Citizens Complain (pdf)

Public Services: Putting People First - Oral and Written Evidence

Oral Evidence given by Ann Abraham, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, on 18 January 2007

Oral Evidence given by Mr Paul Gray CB, Chairman, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), on 1 March 2007

Oral Evidence given by Mr Tom Steinberg, Director, mySociety website, Mr Ross Ferguson, Director, eDemocracy programme, Hansard Society, Mr William Heath, Director and Ms Ruth Kennedy, Associate Director, Kable Ltd, on 8 March 2007

Oral Evidence given by Mr Leigh Lewis CB, Permanent Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions, and Mr Terry Moran, Chief Executive, Disability and Carers Service, on 15 March 2007

Oral Evidence given by Mr Bernard Herdan, Executive Director of Service Delivery, Identity and Passport Service, on 22 March 2007

Oral Evidence given by Professor Peter Beresford, Chairman, Shaping Our Lives, Mr David Holmes, Mind, Mr Andrew Harrop, Age Concern, and Ms Liz Stone, Mencap, on 26 April 2007

Oral Evidence given by Mr Pat McFadden MP, Parliamentary Secretary and Mr Ian Watmore, Head of Delivery Unit, Cabinet Office, Mencap, on 10 May 2007

Oral Evidence given by Mr Peter Wilkinson, Manging Director, Policy Research and Studies, Audit Commission, and Mr David Bell, Permanent Secretary, Department for Education and Skills, on 22 May 2007

Written evidence

On 3 November 2006 PASC launched a new inquiry into the role that “customers” or “users” should have in shaping or even helping to provide public services.

The establishment of the Parliamentary Ombudsman scheme in 1967, and the introduction of the Citizen’s Charter in 1991 reflected an emerging consensus that public service users have a right to minimum standards, and a right to some recourse when those standards are not met. More recently a number of initiatives aimed at improving public services have put renewed emphasis on the citizen as a ‘customer’, ‘consumer’ or ‘user’ rather than passive recipient of the service.

The inquiry seeks to build on the Committee’s previous report into “ Choice, Voice and Public Services” by considering the development of “voice” in the design and delivery of public services: mechanisms for complaint and redress, customer feedback, official consultations, and dedicated user representative bodies. It asks whether users should be more directly involved in service delivery - and if so, how this might be achieved.

Key questions to be addressed in the inquiry include:

Is it possible to set minimum standards for public services? If so, how is this best done?

  • Do official consultations typically manage to capture the views of the right people?

  • How valuable are advisory panels in the design and delivery of public services?

  • Should users be more directly involved in service delivery? If so, how can this be achieved?

  • How does user influence relate to wider issues of democratic accountability?

  • Are there situations where the views and experiences of service users are irrelevant?

For more details of the inquiry and how to respond please the Issues and questions paper

Press Notices:

22 July 2008
Publication of Committee Report (Public Service Guarantees)

21 July 2008
Publication of Government Reponses

18 July 2008
Publication of Committee Report (From Citizen’s Charter to Public Service Guarantees: Entitlements  to Public Services)

7 May 2008
Publication of Committee Report (User Involvement in Public Services)

24 March 2008
Publication of Committee Report (When Citizens Complain)

18 May 2007
PASC to take evidence from David Bell, Permanent Secretary, Department for Education and Skills, and Peter Wilkinson of the Audit Commission

8 May 2007
PASC to quiz McFadden on public service reform

24 April 2007
PASC to hear from service users and experts including former No 10 adviser Matthew Taylor on responsive public services

19 March 2007
PASC to hear from experts on responsive public services

12 March 2007
PASC to question DWP and DCS bosses on complaints

6 March 2007
PASC to hear from man behind Number 10 e-petitions

26 February 2007
PASC to question HMRC boss on complaints

15 January 2007
PASC hears from Ombudsman on Public Services: Putting People First?

31 October 2007
PASC Launches New Inquiry