Public Services: Putting People First

Inquiry concluded

Report: From Citizens Charter to Public Service Guarantees: Entitlement to Public Services (PDF 261 KB)
Report: User Involvement in Public Services (PDF 421 KB)
Report: When Citizens Complain (PDF 1.86 MB)

Public Services: Putting People First - Oral and 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 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