Public Service Reform
Date: 11 December 2008
This seminar, chaired by SE Jean Gueguinou and Professor Alan Alexander (left) asked if moves to liberalise the economy necessarily involved a US/Blairite "new public management" approach. Changes were noted in French attitudes during the Sarkozy presidency and Philippe Maniere addressed delegates and Members of the Scottish Parliament on the situation in France. A case study examined the Health Service in the two countries and comments made included the astonishment of the French participants that it took forty years to achieve devolution in France and only two years in Scotland! There was also the sense that the UK model had the ability to launch new strategies and to review them regularly leading to change whilst in France the attitude was more passive. Other questions addressed included:
- Can reform reduce public spending and taxation while providing improved services?
- What has been the impact of France's new public policies and New Labour's changes in public management?
- In a consumer society is "public service reform" inevitably bringing with it more personalisation of services, more choice and more competitive provision?