Gordon Brown says there will be no going back on the public sector changes introduced by Tony Blair.
Mr Brown says he will not go back on Mr Blair's public sector reforms
Writing in the Financial Times, the prime minister says Wednesday's Budget will begin a new chapter in reform.
Although no new policies are revealed, he hints there could be more money for education with a commitment to improving 600 worst-performing schools.
"There can be no backtracking on reform, no go-slow, no reversals and no easy compromises," he says.
Mr Brown told the newspaper: "In 2008, the public rightly expect ever-higher quality of public services more personal to their needs - from general practitioners open in the evening and at weekends, and one-to-one tuition for children to personal budgets for social care and police known personally to local neighbourhoods."
He promised to "create new trusts and federations around successful schools and in areas of greatest need, drive forward expansion of our academies programme".
These are state schools which are independently run and often sponsored by business that were pushed by Mr Blair.
There would be more personal and preventive care in the health service and policing would be better matched to community needs.
"New neighbourhood policing teams will ensure residents have the mobile number of and can directly contact named officers," he said.
"So this is my approach to achieving excellence: no tolerance of under-performance, giving users of public services more choices and crucially, a new recognition that real and lasting change must come from empowering the users of services themselves, with professionals and government playing a supporting role."
Mr Brown said the first stage of reform after the Labour government came to power in 1997 involved a programme of investment and repair to remedy neglect. The second tackled underperformance and making standards uniform.
It was now time, he said, to move on to the third stage of reform: "Where we not only further enhance choice but also empower both the users of services and all the professionals who deliver them to drive up standards for all."
Mr Brown's interview came as it was announced that former Goldman Sachs banker Jennifer Moses is to start as a Downing Street adviser.
Ms Moses was working as a managing director at Goldman Sachs when her personal assistant stole more than £1m from investment accounts belonging to her and her husband Ron Beller.
Her role at Number 10 has not yet been defined, but her appointment will be seen as an attempt to beef up Mr Brown's inner circle in the wake of last autumn's crises and negative media coverage.