Page last updated at 08:16 GMT, Saturday, 27 June 2009 09:16 UK

Ministers plan services shake-up

Liam Byrne
Liam Byrne says not only the "pushy" middle class should benefit

The government is to set out plans to reduce Whitehall targets and extend new rights to the users of public services.

The proposals will be unveiled by Gordon Brown on Monday in a document titled Building Britain's Future.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne said there was the need for a "power shift" away from civil servants and towards the public.

The prime minister will also make a statement on his draft legislative programme for the year ahead.

The Guardian reports that the shake-up in public services will include entitlements to personal tuition in schools, minimum GP waiting times and access to police working in their neighbourhoods.

Mr Byrne told the BBC the top-down, targets-led approach was good for transforming services from poor to good, but now a new strategy is required.

Now that we have excellent public services in all parts of the country, how do we keep up the pressure?
Liam Byrne
Chief Secretary to the Treasury

He said that when large sums of money were being invested to turn around services, it was "quite right not to sign a big cheque and say here you go, have a good time".

"But for the decade to come, now that we have excellent public services in all parts of the country, how do we keep up the pressure?"

Mr Byrne said there needed to be "a change of gear and a power shift" to take advantage of local initiative and enshrine people's rights to core services.

BBC News political correspondent Iain Watson says Mr Brown is keen to portray himself as the champion of public services.

Fewer targets

But, as one government source put it, with spending facing a squeeze in the years ahead voters will need more evidence of where Labour's approach differs from the Conservatives.

So there will be a new range of what the government is calling "entitlements" and public services will have to meet fewer targets imposed from above.

Instead, there will be more community involvement in how services are delivered.

Opposition parties already support fewer centralised targets and the government itself set out plans to give local people more influence a year ago in a document called Communities in Control.

The Building Britain's Future document is expected to tackle three main areas - the economy, public service reform and cleaning up politics.

An education White Paper is set to signal the end of centralised national strategies for literacy and numeracy in primary schools.



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