Increasing freedom, sharing responsibility and getting better value for money from public services
The Spending Review is underpinned by a radical programme of public service reform, changing the way services are delivered by redistributing power away from central government and enabling sustainable, long-term improvements in services. This programme is built on the Coalition principles of increasing freedom and sharing responsibility, by:
- Localising power and funding, including by removing ring-fencing around resources to local authorities and extending the use of personal budgets for service users;
- Cutting burdens and regulations on frontline staff, including policing, education and procurement.
- Increasing diversity of provision in public services through further use of payment by results, removing barriers to independent provision, and supporting communities, citizens and volunteers to play a bigger role in shaping and providing services.
- Improving transparency, efficiency and accountability of services.
Major reforms announced in the Spending Review include:
- A settlement for local government that radically increases local authorities’ freedom to manage their budgets, but will require tough choices on how services are delivered within reduced allocations.
- Reforms to the sentencing framework so that it both punishes the guilty and rehabilitates offenders more effectively, stemming the unsustainable rise in the UK prison population. This will include paying private and voluntary sector providers by results for delivering reductions in reoffending.
- Ensuring the effectiveness of frontline policing can be protected by reviewing terms and conditions of service, and making efficiencies in IT, procurement and the back office to deliver savings.
- Accepting the findings of the interim Hutton Report on public service pensions. The Government will commit to continue with a form of defined benefit pension and seek progressive changes to the level of employee contributions that will deliver an additional £1.8 billion of savings a year by 2014-15. The nature of the benefit and the precise level of progressive contributions will be determined once Lord Hutton’s final recommendations have been received.
- Decisive action to cut the cost of central government, with a 34 per cent cut in administration budgets across the whole of Whitehall and its arms-length bodies, saving £5.9 billion a year by 2014-15.
Find out how the Spending Review supports the Government’s other priorities:
Reforming public services
The Spending Review set a clear direction for reform, focused on shifting power away from central government to the local level. The Government will announce further details of its reform programme in a White Paper in early 2011.
The Government invited members of the public to share their views to help inform the development of the reform proposals. This call for evidence on public services reform ran from 26 November to 5 January 2011 and has now closed.
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