Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Tessa Jowell to head Public Services Forum

Minister for the Cabinet Office Tessa Jowell has been appointed as the new Chair of the successful Public Services Forum (PSF), which encourages employers, government and trades unions to work together to deliver world class public services for everyone.

She takes on her role at a critical stage in the PSF’s history when it is driving forward its work on improving vital skills to ensure all staff can deliver the best possible services during the global downturn and beyond.

* This week the forum published a report on what has been achieved in its first five years, showing it has made a real impact on the whole of the public service workforce of nearly six million people. It also looks ahead to the challenges facing the public sector in the coming months and years.

Successes so far include:

* the Code of Practice on Workforce Matter, which prevents the emergence of a two-tier workforce in outsourced public services.

* the innovative Drive for Change programme, which has introduced new ways of learning from the frontline so that policy is informed by the people who actually deliver services.

Welcoming the publication of the report, Tessa Jowell said:

“The PSF is still enabling productive discussions between the government and trades unions on workforce reform after nearly six years.

“Demand for public services is increasing during the recession, so it’s more important than ever that frontline staff have the skills and support they need to deliver first-rate services.

“In Building Britain’s Future we set out an ambitious vision for the future of public services in this country, but we can only make that vision a reality by working with everyone involved in the public services supply chain.

“The forum allows us to do that – I’m very proud to be its new chair and I’m looking forward to continuing its good work as we tackle the economic challenges ahead.”

Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, who works with the forum, agrees its achievements have helped citizens get a better deal:

“The PSF has achieved a great deal in its first five years. Unions, employers and government need to get together and discuss the vital issues affecting public services – fairly paid and supported staff, delivering high quality services with proper and sustainable funding. The current economic downturn makes the case for the Public Services Forum all the more important.”

Susan Anderson, director of public services at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said:

“The considerable challenges our public services face will only be met if people work together. No one has all the answers, so the more we come together and share our views and experiences, the better.

“The Public Services Forum is playing a major role in addressing workforce issues. It has added real value over its first five years and we’re looking forward to being part of it in the future.”

Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), said:

“Tackling the recession and thinking about the effects of public spending constraints will require us as employers, unions and Government to think creatively, to welcome innovation and to work together. The PSF is a great forum for us to do this. I will ensure that the voice of third sector – now an employer of over 1.3million people is heard loud and clear.”

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