The Guardian are to be congratulated on their continuing series of public debates exploring issues of communication and connections between the state and it’s citizens. The format of presentations followed by questions and answers encourages lively discussion and debate and a range of , sometimes radical, perspectives.
Connecting to citizens in a consumer age.
Thursday September 25 2008, 6pm-9pm RIBA, Portland Place, London.
Special guest speaker Alexis Cleveland, the director general for transformational government at the Cabinet Office.
I attended the last debate which was both stimulating and challenging and I would recommend booking a place. How do we translate the vision behind words such as transformational, personalization and engagement into meaningful actions that will make a real difference to the quality of life we all experience? When using state services are we consumers, clients, customers or service users? Do we have different expectations of different public services especially if they are “free” at the point of delivery? The evening is free to attend. To register your place please email firstname.lastname@example.org
A word of advice, these events are booked out very quickly so, if you would like to attend book your place as soon as possible. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. The Guardian, With the help of their partners for the evening, A&T Kearney, will be looking at the issues surrounding how the public sector understands and responds to the needs of citizens.
Over the past two years, much progress has been made towards the ambitious vision set out in 2006 by Sir David Varney for a reform of public services with a focus on more personalized services and greater engagement with citizens. There is now greater choice for people and more involvement of citizens in reform. However, delivering some aspects of this vision has proved a challenge, particularly given difficulties in cross-government working and understanding customers’ needs.
We will examine some of the barriers that hinder change, including an apparent lack of confidence in government data handling, the challenges of developing joined-up services across central and local government, and building a more detailed understanding of customers’ needs.
Alexis Cleveland, director general for transformational government at the Cabinet Office , will be the keynote speaker. She will be joined on the panel by Pat Harding, customer services director of Cambridgeshire county council, and Bernard Quinn, head of strategy and planning at NHS Direct. The evening will be conducted under the Chatham House rule, allowing a frank and unattributable exchange of views which will then form the basis for a report in the November edition of Public magazine.