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Former Chief Executive of the Audit Commission, Sir Andrew Foster is to Chair a new independent commission looking at the future of public services.

The Commission on 2020 Public Services includes academics, economists, constitutional scholars, local government chief executives, third sector leaders and policymakers from across the political spectrum.  It will set out to define the key principles of a new, post-Beveridge framework for public services.

It will address the major challenges with which public services will have to contend - ranging from economic and fiscal pressures resulting from the banking collapse and economic downturn, through to the demographic pressures arising out of an ageing society, and behavioural challenges associated with public health, civility and climate change.

The Commission will look at how public services should adapt to the new fiscal realities. In an era of hard choices it will ask:

  • What sort of public services will citizens need and want in the future?
  • How can citizens and communities be given real power and choice over public services and how should the State enable this?
  • What should be the distribution of rights and responsibilities between the State, society and the citizen? What model of the State would this require
  • How should public services be organised and paid for?

The 2020 Public Services Commission has been set up by a new think tank, the 2020 Public Services Trust, and will be based at the RSA. The Commission will run for eighteen months, during which it will hold a series of consultative seminars and publish research papers on the main issues affecting public services.

The final report will be published in the summer of 2010, after the next election and as the new government starts to focus on the next spending round. It will set out the main policy options for public services as Britain emerges from recession.

Chair of the 2020 Public Services Commission, Sir Andrew Foster said:

"Good quality public services are the cornerstone of a civilised society.  But Britain is  facing its biggest financial challenge for decades. This is a time for serious analysis, creative thinking and hard headed realism. We have brought together experienced policymakers and leaders across the political, academic and public service spectrum to develop a new approach to public services. We need a vision which is both practical and delivers a better deal for citizens and communities"

The 2020 Trust's Director, Ben Lucas, said:

"Our model of public services grew out of the needs of Britain in the 1940s.  It has served us well, but today’s challenges are very different.  We are delighted that Sir Andrew is leading this inquiry.  The Commissioners have the creativity and experience that will be needed to develop a new settlement for public services."


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