Labour and Tory heavyweights join forces to reform public services


Demos today launches the Future Public Services Taskforce: a major cross-party initiative to produce a new, public service reform strategy for central government. 

The government has not had a public service reform strategy since 2011. This has contributed to the crisis seen in public services today. 

In the Taskforce’s launch paper Recovery Through Reform, published today, we explain that while austerity has intensified the challenges facing public services, funding is not the only cause of the crisis today. Despite much talk over the years, public services have failed to pivot to prevention, meaning that public services are today overwhelmed by demand. This explains why bringing down waiting lists – a key political and public priority – cannot just be about increasing funding to public services. 

Responding to that context, the Taskforce could provide the basis for the first cross-cutting public service reform White Paper since 2011, should the government choose to produce one. The Taskforce is advised by a number of former Westminster and Whitehall heavyweights including:

  • Patricia Hewitt, Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney and Deputy Chair of the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Partnership and former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
  • Baroness Simone Finn, former Deputy Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister. 
  • Jonathan Slater, former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education. 
  • Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair of the NHS Confederation. 
  • Chris Naylor, former Chief Executive of Barking and Dagenham Council. 

The Taskforce will deliver its final recommendations next summer – ahead of an expected autumn General Election where public services will be centre stage. It will include a clear plan for a new government to reform public services, focusing on the first 100 days, first 1-2 years and 3-5 years of any new government. 

Ben Glover, Head of Social Policy at Demos and Taskforce lead, said:

“Public service reform is back on the lips of politicians and this is to be welcomed. 

The UK has been without a national public service reform plan for more than a decade, driving the crisis seen today in our public services. 

We are delighted to be working with a group of Westminster and Whitehall heavyweights to put that right.”

Future Public Services Taskforce

Future Public Services Taskforce

The Future Public Services Taskforce is a Demos-led, cross-party initiative launched to develop a new White Paper for public service reform.