By John Plummer, Third Sector Online, 16 November 2009
Acevo convenes commission on the personalisation of public services
A group of leaders from the voluntary and public sectors have called for the creation of a powerful new Cabinet Office unit to oversee the personalisation of public services. The Government has proposed giving people individual budgets to spend on their care as part of a reform of public services. The move could have huge implications for all service-providing organisations, including charities.
Chief executives body Acevo convened a Commission on Personalisation to consider the way forward. Its interim report, published this week, includes a series of recommendations that it says would lead to a "revolution in public service delivery".
The report urges ministers to set out a five-year timetable for the personalisation of services, to create a Cabinet Office personalisation delivery unit to oversee the transition and to legislate for a new "right to control", which would ensure people could choose the services they wanted.
It says local authorities should convene task forces to plan for the change, and urges trusts and foundations to prioritise funding to organisations that develop personalisation products, such as savings schemes that help people to manage their personal budgets.
Social entrepreneur Matthew Pike, who chaired the 14-person commission, told Third Sector the implications of personalisation for charities were profound.
"We have spoken to hundreds of organisations and many see this as liberating the third sector to serve the people it exists to serve," he said.
But a survey by the commission found that many charities were ignorant of personalisation and ill-prepared for change. Only 29 per cent said they were ready for personalisation and 11 per cent strongly desired it.
The report also acknowledges that many providers "might not have the capacity to respond to change".
The commission will present its final report to the Cabinet Office in autumn 2010.