As part of an “information revolution”, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that UK will soon be able to rate and review public services just as you would on online services such as Ebay.
People will be able to give feedback on doctors, hospitals, schools and councils, and Brown has specifically mentioned consumer sites such as Amazon, Tripadvistor and eBay for the inspiration.
“We have clearly got the balance wrong when online businesses have higher standards of transparency than they public services we pay for and support”
A website comparing local council services is due to go live in May, and from this summer, patients will be able to comment on local services and provide feedback on GPs via the NHS Choices website. In addition, a website in 2010 will allow parents to share information about childcare providers.
In a speech Brown said
“We are ushering in a new world of accountability in which parents, patients and local communities shape the services they receive, ensuring all our public services respond not simply to the hand of government, but to the voice of local people.”
Personally, I’m both surprised and impressed by the progressive nature of the moves. Whilst there are complaints about a potential increase in bureaucracy and legislation, in the long run, power will lie with the people rather than in the hands of the minority of whom (until now) had very little to answer to. The new services should increase accountability and, in the near future, produce public services we can all be proud of – without the need for a tax rise!