Phillip Blond, Director of ResPublica, argued that alongside commissioning, contracting out and decommissioning we needed to move to civic ownership of services. That we need to develop a stakeholding culture to create a more decentralised, more pluralistic state. He felt that the choice was for a painful reconstruction or an opportunity to:
- remould the state to enhance the role of communities;
- unleash the enthusiasm, flexibility and entrepreneurial flair of public sector workers;
- increase procurement of services from social enterprises;
- move away from restrictive commissioning models which limit creativity, innovation and personalisation.
Phillip felt that the time was right for bottom up social enterprises and top down civic companies.
Abdool Kara, Chief Executive of Swale Borough Council, argued that we need to grasp the opportunities that ICT present to create new relationships that enable choice, voice and personalisation. That we need to support self-service and co-production of services to develop a culture of hand up not hand out but with a safety net for those who need it. Abdool argued that we need to intelligently explore alternatives which deliver outcomes more efficiently and more effectively.