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Don’t repeal all regional structures

Comment 12th July 2010

All the indications are that this govt will demolish many regional support and governance structures. This is a VERY BAD IDEA. Yes, there is some waste of money and duplication of effort. But some things have to be done at a level higher than local.

There are many examples but several that spring to mind are the agencies that support small voluntary organisations with e.g. training, child protection and governance generally.  Such support is essential if we are to retain quality in these services – there are indications that this govt wants more involvment by the voluntary/community sector but without support these services will wither away and/or be so badly delivered as to be in the worst cases dangerous. This sort of support is much more effectively and cost effectively managed on a regional rather than small area basis. Does this govt care or is money all that counts? (I fear it might be.)

Another example is health commissioning. Whilst I do agree that the NHS is top heavy with management, most doctors want to practice medicine, not management. The idea that most GPs will want to manage vast budgets is cloud cuckoo land. And how effectively will they be able to commission services e.g. for very disabled children with long-term chronic needs. Again, the needs of the vulnerable are being jeopardised by ideology.

Why does this matter?

Some small enterprises/activities and speciality needs and functions cannot be delivered well or cost effectively at too small a level. Support is a key function in maintaining the quality of public services and ensuring the widespread dissemination and use of best practice. If such services are culled practice will degenerate into piecemeal and patchy performance to the detriment of all citizens.


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