New Deal For Welsh Public Services

A new drive to ensure first-class public services is to be announced by the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones.

Addressing Wales' first ever Public Services Summit, Mr Jones will say that all the public services – including the NHS, education and social services – were facing a period of growing pressure on their finances as well as the impact of recession and an ageing population.

There were examples of good practice but Wales now needed to drive through much greater efficiency across the board, the First Minister will tell the summit in Cardiff City Hall.

"If we are to avoid financial pressures turning into crude service cuts, we have to accelerate the pace of change dramatically," Mr Jones is expected to say.

The First Minister is expected to announce a new all-Wales Efficiency and Innovation Programme to ensure optimum use of public money.

The programme will be driven by a streamlined board chaired by Minister for Business and Budget Jane Hutt and monitored by the Public Services Summit.

Mr Jones will say: "We are aiming to work with our partners in developing a menu of the good practice and systems already up and running – and then mainstreaming these ideas across the public sector.

"The potential is great – for example, every 1% efficiency gain in Wales’ public sector procurement budget could save us up to £50 million a year, and front-line services need that money."

He will add: "We have already pioneered unique policies, such as free prescriptions, free hospital parking and the highly successful concessionary travel scheme, and we are determined to respond to this current challenge in a positive, Welsh way – in line with our country's tradition of chwarae teg, fair play."


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