Nurses rewarded with more responsibility

By Alex Stevenson

Gordon Brown will unveil plans to give more autonomy to frontline public services in a sweeping programme of reform later today.

The prime minister wants Whitehall to ‘let go’ of central control over England’s schools, hospitals and police forces.

His vision of a 21st century public sector is outlined in the reform paper Working Together, published today. It includes proposals to give nurses a much greater role, introduce a fast-track teacher training scheme and implement an “information revolution” about the quality of local services.

“Moving from good to great public services can only be achieved by Whitehall letting go and empowering staff to shape local provision to meet local needs and priorities,” Mr Brown wrote.

He added: “We will grasp the opportunity to put teachers, doctors, nurses and the police at the heart of our public service mission, by providing them with new opportunities to run services in return for the greater accountability and responsiveness that we seek.”

The prime minister argued in his foreword that the recession has acted as a “catalyst” for reform, saying “the settlement of 1997 is now inadequate for the challenges we face”.

Mr Brown suggested politics had moved on from the traditional battle between state and market, writing that both had to be tamed “with an ethic of fairness and duty”.

The prime minister will appear at a hospital in London later today to answer questions from frontline staff about the government’s proposals.