Trust me, I'm a doctor
British public services have been marked by a tendency to patronize professionals for much of the last thirty years. Be it through targets, multiplying layers of managerial oversight or through endless auditing; no-one makes becoming a public servant quite as soul-destroying as British governments.
Today the Progressive Conservatism Project is proposing a new model of reform; one that places empowered professionals in control of their work and which aims to restore a sense of vocation to public service. In Leading from the Front we call for greater trust in the ability of highly trained staff to do their jobs, for more autonomy for public servants, for greater budgetary discretion and for smarter accountability mechanisms. To boil it down, and escape the jargon, we’re asking government to let public servants get on with their jobs and to make them accountable to the people they’re supposed to serve.
This is a truly progressive conservative vision. Prog Cons talk about responsibility, respect and social maturity – we need to have the courage of our convictions. This report calls for greater individual responsibility from everyone; yes, from doctors, nurses, teachers and social workers but also from the public in holding these people to account. The structures we call for would facilitate a greater sharing of responsibility and would help to cut down on the petty bureaucracies that hamstring our professionals and frustrate us all.