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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Opening up Government

Today's Telegraph reports that information relating to every corner of public services, National Health Service, schools, criminal courts and transport will be published for the first time.

They say that members of the public will be able to see clear and revealing data online in what Whitehall sources admit is a “risky” political strategy, but one which Mr Cameron says will enable the public to hold the public sector to account.

They add that it is likely to expose the vast differences in the quality of public services in different parts of the country and comes days before the Prime Minister finally unveils a new set of proposals to reform public services:

In an article today for The Daily Telegraph, Mr Cameron said: “This is a complete revolution in transparency – and it’s going to have a profound impact. First, it will enable choice, particularly for patients and parents.”

The Prime Minister added: “With our new plans, you’ll be able to drill down into the performance of individual schools, checking their exam results by subject area, absence rates and the quality of teaching. Our aim is to provide similar information on performance right across our public services.

“So now, you’ll be able to compare the health outcomes of individual GP practices and hospital departments.

“You’ll be able to see not just what crimes have been committed on your street, but what action the police have taken. You’ll also know about congestion on local roads and delays on your railway line.

“And in all these areas, the data will be updated regularly,” he said. Whitehall sources say that clinical audit data will show which GPs have never diagnosed a case of cancer, for example. The figures will be available from December.

Information about individual GP practices will also be made available with patients able to judge medical centres against 22 indicators.

But ministers believe that the “crown jewel” of the plan is the national pupil database. That will help parents and pupils monitor the performance of their schools in depth from June next year, allowing meaningful comparisons of school performance to be made.

In transport, passengers will be able to access rail timetable information after ministers won a battle to get weekly data from National Rail published from December 2011.

Will the Welsh Government be brave enough to follow suit?
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