David Cameron is set to embark on a fresh round of public service reforms, radically changing the way services are delivered.
The Sunday Times reported that the prime minister was preparing to legislate to give individuals “personal budgets” to buy for themselves services that are currently provided by local authorities.
The paper said that the government’s long-awaited public service reform white paper, setting out the plans, would be circulated to ministers this week ahead of full publication next month.
Proposed changes to the law were said to include:
- allowing the elderly to choose how money is spent on their care
- enabling people with long term health conditions to choose their own therapies
- giving parish councils powers to take control of local parks, playing fields, parking and traffic restrictions
- allowing parents of children with special needs to make their own decisions about schooling.
The move comes after a bruising week for the government in which it was forced to water down its controversial NHS reforms in the face of fierce opposition from healthcare professionals and patient groups.
Downing Street was also forced to deny reports that Mr Cameron’s policy guru Steve Hilton was on the brink of quitting in the face of opposition from George Osborne to his reform agenda.
However, The Sunday Times said that Mr Hilton had secured Mr Osborne’s full support for the white paper blueprint.
Mr Cameron was said to be hoping that the paper’s launch would re-stake his claim to be a radical, reforming prime minister.
Downing Street confirmed that ministers were now aiming to publish the document before Parliament breaks for the summer at the end of July.
“It is expected to come before the summer recess. It will look at how we take forward reform across the public services,” a Number 10 spokesman said.