Newsletter – spring edition


Our first newsletter…

Welcome to our first quarterly newsletter.  We hope you enjoy this snapshot of what we’ve been doing and what we’ve got planned.


What is 2020PSH?

The 2020 Public Services Hub (2020PSH) is a research and policy development hub created from the legacy of the 2020 Public Services Trust in early 2011.  It specialises in developing practice-based research on social productivity in public services.  Based at the RSA, the Hub works collaboratively with local public service organisations, national sector leaders and other national partners to develop social value and social productivity thinking into local and national practice.

The pressures on public services are many and varied – spending cuts, future demands, and the challenge of engaging more effectively and creatively with citizens and communities.  Within this context, the 2020PSH seeks to apply a long-term, strategic perspective on these pressures, and develop socially productive responses in collaboration with its partners.

The new team draws on the knowledge and experience of 2020PST; Ben Lucas is principle partner of the Hub, Dr Paul Buddery and Dr Henry Kippin are partners and Heidi Hauf is project manager.  To find out more about the Hub please email . 

 Launch of the 2020PSH website

This newsletter coincides with the launch of the 2020PSH website,, which will not only hold our publications and news on upcoming events, but we hope will also be a hub for innovative public service areas currently being generated.

What has been happening?

Darlington Borough Council

In partnership with RSA Projects, 2020PSH has been working with Darlington Borough Council to support its Sustainable Community Strategy (OneDarlington: Perfectly Placed), which aims to establish the innovative partnerships that can drive prosperity and support the wellbeing of its citizens.  2020PSH and RSA Projects facilitated a deliberative event with local community representatives and LSP members in early March which strengthen understanding of local resources – including the borough’s ‘hidden wealth’ – and generated practical ideas for improving public services.

University of Sheffield, Public Services Academy partnership

2020PSH is delighted to be working in partnership with the Public Services Academy at the University of Sheffield. As part of the partnership we welcome Holly Snaith to the team for a three month secondment.  Holly will be primarily working on a project on public sector reform in conjunction with the ODI and PSA.

Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS)

LSIS commissioned 2020PSH to look at the strategic choices facing further education at a time of radical change in public services.  Our report (see overleaf) sets out five directions of travel to a more socially productive future.  In particular, it calls for FE to incubate social value and network local growth.  LSIS and 2020PSH are now looking at how to model these changes in practice.

Recent publications

Libraries in transition: are there creative alternatives?  A paper developed by 2020PSH and Social Enterprise London (SEL), aimed at local government decision makers.  It proposes an innovative, cost-effective approach to the creation of new structures to sustain and nourish Britain’s libraries.  This combines 2020’s focus on how social value can best be delivered through improving the quality of the relationship between services and citizens, with SEL’s expertise and commercial experience in helping to establish and support social enterprises.

 From Big Society to Social Productivity, looks at the forces driving change in public services and asks what are the new opportunities and risks.  What is the new role of the state, what does that mean for the role of business and the third sector and how do you manage transition in an unequal society?  The authors suggest a framework and practice for viewing these questions and others; social productivity – developing the ’Three Shifts’ of the Commission on 2020 Public Services, putting the citizen at the heart of public services.            

 The Further Education and Skills Sector in 2020: A Social Productivity Approach.  Economic downturn has put a new premium on skills and growth policy. It is clear is that further education is at a critical point: the new challenges and opportunities for the sector are huge.  With this in mind the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) commissioned 2020PSH to provide an independent perspective for the further education and skills sector on possible futures.  The report calls on the sector to take advantage of its new found freedoms by breaking away from a narrow ‘delivery of qualifications’ role to place more emphasis on citizen engagement, interaction with employers and civic leadership.

 Equalities Policy under the Coalition: Time for a New Approach? The Coalition Government has recently celebrated its first anniversary in power, and whilst there have been significant changes to equalities policy in that time, the paper argues that there is little strategic vision underpinning these developments, and insufficient still less an understanding of how equalities can be used as a bedrock to inform other social policies.  This discussion paper introduces the capabilities approach – suggested previously in work for the 2020 Commission on Public Services – as a potential means of uniting the disparate strands of current policy and using them to generate social value.

 Events and seminars     

 The FE and Skills Sector in 2020, 26th May 2011, RSA

Education rarely excites as much interest as schools and universities, which is why Sir Andrew Foster called it the ‘Cinderella sector’ in his report for the last government. Yet, at a time of large scale youth unemployment, the need for better vocational and adult education in order to improve skill levels is widely recognised. FE could play a powerful role, establishing local enterprise hubs, and leading citizen engagement.  At the 2020PSH launch of its first report, the main findings were presented before the three guests speakers responded. Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of the social business, Turning Point, Paul Head, Principal of Haringey, Enfield and North East London College and Phillip Blond, Director Respublica set up what was lively and constructive debate about the future of FE and its role in public service reform.  Go to the 2020PSH website to see images and video of the launch.

Risk and the Big Society, 6th April 2011, RSA

Against a backdrop of the Coalition Government committing to rolling back bureaucracy and handing more power and responsibility, the 2020 Public Services Hub and the RSA hosted a seminar exploring the nature of the risks associated with the Big Society reforms in public services and how they can be approached in a more participatory way.  Dr Ben Rogers, Visiting Fellow at the RSA, leading an RSA project on Risk and the Big Society, delivered a short presentation outlining early findings. The event was well attended and we look forward to promoting the completion of this project in the autumn.  Go to the 2020PSH website to find out more and download Ben Rogers’ presentation.

What is coming up?

Working with Southend Together

The Hub is working in partnership with Shared Intelligence to plan and deliver a series of workshops for Southend Together Partnership, aimed at helping middle managers navigate the challenges and opportunities in public service reform.  These strongly practical workshops will cover subjects including ‘localism’ and ‘community budgets’, explaining how our ‘social productivity’ lens can help practitioners work towards better outcomes with their communities.

2020 Commission – one year on

Commission Chair Sir Andrew Foster is hosting a ‘one year on’ event for the 2020 Commission in early July, at which Commissioners will assess progress made by the Coalition government, and they key issues for public service reform in the year ahead. 

The Future of Public Service Reform

Henry Kippin is co-editing (with Prof Gerry Stoker) a collection of essays on the future of public service reform – drawing on papers produced by leading UK academics (including Howard Glennerster, Polly Vizard and Carol Propper) as part of a joint 2020 Commission and ESRC programme.  The volume is due for publication in early 2012 by Bloomsbury Academic Press.

Upcoming events

From Big Society to Social Productivity, late June 2011, RSA

This roundtable will be an opportunity for policy makers and practitioners to reflect on public service reform, civic capacity and the Big Society in the context of policy and political change.  The discussion will focus on some of the practical and conceptual problems with which the Big Society must contend and explore where some of the answers to these may lie.  It takes as its starting point the final report of the Commission on 2020 Public Services, which argued for a new emphasis on social productivity as a way in which public services could respond to the social, fiscal and demographic challenges of the future.  Social productivity is the process by which public services, citizens and local social institutions can jointly create better social value. 

Lessons from public sector innovations in the developing world, late June 2011, RSA/ODI  

This event, in conjunction with the ODI, will host an invite-only expert roundtable to identify and discuss public sector reforms and innovations from a range of non-OECD countries. This will feed into a wider 2020 Public Services project being led by the RSA which seeks to understand what lessons may be drawn for UK public sector reform based on experiences outside the OECD.

Posted on 1st June 2011 by Heidi Hauf


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