We take a citizen’s-eye view of public services.  What do citizens want? How might they gain greater influence over the way decisions are reached? What are the tensions that have to be resolved in different contexts – where there are diverse and sometimes incompatible demands, resources are scarce, the state cannot assure just treatment of citizens, government is fragmented.  And what re the implications for the kind of research IRSPM members undertake?

Our panel consists of:

  • Clare Short was Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood 1983 – 2010 and Secretary of State for International Development 1997 - 2003. She was Director of Youthaid and AFFOR, a community-based organisation promoting racial equality in Birmingham. Recently, she chaired the Policy Advisory Forum of Cities Alliance and now chairs the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which promotes openness and accountable management of natural resources.
  • Jess Steele is a social activist and entrepeneur at Jericho Road Solutions, a small social enterprise that helps local leaders make better neighbourhoods and influences government, funders and corporates to make that easier. She was deputy chief executive of the British Urban Regeneration Association and the Development Trusts Association.
  • Dr. Jane Martin is Chair of the Commission for Local Administration in England (the local government ombudsman), and was previously Director of the Centre for Public Scrutiny, a non-profit organisation promoting improved public scrutiny, accountability, transparency of government.
  • Councillor Brigid Jones is Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, Birmingham City Council, and represents Selly Oak ward. She was elected to the council in May 2011. In her full-time cabinet role, she is the executive politician responsible for children's care and education services across a large city with a super-diverse population and considerable social needs.
  • Catherine Staite (Chair) is Director of INLOGOV (the Institute of Local Government Studies), University of Birmingham. She was previously Director of Organisational Development and Policy at the Office for Public Management, Head of User Focus and Deputy Head of Policy for the Audit Commission, and Regional Partnerships and Planning Manager for the Legal Services Commission.