Julia Manning is Chief Executive of 2020health.org, a web-based, centre-right think tank for Health and Social Care which uniquely focuses on bottom-up policy development by front line professionals. Pav Kahlon is a researcher at 2020health.org.
Last week's conference on the Post-Bureaucratic Age (PBA) highlighted the growing need for transparency as a key to reform - in an age where speed of access and choice have revolutionised the services we receive, and attitudes regarding what is normal, what is an essential and what we are rightfully entitled to have inevitably changed.
People expect more and have increasingly become more aggressive in their attitudes towards entitlement. Whether it’s electricity, food or medicine, as a nation we are demanding more of the commodities around us. What once were considered luxuries, greater access has turned into the basics in life and we’ve forgotten the price that has to be paid even for these. Gratitude has lost its cachet and familiarity has led to huge wastage. Yet the evidence is there from the high street that the more conscious people are of how much they are paying for ‘an item’ then the less likely it is to be wasted.Evidence from other sectors
The mere knowledge that electricity consumption levels were being monitored in houses alongside unit prices was found to highly effective in inducing positive behavioural change by The Centre for Sustainable Energy. The experience of viewing numbers change on the energy display when an electrical appliance was switched on was described as being far more powerful than an educational experience of discussing domestic energy saving measures in a focus group. The idea of transparency and awareness continues to achieve success with other commodities. A report by the Environment Agency suggests that in order to reduce water consumption and help lower UK carbon emissions, households need to invest in water meters. Those who did were made more conscious of how much they were using and in affect typically used at least10% less water than those without the device.