Citizen's Charter criticised

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The Independent Online
The Citizen's Charter should cease to be a one-way street, one of the scheme's more vehement supporters said yesterday. Roderick Nye, Director of the Social Market Foundation said that in future the Charter should place demands on the public to use services responsibly - and not just confer rights on the public and responsibilities on the services.

The Citizen's Charter - five years old this month - was set up to make clear people's rights from public services, and to make the services more responsive. While it has succeeded in that, Mr Nye argued, "the contract has been almost exclusively one-sided". Complaints from GPs about unreasonable demands for night visits, from schools about uninterested parents, and from hospitals that patients fail to turn up for booked appointments, show that the public has responsibilities too, he said, and it is time they were spelt out in the charter. Nicholas Timmins

The Citizen's Charter Five Years On, SMF, 20 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AA

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