Public Interest Seminar: Achieving the best of both worlds

Achieving the best of both worlds: How can public services develop a more successful commercial approach without compromising vital values?


It seems certain that June’s Spending Review will force further urgent action, as public spending in many vital areas is cut once more. With public bodies having already taken difficult decisions in a wide range of areas, many are looking to learn what they possibly can, as quickly as possible, from the commercial sector.

The problem is that adopting best commercial practices hardly comes naturally to the public sector, and is often done reluctantly, badly, or not at all. And yet becoming more commercial can – if done well – mean taking customer service seriously, building better relationships with third sector suppliers, and sharing services in a way that saves money whilst not damaging service standards.

None of this is easy, but it isn’t impossible either. In this seminar we’ll hear the thoughts of leading experts in the fields of health, local government and private business as we aim to tackle issues including the barriers preventing better commercial practice in the sector; and how more commercial approaches can be adopted without compromising core public service values altogether.


  • Barbara Moorhouse (Chair), Chief Operating Officer, Westminster City Council and Chair of the OPM Group
  • Carolyn Downs, Chief Executive of the Local Government Association
  • John Lee, Director of Clinical Innovations at Serco
  • Jonty Oliff-Cooper, expert on independent sector involvement in public services

More info

Fellow participants will include senior managers, policy-makers and practitioners from OPM’s public service network, including individuals involved on both the commissioning and provider side of public services. Under Chatham House rules, we will seek your insights and your opinions, and publish key anonymised highlights on our blog afterwards.

The seminar will take place on Tuesday 28th May at OPM’s offices at 252b Gray’s Inn Road, WC1X 8XG, a ten minute walk from King’s Cross from 6pm (for a 6.15 start) and will be finished by 7.30pm.

For more information please email or call Mike Bonnet on 020 7239 7839.