A NEW RE A LIT Y

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G OVERNMENT AND THE IPO D GENERATIO N
Sarah Castell and Oliver Sweet, Ipsos MORI Andrew Haldenby and Lucy Parsons, Reform
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WELC O ME TO THE WORLD O F THE IPO D – THE GENERATIO N BETWEEN 18-34, WHO WE’VE DESCRIBED AS INSECURE, PRESSURISED, OVER-TAXED AND DEBT-RIDDEN.

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CONTENTS:
Introduction ............................................................................................................. PAGE 03 Summary ................................................................................................................. PAGE 07 Playlist for Policy-makers – the myths and the reality of communicating with IPODs 1. “Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not” : A diverse group ........... PAGE 12 2. “Speed of Sound” : Busy, time-pressured consumers .................................. PAGE 16 3. “I Can” : Personally confident and empowered, but lacking the resources to critique government effectively ............................................... PAGE 18 4. “Gold Digger” : Sophisticated consumers who see the limitations of consumerism .......................................................................... PAGE 26 5. “Standing in the Way of Control” : Extending choice is not the solution to all social problems....................................................................... PAGE 28 6. “Digital Love” : Technology helps IPODs navigate complex information ...... PAGE 30 The implications for government .......................................................................... PAGE 34

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INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

Who are the IPODs?
Welcome to the world of the “IP O D” – the g eneration b etwe en 18 and 34 ye ars old, who Reform has d escrib e d as Inse cure, Pressurise d, O ver-taxe d and D e bt-rid d en. Reform’s work in 2006 and 2007 id entifie d that the b alanc e of taxation and public sp ending has tilte d a g ainst young p eople, so that they now fa c e an unfair burd en, without b eing a ble to exp e ct many of the b enefits; and this at a time when their e conomic profile is alre a dy difficult. They are also fa c e d with incre asing levels of d e bt from higher e duc ation, much strong er la bour market comp etition, lower growth in e arnings and a cute difficulties in g etting onto the prop erty la d d er. In British culture as a whole, “IP O Ds”, or “ G eneration Y”, have re c eive d something of a b a d press. They have b e en la b elle d as a p athetic and unintereste d in politics, bing e-drinking consumers with a short-term mindset. But the truth is more complex. D espite their d e bts, IP O Ds show the hallmarks of a g eneration which has grown up during a time of e conomic plenty; they are non-id eologic al, laisse z-faire, live and let live, and tolerant of differenc e. They are very confid ent p eople, d emanding a lot from employers and corporations. They have a g enerous, inclusive spirit and are sophistic ate d, cre ative consumers, with a lot to offer society. At present, however, IP O Ds fe el disconne cte d from the public re alm. They tend to vote in smaller numb ers than other groups, express more cynicism a bout government and politics overall, and focus on the p ersonal sphere rather than the politic al. Worryingly for politicians, they do tend not to conne ct the ups and downs of their d aily lives with the ma croe conomic sphere or with d e cisions ma d e in loc al government or in the House of C ommons. So, they tend not to look to politics to provid e a cre dible answer to society’s ills. Perha ps you are an “IP O D” yourself. Or p erha ps you know some, employ some, or live with some. This sp e cial re port d escrib es the attitud es and values of IP O Ds, explaining what makes this g eneration tick, how they are different in attitud e from their eld ers, and the p articular relationships and servic es they exp e ct from government.

Why are IPODs important?
It is now crucially important for government to eng a g e b etter with young a dults. Given the hard ening e conomic climate, some of the more relaxe d attitud es of the IP O Ds may b e alre a dy shifting and changing; they are at risk of b e coming even more disaffe cte d from the a dministration. Also, IP O Ds are valua ble to society – p erha ps more so than government re alises, and p erha ps more so that they re alise themselves. They may not have the majority of society’s we alth (far from it) but in the mod ern e conomy, skills and dynamism matter just as much. Talente d young p eople are an essential resourc e and a key driver of e conomic growth in the future, so government must communic ate and d eliver servic es in a way which helps IP O Ds to suc c e e d. Also, though this g eneration is different from its eld ers in assumptions and attitud es, many of the principles of communic ating with IP O Ds also hold true for suc c essful communic ation with old er groups. Plus, IP O D attitud es to te chnology and communic ations re present a se a chang e in the culture overall – suc c essive g enerations of voters are likely to b e more like IP O Ds than like old er g enerations. Le arning how to communic ate with IP O Ds now will stand government in good ste a d for the future, unlocking a b etter relationship b etwe en government and the whole future ele ctorate.

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This re port sug g ests some ways that politics c an conne ct up with IP O Ds. It draws on the latest rese arch into young p eople’s attitud es in g eneral and into suc c essful consumer relationships, including branding. While IP O Ds do want a new relationship with government, different from the status quo, the good news is that we c an le arn from the relationships which are alre a dy working in other are as of their lives. G overnment has alre a dy set out on a journey towards “transformation”, and there is much that is good a bout the current a g end a. But we think some further id e as are ne e d e d, and we present those here. This re port will b e invalua ble to politicians looking for a popular mand ate from this group, and to policy-makers looking to me et the ne e ds of our young a dults.

About the research
The re port is b ase d on a d elib erative workshop with 35 IP O Ds, c arrie d out in London in May 2008 1 . O ur aim was to und erstand what kind of government IP O Ds want to se e, and the relationship they want to have with government. However, it is hard for the public to talk a bout politic al philosophy in principle; a bstra ct conc e pts ne e d to b e brought to life. So to stimulate the discussion, we constructe d sc enarios of life in four different ima ginary, future Britains. We showe d: Lib ertarianism, low tax, high p ersonal responsibility; Social D emocra cy, higher tax, more comprehensive welfare system; Business-Focuse d society, with little d emocratic fre e dom and strong state intervention to promote e conomic growth; and Loc alism, extreme d evolution of power to the loc al are a. We then invente d some c ase studies, ima ginary p eople from different se ctions of society, with different attributes, resourc es and attitud es. We discusse d how these chara cters might fare und er e a ch of the different sc enarios of government. This help e d us link the a bstra ction of politic al philosophy with likely re al-life outcomes, and in this conversation, the IP O Ds’ views emerg e d. We le arne d their views on different mod es and me chanisms of government, public involvement and empowerment, and the principles und erlying those views. In this re port we set these findings in the context of the hundre ds of qualitative discussions with young a dults that we run every ye ar through Ipsos M O RI’s Q ualitative Hothouse. For example, you will find here comments and id e as drawn from our re c ent internal work on youth and responsibilities; from our work for the E qualities Review on p ersonal and social c a p a bilities; from our work for a rang e of higher e duc ation institutions; from our re c ent proje ct for A c c enture on glob al citizenship; plus some information from Ipsos M O RI’s wid e rang e of quantitative surveys.

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SUMMARY
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SUMMARY

Myths a bout “IP O Ds” a bound. IP O Ds are 18-34 ye ar olds who are working or studying, and whom Reform has d escrib e d as Inse cure, Pressurise d, O ver-taxe d and D e bt-rid d en. This re port looks at some of the prevailing myths a bout young a dults, their ha bits, culture and assumptions, and reve als the more complex truth a bout IP O Ds. To counter these myths, we have id entifie d six key themes which policy-makers must b e ar in mind when communic ating, and set them out in terms of a “playlist for policy-makers”. We hop e that, like a suc c essful music tra ck, these id e as will b e disseminate d and “downloa d e d” a cross government. Some of these id e as will alre a dy b e familiar to the re a d er. But this re port goes b eyond the exterior signs of young a dults’ culture or b ehaviour, focusing on how to a chieve the spirit of the eng a g ement young p eople want with government – helping government to chang e the re cord on communic ation. Playlist for Policy-makers – the myths and the reality in communicating with IPODs 1. “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” Arctic Monkeys MYTH: 18-34s are “the young” – a homog enous group. REALITY: There are many se gments within IP O Ds, all wanting different relationships with government and servic es. 2. “Speed of Sound” C old play MYTH: Young a dults are a p athetic and unintereste d in public life. REALITY: 18-34s are very busy, time-presse d, sophistic ate d consumers who mete out their attention c arefully and exp e ct a return on emotional investment imme diately, whenever they eng a g e with government. Le arning styles have chang e d, me aning they value mod ern conventions of communic ation and will not p ay attention to old-fashione d a p proa ches. 3. “I Can” N as MYTH: IP O Ds live in extend e d a dolesc enc e, and don’t fe el empowere d to cre ate chang e in society. REALITY: They do not fe el eng a g e d with the politic al sphere, yet they are very confid ent and empowere d in other are as of their lives, for instanc e in their c are ers and their relationships with corporations. They c all for government to b ehave more like a corporation; giving them “mana g ement information”, communic ating results cle arly and transp arently, making individuals a c counta ble on the loc al level for d elivery, and brokering a more ima ginative relationship with the me dia to convey information b etter. 4. “Gold Digger” Kanye West MYTH: B e c ause IP O Ds have close relationships with brands, the id e al relationship with government must b e a consumer relationship. REALITY: IP O Ds are cynic al a bout corporations and fe el that sharehold ers are the re al winners in a consumer relationship, not consumers. The p arts of the consumer world they wish to draw into the public se ctor includ e clarity over value for money, and cre ative servic e d elivery; not the whole relationship.

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5. “Standing in the way of control” G ossip MYTH: C onsumer choic e a p p e als to IP O Ds, so choic e in public servic es must b e the solution to most problems and give them a fe eling of control. REALITY: Though p ersonalisation of servic es is important, and the choic e a g end a is well esta blishe d, IP O Ds want government to b ehave like the b est consumer brands, pre-empting their d esires, coming up with ele g ant solutions for servic es, and nud ging p eople towards good b ehaviours in a “soft p aternal” way; p ersonalise d, tailore d servic es but with a re duc e d burd en of responsibility on the servic e user for rese arching and making complex choic es. 6. “Digital Love” D aft Punk MYTH: IP O Ds love te chnology, so government c an signal youth cre d entials by using te chnology as much as possible. REALITY: This g eneration und erstand and use te chnology, but it is such a norm, for them it is no long er exciting just for its own sake. G overnment must use it cre atively. We offer a toolkit to policy-makers gra p pling with the IP O D question. G overnment’s a ction plan falls und er four he a dings: communic ation, comp etenc e, le a d ership and loc alism. COMMUNICATION G overnment ne e ds to und erstand the potential of new communic ations te chnology to excite, surprise and d elight. IP O Ds will g et involve d with communic ations that skilfully use new te chnology to simplify information and to entertain them; at b est te chnology re presents the chanc e to help p eople navig ate complex information in an ele g ant, exciting, eng a ging way, and henc e cre ate gre ater empowerment and g enuine choic e. COMPETENCE G overnment must b e comp etent. O ne element of young p eople’s vision of government is that it is businesslike and effe ctive. They will respond to politicians who are professional and who c an d eliver suc c ess and, in p articular, value for money. LEADERSHIP G overnment must le a d. C hoic e and p ersonalisation must b e a c entre pie c e of public servic e reform policy, but government must take on a le a d ership role, like a consumer brand, in id entifying p eople’s ne e ds and sha ping servic es to me et them. The reforming a g end a of lib eralising public servic es – potentially changing the role of government to fund er rather than fund er and provid er – will help a lot here. LOCALISM Loc alism c an a p p e al to young p eople’s d esire to express their a ctive interest in politic al issues, and also to hold servic es effe ctively to a c count. Le a ding politicians in all p arties have alre a dy b e gun talking this langua g e. The four themes are in fa ct the b attle ground of post-Blairite politics. Those policy-makers who take on these lessons will find that the IP O D g eneration is re a dy and willing to sup port their efforts.

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PLAYLIST FOR POLICYMAKERS – THE MYTHS AND THE REALITY OF COMMUNICATING WITH IPODS

1. “WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM, THAT’S WHAT I’M NOT”: A DIVERSE GROUP

Policy-makers often tre at 18-34 ye ar olds as a homog enous group; this is the first myth a bout IP O Ds. In contrast, there are at le ast thre e important life sta g es within this a g e bra cket, and a rang e of attitudinal groups, all with different ne e ds from government and different relationships with government.

Differences across age groups
Fewer under 35s vote than other age groups.
Turnout 2005
% Turnout

18-24 25-34

37 49 61 65 71 75

Age

35-44 45-54 55-64 65+

Source: MORI surveys for the Observer/Sunday Mirror, Financial Times, Sun, and Evening Standard

In our IP O D workshop, the young er, pre-family group were marke dly less intereste d in politics than those 25-35. “Not everyone has time to make decisions about politics” (IP O D workshop, young er, studying) Ipsos M O RI’s work for the C ommitte e on Stand ards in Public Life 2 und erlines this; 44% of the a dult population overall said they ha d ‘a gre at d e al’ or ‘quite a lot’ of interest in public affairs, but just one in four (26%) of 18-24 ye ar olds a gre e d. G overnment fa c es a p articular challeng e to re-eng a g e these young est IP O Ds. Those who were working, rather than studying, in our workshop, were the angriest and a ctively felt disenfranchise d. “I can’t see myself ever voting, I don’t trust any of them” (IP O D workshop, young er, working) These young workers ha d an inkling that they would like to se e a world where they p ay less tax and where enterprise is encoura g e d. “If it was lower tax, people might take home more of what they earn and they might work harder” (IP O D workshop, young er, working) “You shouldn’t underestimate a world where the GDP is booming, there’s more income and it’s beneficial to all” (IP O D workshop, young er, working). Young workers in g eneral are also the most annoye d, on a cultural level, by ne g ative me dia stereotyp es of young p eople as troublesome, anti-social bing e drinkers.

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“Everyone gets tarred with the same stick, if you’re under 25 … I don’t even drink at all, but I was in a pub and someone broke a glass on me, the ambulance came because the glass went in my eye, but they were saying “oh you’re drunk” and I was like, “I don’t drink, how can I be drunk?” They assume you’re going to make trouble” (E dinburgh, 25 ye ar olds, E qualities Review proje ct) G overnment could d emonstrate solid arity with this group by showing it und erstands that they are not all irresponsible; and by cre ating a narrative which talks a bout fa cilitating young workers to a chieve. The 18-24 ye ar olds in our workshop who were still studying were relying, to some extent, on p arental larg esse. They were a more ha p py-go-lucky group, less worrie d a bout ne g ative ima g es of young p eople. Though they re cognise d the truth in the d escription of young p eople as inse cure, pressurise d, over-taxe d, and d e bt-rid d en (in fa ct the old er they are, the more they a gre e), crucially they didn’t like to think of themselves as disempowere d or downtrod d en. In our broa d er work we se e that stud ents are the most id e alistic group among the IP O Ds. Your generation has been described as IPODs – insecure, pressurised, overtaxed, debt ridden. Is that a fair reflection? G od that is d e pressing....but yes I would say so, potentially anyway I wouldn’t b e that p essimistic Blame extreme c a p atalism! No i think we’re pretty se cure, Well... ye ah it is a little Pressurise d, yes. D e bt rid d en, thanks to La bour, yes Possibly d e bt rid d en I dont think we are se cure D efinitely! as one of the g eneration looking to b e a first-time buyer soon it’s not looking good, and I’ve got less d e bt than these guys as I starte d uni 6 yrs a go! Not inse cure, but pressurise d yes, and quite poor....

Moderator FayeJ C harlotte H C atherine F Lisa O Ra chelA Emilie B NicholasD Ra chelA Lisa O ZoeR Fatp am

Transcript of online group for Bristol University a bout stud ent life

The stud ents harbour some hop e that society c an b e transforme d by the power of common thought. They are aware that their p ersonal a ctivity could imp a ct on national and international conc erns. They have a hankering for a big politic al story on the relationship b etwe en loc al, national and glob al a g end as, but do not as yet share a voc a bulary around this. “I think I have way more awareness, it’s quite vague in general, but I think I have way more awareness. I mean, like, I was the one who put the Fairtrade bananas in the trolley” (18-24, university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct)

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“It’s important to care and have social responsibility. I like this world [high tax welfare state] because it keeps society alive. Treat people as you want to be treated. Have respect for others by helping them” (IP O D workshop, young er, studying) G overnment ne e ds to eng a g e their ima ginations in the big picture, while a cknowle d ging that tuition fe es and pressure to g et on the prop erty la d d er me an that for most, looking after yourself is still the numb er one conc ern. “Personal responsibility is the most important responsibility. If you don’t take care of yourself you’re gonna let yourself slide down … paying the bills is most important” (18-24, university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) As IP O Ds b e come old er, pressures and responsibilities kick in. Those over 25 are more risk averse and conc erne d a bout financ e – the most inse cure, pressurise d, and d e bt-rid d en group. However, all groups of IP O Ds remain fairly stoic al and a c c e pting of the pressures they fa c e. “I’ve lived at home for ages, and I don’t really like it, but at the end of the day it’s my responsibility, I should have started saving when I started full-time work at 17. I didn’t, I went out and had a good time!” (25-34, not university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) Old er IP O Ds b e come more intereste d in politics, esp e cially at a loc al level. Ipsos M O RI’s work with the Ditchley Found ation 3 reve als that moving up a lifesta g e, and forming a family, promotes more interest in governanc e and politics, c ertainly loc ally. Twenty ye ars a go, p eople starte d families at (on avera g e) the a g e of 22; now they wait until they are 30, giving rise to a long er a dolesc enc e. This may b e why young er IP O Ds are diseng a g e d from the politic al proc ess, and why the over 25s b e gin to express slightly more interest in loc al politics – they have more investe d in their loc al are as. “I moved away, and then went back to my area, and that second time I felt more connected to it” (IP O D workshop, old er) “I live on a busy road and everyone got together at the local football club to put, like, these humps in the road, so that was an example of what’s happened locally in my area, my community coming together. But I think that was possibly due to the council, you got a letter and it said you’re welcome to attend, so that’s the only thing we’ve done” (25-34, not university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) The old er IP O D women in our workshop who ha d children were the most loc ally conc erne d, and the strong est a dvoc ates of more power d evolve d to loc al are as. For the old er IP O Ds, id e alism ha d given way to a pra gmatic a p proa ch to government, and the old er IP O Ds were very much focuse d on how to cre ate policies that re ally work to b enefit p eople in pra ctic e. They b elieve that many policies in re c ent ye ars have b e en good in theory, but have not le d to gre at results. “The Government is focused on making money, whereas there’s more to life than money, and we need to factor this in” (IP O D workshop, old er) “Competition is all very well but where no competition can really exist the state should control, like railways” (IP O D workshop, old er) “We want to tax the high earners, but we’re split on this – perhaps more tax brackets would work better and be fairer?” (IP O D workshop, old er)

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IPODs have different approaches to community
Attitud es to community also differentiate the young est IP O Ds from old er g enerations. The 18-25s se e themselves as memb ers of a larg e numb er of different, overla p ping communities, which c an b e virtual and conc e ptual as much as g eogra phic ally b ase d. “I see myself in loads of different communities, like at uni I’m in the uni community, I’m personally in the Jewish community at home, and I see that more like a stronger community than like my street perhaps, even though they’re further apart than people in my street” (18-24, university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) Old er IP O Ds tend to focus on more g eogra phic ally linke d communities, but they know that ‘re al’ as well as ‘virtual’ communities c an rely on te chnology to communic ate, such as we bsites which link tog ether the resid ents of a stre et. O nline conta ct in a user-friendly sp a c e is just as fulfilling as fa c e-to-fa c e me etings and allows IP O Ds to p articip ate in several of their communities at the same time (which is important to them). However, for loc al councils, for example, building online sp a c es may b e a high risk strate gy: if an intera ction with government does not go well, it is se en as more off-putting, and d ama ging to government’s re putation, if it ha p p ens online, than if it ha p p ens through conventional channels. This is b e c ause the online world is se en as mod ern and youthful – so if the government g ets it wrong here, IP O Ds may take this as a sign of the government not b eing re ally in touch with them. D espite this, it is still a myth that online worlds are inherently more interesting to IP O Ds than offline intera ctions. A ctually, a high level of skill is ne e d e d to build worlds where the te chnology fa cilitates a g enuine community sp a c e; te chnology is merely a me dium for ‘re al’ communities to intera ct. IP O Ds are looking for evid enc e that government re ally und erstands the online world and c an come up with unexp e cte d, interesting interfa c es for citizens to eng a g e with other citizens, and with government. We talk a bout this in more d etail later in the re port.

London IPODs are different
Londoner IP O Ds have a unique story. When aske d what they like a bout London, IP O Ds talk a bout diversity, heterog eneity, a hug e rang e of different pockets of cultures that they c an dip into effortlessly, plus the fast p a c e of life that IP O Ds fe el comforta ble with. “It’s really multicultural so it’s great fun. That’s what makes London an interesting place. You can just go to an area and get great Turkish kebabs, and then another one to have fantastic Chinese food” (IP O D workshop, old er) IP O Ds fe el that it is positive for different g eogra phic al are as to have a distinct nature, and that this allows diversity to prosp er, and p eople to live their own lives without interferenc e from government. “If you get to a point where you’re detrimenting [sic] the rest of the community, then the Government has a right to step in, but for as long as you’re not in any other people’s way then I think you’re fine” (25-34, not university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) This is very relevant for politicians explaining a loc alist a g end a; there is likely to b e sup port, from the young, for policies that allow more autonomy at a loc al level, and le a d to loc al are as b e coming more distinctive and chara cterful. IP O Ds are also likely to sup port policies which come up with ima ginative ways to sup port new loc al communities. O verall, those d esigning servic es will ne e d to b e aware of the different attitudinal se gments within IP O Ds. The old er, more pra gmatic, loc ally-focuse d groups bring one set of assumptions and stand ards to servic es; young er, id e alistic stud ents bring a different set; and young workers another set a g ain. B efore even b e ginning the “customer journey” as servic e users, different a g e groups of IP O Ds start from different pla c es, with different ne e ds from government.

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2. “SPEED OF SOUND”: IPODS ARE BUSY, TIME-PRESSURED CONSUMERS

The me dia often chara cterise young p eople as la zy or a p athetic – often te ena g ers are group e d tog ether with young er IP O Ds as g eneric “youth”, se en as only intereste d in re ality TV, sex and bing e drinking. In re ality things are different. Perha ps the most d efining chara cteristic of this g eneration is that they are very busy, simultaneously working, le arning, c ementing friendships, asserting their id entity through choic e of entertainment, and amusing themselves, literally all at the same time. Different id entities are asserte d simultaneously. They a ctively revel in their busy, pressurise d, fast lifestyle, and thanks to mobile p ersonal te chnology, there is never a moment left unfille d. The full implic ations of this are hard for old er g enerations to assimilate completely. However it is very important that a dministrations g et to grips with the cultural assumptions that this lifestyle g enerates, in ord er to und erstand the context in which government communic ations will b e proc esse d. “Moderator: [after 45 minutes of focused, online discussion] Apart from talking to me in this online chat, how many windows have you got open on your PC? StudentA: 7 StudentB: 5 or 6 StudentC: 9 StudentD: 4 but I’m only using 2 of them” (JIS C online group discussions, on te chnology at university, among 19 ye ar old stud ents) IP O Ds live at higher sp e e d than previous g enerations did, throughputting a lot of information all the time. Whether they are a ctually busier than previous g enerations is not the most relevant point. Time pressure is the dominant theme for IP O Ds, always running through their discussions a bout their lives. The issue is that IP O Ds b elieve they only have a very small window availa ble to eng a g e with government. This me ans that to eng a g e with young a dults, government must a cknowle d g e their p erc e ption of themselves as very busy, provid e ways to make life e asier, and d emonstrate that government resp e cts the citizen’s time. The Varney review for HM Tre asury on transforming public servic es highlighte d the ne e d to re duc e unne c essary sta g es of conta ct b etwe en servic e user and provid er, but the a p plic ation of these principles has not yet filtere d down to the front line 4 . The sense that time is a valua ble, sc arc e commodity is und erline d for IP O Ds, b e c ause they have grown up in an a g e of sophistic ate d consumer branding. Young p eople tod ay know that they p ay for products with money, but at the same time they know the brands b ehind the products are jostling for “share of mind”; a share of the consumer’s attention. Individuals know that their attention is in itself a commodity, and so IP O Ds use their attention to reward and punish brands. When brands communic ate well, IP O Ds watch their a dvertising, click onto their we bsites, and talk a bout communic ations with friends. Viral marketing, the co-cre ation of brands b etwe en consumers and produc ers, and “stre et te ams” of brand a dvoc ates (consumers who work to build the brand loc ally) are all incre asingly p art of the IP O D world. So, consumers are very aware that their level of interest in a brand, and their emotional affiliation to it, c an b e me asure d, and that this makes a re al differenc e to sales. This cultural assumption is then c arrie d over to the public sphere. The IP O Ds we spoke to told us that they prote ct their time very c arefully. It may look to others that they are just a p athetic and unintereste d in politics, but in re ality they are c arefully meting out a finite amount of attention. This attention is divid e d b etwe en communic ations from anyone – government, a dvertisers, their own communities – and they only give attention to subje cts where they exp e ct an imme diate return on their emotional investment.

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There are important implic ations for government. First, policy-makers must think a bout communic ating policy as much as they do a bout the content of the policy itself. IP O Ds are communic ations exp erts and will jud g e government policy on the quality of the communic ation, just as they jud g e product quality by the quality of the brand a dvertising. The me dium re ally is the messa g e when it comes to eng a ging IP O Ds. “I did try doing the research about these people [the candidates in the local election], because they don’t give a lot about what they’re going to do for us, you know what I mean? And I did look on the internet, I couldn’t find nothing, and they didn’t put anything through the post, so I couldn’t be arsed to go and vote. It’s just a bunch of names to me, there’s people in Harrow saying vote for this person, vote this, and I don’t know who they are” (18-24, university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) Se cond, this g eneration d emand much more entertaining communic ation from politics, automatic ally comp aring the public sphere with the conventions of the world of a dvertising. They are ke en to eng a g e with dramatic stories and resp e ct emotional, eng a ging, intera ctive communic ations. As they find in their relationships with consumer brands, they want to b e surprise d and d elighte d by government communic ations. The IP O Ds we spoke to sug g este d showing the inner workings of politic al systems through a more ima ginative use of popular me dia channels, including docudramas and re ality shows. They referenc e d the Americ an drama The Wire , which shows an ultimately b alanc e d view of a social problem, by dramatising a story from different angles. “They need various formats, e-mail, meetings, hard copies, TV programmes. Different people have different lifestyles. Why not Facebook it!” (IP O D workshop, old er) IP O Ds also referenc e d Americ an ele ctions, which they se e as stories of p ersonality. They saw no re ason why a p ersonal a p proa ch in communic ations should conflict with the audienc e’s serious assessment of policy. For them, assessing the individual responsible for the policy is an inte gral p art of assessing the policy. They do not se e vivid, relevant p ersonal stories as the “dumb e d down” or less intelle ctual sid e of politic al re porting. Inste a d these stories are se en as a vital p art of the information which should b e availa ble to the public to inform good d e cision-making. E duc ational le arning styles are also changing in the culture as a whole. This may affe ct the way that IP O Ds jud g e government communic ations and the servic es that government d esigns. In a re c ent survey for JIS C, we discovere d that in higher e duc ation, submitting work online, or in the form of wikis or colla borative resourc es, using pod c asts, online discussions and other new forms of sharing information, are incre asingly use d as p art of le arning and te a ching in the a c a d emic sphere 5 . This g eneration of young a dults emerg e from university very comforta ble with the conventions of visual and colla borative me dia. For them, information presente d in a discursive, intera ctive way signals that the body b ehind the information is up to d ate with mod ern ways of le arning and communic ating. This is crucial for government, b e c ause IP O Ds will jud g e how effe ctive and skilful the a dministration is by how effe ctively it uses new conventions of communic ation. A g ain, g etting this right is not a bout “dumbing down” the messa g e: quite the reverse; for IP O Ds, an old-fashione d style of communic ation will b e se en as ina p propriate, less nuanc e d and ultimately less intellig ent. “It’s the way they communicate … If they only understood what changes we want, I don’t think they’re on the same level. They start off on the same level, then lose it as they get higher up” (IP O D workshop, old er) O verall, IP O Ds fe el that when government g ets the communic ations style right, public trust in government is likely to incre ase. “At the moment we don’t feel like a team, they don’t treat us like a team. All the MPs are in their villas smoking cigars” (IP O D workshop, young er)

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3. “I CAN”: PERSONALLY CONFIDENT AND EMPOWERED, BUT LACKING THE RESOURCES TO CRITIQUE GOVERNMENT EFFECTIVELY

IP O Ds are not focuse d on id eology and thus have the re putation of b eing unintereste d in politics. And there is less involvement in politics from the young er a g e groups of IP O Ds. To some extent this is not a myth; it is true that the IP O Ds we spoke to did not fe el that they could influenc e public life in any me aningful way. But it is wrong to b elieve that IP O Ds simply do not want to put the work into investig ating and criticising public life. In re ality, IP O Ds are very empowere d in other are as of their lives, but tell us that they la ck the resourc es – the “mana g ement information” – to give an informe d opinion on a dministrative suc c ess or failure. G overnment ne e ds to cre ate the conditions for IP O Ds to fe el empowerment in the public sphere.

Extended adolescence means IPODs are politically passive
IP O Ds are rather p assive when it comes to talking a bout the drivers of chang e in society as a whole. They discuss politics with a c ertain helplessness – as though they are not sure quite how to take on the mantle of exercising d emocratic power. “There are clever people who spend their time thinking about policy, but if you pass it to average people who haven’t been educated on the area [like us] it could be a bit hit and miss” (IP O D workshop, young er) This could relate to the long er a dolesc enc e we discusse d e arlier. If young IP O Ds are living at home, borrowing money to p ay tuition fe es, and only just starting to p ay income tax, they may fe el they have not fully entere d man’s estate, and therefore do not exp e ct to eng a g e in the national politic al d e b ate. However, when showing our different worlds (e.g. lib ertarian vs high welfare) we exp e cte d to he ar some d e b ate on principles, even though we knew that the tra ditional left and right distinctions me an less to citizens tod ay than in previous g enerations. It emerg e d, though, that the IP O Ds found it hard to make d e cisions a bout the principles which should und erlie taxation and welfare policies. There is little colle ctivist id eologic al voc a bulary, and c ertainly none of the crusa ding “spirit of ‘68” present in their discussion, as expresse d by some of their p arents, the B a by Boomers, at their a g e. The IP O Ds we spoke to are most comforta ble when talking a bout the p ersonal sphere and the c a pitalist world. Perha ps this g eneration have not ne e d e d to look to politics? H aving grown up during a time of e conomic plenty, they have not b attle d for jobs and resourc es, and do not se ek ma cro-e conomic or politic al solutions to the problems they fa c e. True, they are taking on proportionally more of the tax burd en than other social groups, but they do not, yet, consid er this to b e unjust. They do not tend to look to “big politics” – neither the philosophies of the left nor the right – to solve their problems. The avera g e IP O D knows that it is important to eng a g e with politics but has little conc e ption of how this should b e done. “The tragedy is we’ll walk out of here and not talk about these things again” (IP O D workshop, old er)

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But they are personally savvy
Though financially inse cure, IP O Ds are p ersonally much more confid ent and assertive than their eld ers. They d emand more out of employment than their p arents do, scrutinise comp anies’ gre en cre d entials, and as we shall se e, are harshly critic al of hypocrisy in big business and government. The group of IP O Ds in our workshop expresse d this confid enc e, which could b e harnesse d by government; IP O Ds ne e d the channels to scrutinise government and to fe el that they c an question it and make d emands which will b e he ard. In their p ersonal lives, IP O Ds who are employe d or studying are go-g etting and fe el empowere d. When they look for work, for instanc e, they are looking to build up a p ersonalise d, modular c are er which suits them, rather than a djust themselves to an employer’s d emands. Four in ten G eneration Y workers (those a g e d und er 29), intend to work for as many org anisations as possible in ord er to d evelop their c are er (38%), comp are d to only a quarter of G eneration X (those a g e d 30-42). Gra duates at interview consid er that they are interviewing a comp any to se e if it me asures up to their stand ards, as much as a comp any is interviewing them. For example, social and corporate responsibility is a much big g er d e al for G eneration Y than for old er p eople, with almost half (46%) saying they prefer to work for an employer with a strong tra ck-re cord in this are a (comp are d to 38% among G eneration X)6 . “Well we’re independent ... we’re a consumerist generation, so why shouldn’t our job be tailored to us exactly like everything else?” O nline group discussion for Bristol University a bout stud ent life There is a re al op portunity here. G overnment could find ways to channel the individualistic, natural confid enc e and inquisitiveness of this g eneration, which they display when choosing c are ers for themselves and when choosing products and servic es from comp anies.

Confused by the death of ideology…
The move of all the major p arties towards the c entre ground has confuse d this g eneration. They fe el that the Blair government promise d a lot – a mod ern and a dvanc e d society, fair and just welfare system, and op portunities for all – but the groups we spoke to are not sure how to make d e cisions in the post-Blair era; how to b alanc e contra dictory principles, such as the b elief in a strong welfare system, with the ne e d to encoura g e riskiness and business innovation. How, for instanc e, should work b e encoura g e d, while the poor are prote cte d? “Sometimes people don’t want to help themselves … The people who are really poor, some people work and they work so hard but they’re still really poor and can’t get out of the rut - but then there’s other people who let all these opportunities go by” (25 ye ar olds, E qualities Review proje ct) There are similar ambiguities around the b est ways to re duc e crime; should individual responsibility b e upweighte d, or downplaye d? “With this society [high welfare society] would it be all about paedophiles going to community centres and playing table tennis, rather than being sent to prison? That wouldn’t be good” (IP O D workshop, young er)

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The IP O Ds criticise d policy which would remove the safety net of high welfare and put the onus on individuals to a chieve (as we discusse d in relation to the lib ertarian world), b e c ause they are ke en to make sure that the most disa dvanta g e d in society continue to b enefit. “I think the state carries people along, people want to be safe, if you look after people they will be more productive. This world [libertarian] wouldn’t look after people” (IP O D workshop, young er) However, the IP O Ds were not so familiar with any counter-arguments to a highly-fund e d welfare state. The discourse of entre preneurialism was entirely missing from our workshop discussion. The group d emonstrate no voc a bulary to help them talk a bout any b enefits of entre preneurial, we alth-cre ating b ehaviour. There was a latent fe eling that they would welcome a narrative of how hardy, risk-taking individuals could bring rewards to the whole of society, as long as this did not disenfranchise the und erprivile g e d. “There’s a reason why Denmark is not one of the world’s leaders … I think caring and sharing is worth it, but you have to think about how much you want to give and what that does” (IP O D workshop, young er) “I don’t mind paying for the NHS and schools and all that good stuff, but I don’t want to be paying for people so sit on the arses and watch TV whilst I go and sweat it out in my job. It’s not right” (IP O D workshop, old er) The e conomic prosp erity of the last 15 ye ars may b e one re ason why the harsher langua g e of comp etition and the marketpla c e is not at the forefront of their minds. “We didn’t really seem to have much when we were younger, but now there’s so much more, like food’s cheaper and even the alcohol, it’s cheap all the time, and everybody’s got more disposable money than they used to” (30 ye ar old p articip ant, E qualities Review proje ct) Though the housing market is drop ping, and consumer d e bt is high, with thre ats to British productivity from C hina and India, IP O Ds have not yet b e come signific antly conc erne d a bout their e conomic future. “No I think they’re distant [concerns], you’re aware like, probably won’t be able to buy a house, probably won’t have a pension, never mind, I’ll deal with that in a few years. There’s no point worrying about it” (18-24, university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) There is a ne e d for a politic al narrative which pre p ares IP O Ds for the future and shakes them from their compla c ency, but without cre ating fe ar and conc ern.

… and betrayed by Blair?
“If the government hadn’t invaded Iraq, we might have more money – it could have gone in the NHS or education. People said no to this [the war]” (IP O D workshop, old er) “Tony Blair was wicked. I loved Tony Blair. His only mistake was going to Iraq” (IP O D workshop, young er) O verwhelmingly, for IP O Ds, the Ira q war is the most signific ant politic al event of their lives. For the old er IP O Ds (25-35), the government’s going to war a g ainst citizens’ publicly expresse d wishes was simply a profound b etrayal in itself, whatever the rights and wrongs of the re asons for the conflict. This goes some way to explaining their politic al discontent and disaffe ction. Some of the young er also fe el this way, but for others citing the war is a convenient excuse for not g etting involve d in politic al are as of life which simply don’t fe el relevant (‘I c an’t trust the government / La bour / politicians, so I won’t g et involve d’).

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IPODs don’t have the “management information” to have an informed view on government success or failure
A key conc ern in our workshop (and a cross other qualitative interviews we conduct) is that IP O Ds do not know where the tax take is sp ent and find it hard to know what constitutes suc c ess in d e ploying public money – both on a loc al and national level. In the context of (they b elieve) re p e ate d shocking he a dlines a bout waste, they criticise the government for a la ck of clarity and transp arency. They do not know where to look for information and fe el that it is likely to b e hard work figuring out how money is sp ent. “What’s the point in paying tax if you can’t see where it’s going?” (IP O D workshop, old er) “I think if you can physically see what’s happening you will be more happy about knowing what your tax goes on. If you can physically see what your money goes on, that resentment is going to go away, isn’t it? I mean maybe it is already things that I see every day but it is not really pointed out to me. Then I wouldn’t think about, is it going to that rich guy?” (IP O D workshop, old er) “It’ll all be somewhere on a website, but you’d have to trawl through and search for it” (IP O D workshop, young er) IP O Ds se e politicians as comp ara ble to the C E O s of comp anies, responsible for communic ating the results of policies professionally and transp arently; and also responsible for communic ating suc c ess where it oc curs. They se e politicians as c are er professionals; this und erlying exp e ctation me ans that for IP O Ds, a politician is not doing his job well unless he is communic ating the “mana g ement information” of government cle arly and re gularly, so that the public c an effe ctively hold him a c counta ble. This is a big op portunity for government to eng a g e b etter with IP O Ds. They c all for pra gmatic, rather than id eologic al, solutions to this – for IP O Ds, it doesn’t matter which system is in pla c e, it just ne e ds to work. Politicians are also jud g e d a g ainst c ele brities, with their p ersonal charisma and me dia profile very important in their overall cre dibility. This provid es another challeng e for government, to cre ate a consistently positive and efficient impression. “In terms of the government, the image is important. Gordon Brown has changed since becoming PM. If you are making an effort to present an image that is positive it might have more of an effect” (IP O D workshop, young er) There are b arriers to overcome, of course, to convinc e the public that governments, and esp e cially politic al p arties, are transp arently presenting their inner workings. In an Ipsos M O RI survey for the Young Found ation 7 , the g eneral public reje cte d by 2:1 the statement that ‘politic al p arties are op en and transp arent’ (52% to 22%), and 41% thought that ‘politic al p arties in Britain are a hindranc e to d emocra cy’. IP O Ds currently do not fe el that government is g e are d up to communic ate effe ctively, simply and transp arently, so this will b e a challeng e. But, they are likely to respond well to policy-makers who a p p e ar at le ast to a d dress the challeng e, esp e cially on a loc al level. “At elections they say things but they don’t explain them and keep them up to date, like why aren’t youth centres happening?” (IP O D workshop, old er) “I’ve wrote to councillors about stuff, and then you just get numerous letters back. I’ll complain about the state of the roads outside my house, and they’ll reply back saying, “oh yeah, but you know it’s not our responsibility”, or “that’s because there’s roadworks going on and that will get fixed”, and it doesn’t get fixed so I write back, and they say “yeah, it’s still going”, and eventually you just get sick of writing letters, because they respond back all the time with another one, just fogging the blame” (25-34, not university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct)

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Government could broker a new relationship with the media
To a gre ater d e gre e than other memb ers of the public, young a dults b elieve that the me dia has a big g er imp a ct on everyd ay life than any d emocratic public body, and a resoundingly big g er imp a ct than loc al government authorities. Which have the most impact on people’s everyday lives? Q From this list, which two or three of the following do you believe have most impact on people’s everyday lives? Adults Me dia Loc al councils Business Westminster Parliament Prime Minister Europ e an Union Civil Servic e C a binet % % % % % % % % 54 48 37 26 24 20 20 7 18-24 year olds 63 36 42 12 28 12 17 5 Gap +9 -12 +5 -14 +4 -8 -3 -2

Sourc e: M O RI/H ansard Society B ase: 1,490 British a dults a g e d 18 + , Novemb er 2006

IP O Ds sug g est that the me dia could b e encoura g e d to work in more positive, less a dversarial ways with government. They fe el that the me dia is so influential in sha ping opinions, it could b e use d more effe ctively by government as a tool of d emocra cy. We have alre a dy se en that IP O Ds value entertaining, visually literate communic ations. Television, the press, and the internet c an help p eople to und erstand complex id e as, entertain them, hold their attention on important national issues, inform d emocratic choic es and incre ase eng a g ement. C ensorship, and government influenc e in the me dia, bring their own problems, and are not the solution. IP O Ds c ertainly want to preserve the me dia’s ind e p end enc e and its role in scrutinising power and holding the government to a c count. However, they are c alling for a cre dible b alanc e to the sc e ptic al tone of most covera g e of politic al issues; they want something positive, which should b e as interesting to eng a g e with as current TV programmes, we bsites and newsp a p ers. IP O Ds point out that if they are to b e more involve d with politic al life, they ne e d to know who to b elieve in ord er to make good d e cisions. “The media are always claiming things – I don’t really know if services like hospitals are good or bad” (IP O D workshop, old er) “Every time they do things and then take things back, like the 10p tax rate, they look weak because the media puts a spin on it” (IP O D workshop, young er) “There’s a lack of sense of getting behind the government, there are things you need to be critical of, but constructive” (IP O D workshop, young er) A cross Ipsos M O RI’s corporate re putation work, it is plainly evid ent that familiarity bre e ds favoura bility, not contempt; the more familiar consumers are with a comp any, the more highly they rate it. IP O Ds are asking to b e told more a bout government a ctivities, so that they c an have a chanc e to build a b etter bond

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Information is more meaningful on a local level
IP O Ds are in favour of d evolving more power to the loc al are a, esp e cially the old er women who have children and are most conne cte d to their communities. O n a loc al level, government has a re al chanc e of b e coming more me aningful to IP O Ds, and re conne cting with this rather disaffe cte d g eneration. “The local model is the best one of all. When the people can see what the money is being spent and that their area is changing they will also get off their backsides and do something about it. Then everyone will be much more motivated to keep it clean and nice … it is quite nice to know that you are changing your world” (IP O D workshop, old er) IP O Ds find it e asy to und erstand issues like loc al bud g et-setting, and they c an se e how value p erformanc e indic ators c an b e set and met loc ally, while national me asures of policy suc c ess still fe el rather imp enetra ble. “I just never know if things are actually a success or not, you never find out if the Government has achieved what it says it’s going to” (IP O D workshop, old er) O ne of the worlds we showe d in the workshop was a very loc al world – id e as from this were welcome d, such as the chanc e to ele ct loc al “sheriffs” or c z ars with responsibility for targ ets. This p artly refle cte d the IP O Ds’ more me dialiterate and p ersonality-driven a p proa ch to politics: they want to know the p ersonalities in charg e, and the importanc e of this for them c annot b e und erestimate d. Knowing who is a c counta ble for an are a of loc al servic e d elivery imme diately cre ates a gre ater sense of eng a g ement for IP O Ds. “You need someone you know, then you can go to them and say we need to do this, we need to do that” (IP O D workshop, young er) However, they also welcome the cre ation of more re ciproc al, non-hierarchic al and transp arent authority relationships (as they are se eing in the me dia and in the 21st c entury a c a d emic and business contexts). This g eneration would welcome the chanc e to g et more involve d and would a p pre ciate the social b enefits that might a c crue. “If we all voted, it would be a real community. There should definitely be more of this – a say locally” (IP O D workshop, old er) However, there are some problems p erc eive d with this world – the varia bility of servic e provision b etwe en are as would c ause problems if all servic es were run loc ally. But the IP O Ds still sug g este d that some servic es or bud g ets could b e loc ally alloc ate d, even if national minimum stand ards are important for others. Key to the suc c ess of the loc al a g end a is that involvement must b e communic ate d in an ima ginative way. O therwise, involvement will b e come a chore and loc als will not want to g et involve d. The IP O Ds in the workshop sug g este d infusing the whole loc al are a with re gularly up d ate d evid enc e of how well servic es were doing – thermometer-style fe e d b a ck loops on public sp ending on stre et cle aning, text messa g e servic es, and other unexp e cte d, and even fun, ways of encountering loc al authority servic es during the resid ent’s d ay. “You could put the council’s budget up on a bus stop and everyone would look at it while waiting for the bus” (IP O D workshop, old er) “You could even use scratchcards to vote, everyone looks at them every day” (IP O D workshop, old er) Within London, in p articular, IP O Ds c an ima gine government taking a more a ctive p art in the vibrant stre etsc ene, and with We b 2.0 servic es emerging, this will b e come even e asier. IP O Ds also b elieve that it is important to ena ble communities to do things for themselves; in a way, allowing prop erties of new d emocratic systems to emerg e from the systems themselves.

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“It’s a democracy and there’s no one outside controlling the community, it’s just whatever they want, then they are all, everyone’s, out for their own and whatever they collectively want to do” (18-24, university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) However, loc al a g end as must b e set in the context of a larg er national narrative otherwise IP O Ds fe el “all at se a”, and are afraid that they wouldn’t know what their country stands for. “It would be very difficult to co-ordinate the areas, they will go their own way. If there was a natural disaster they would not work together. It would not be cohesive” (IP O D workshop, young er)

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“I JUST NEVER KN OW IF THIN GS ARE A CTUALLY A SUC CESS OR N OT, YOU NEVER FIND OUT IF THE G OVERNMENT HAS A CHIEVED WHAT IT SAYS IT’S G OIN G TO ” IPO D WORKSHOP, OLDER

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4. “GOLD DIGGER”: SOPHISTICATED CONSUMERS, WHO SEE THE LIMITATIONS OF CONSUMERISM

Shareholders or consumers?
IP O Ds set their relationship with government in the context of their relationships with private comp anies. In the private se ctor, customers p ay money and re c eive goods and servic es, knowing that when they do so they are b enefiting the sharehold ers of the corporation, who make the profits. IP O Ds know that private financ e initiatives are intend e d to bring some of the customer focus, quality of servic e and responsiveness of the private se ctor into the public re alm; and they are aware of the N ew La bour proje ct to bring the private and public se ctors tog ether in this way. However, IP O Ds tod ay sug g est that bringing private comp anies, and market choic es, into public servic es, has turne d out to b e more complex than they ha d at first thought. They assert that the re al winner in a consumer relationship is not a ctually the consumer - but the corporate sharehold er. Inste a d of assuming that b e c ause they are servic e users, the “consumers”, they are the ones who b enefit, inste a d they se arch around looking for the “sharehold ers” – they fe el that the private comp anies running servic es are the ones re ally b enefiting from the relationship. “Business is out to make a profit so they might take risks, tread on people’s toes. And what about arts and culture? A factory makes more money than a park so they might not take things other than money into account” (IP O D workshop, young er) “We’re not the shareholders of the business we are only the customers so they’re making money out of us, not making money for us” (IP O D workshop, young er) “We tried it, it didn’t work, you had the hospitals not being cleaned properly and them skimping to make a profit” (IP O D workshop, old er) This g eneration d emand a different kind of encounter with government, where the good p arts of the consumer relationship exist, but are bolstere d by cre dible re gulation and an op en, transp arent way of doing business. This p artly relates to IP O Ds’ la ck of trust in corporate relationships. They are more critic al of, and sc e ptic al a bout, the corporate world, than old er g enerations – and do not automatic ally b elieve that a consumer relationship is the b est expression of a relationship. For example, G eneration Y workers are slightly more critic al of their employers than G eneration X and more likely to have b e en put off of working for a sp e cific employer by ne g ative publicity they have he ard or re a d (29% G eneration Y a gre e vs 21% of G eneration X)8 . They also show a tend ency to turn their b a cks on glob al corporations as employers overall, b eing a little more likely to want to work for a small, loc al org anisation than a larg er, glob al one (28% G eneration Y vs 22% G eneration X). The d e clining a p p e al of glob al org anisations is a long er-term trend – an even higher 36% of the next g eneration up, those a g e d 43-53, would rather work for glob al org anisations than small loc al ones.

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Still love brands
N evertheless, government c an le arn from the p ersonal relationships IP O Ds have with brands, if not the corporations who own the brands. IP O Ds talk a bout the level of servic e provid e d by gre at businesses in glowing terms. Brands like Virgin, e B ay, John Lewis, G oogle or Sainsbury’s are fast, responsive, flexible, and communic ate eng a gingly. IP O Ds notic e when government is trying to a dopt a more responsive mod el, for example setting up internet servic es (N HS online, or systems for p aying roa d tax online). But they don’t rate the responsiveness of either c entral or loc al government as highly as they rate the responsiveness of private comp anies. Furthermore, c a pitalist transa ctions offer a cle ar way to und erstand value for money. We have alre a dy discusse d IP O Ds’ frustration at not knowing how taxes are sp ent. When they comp are the information they g et on value for money as a servic e user with the information they have on value for money as a private consumer, the government comes out b a dly. “When I buy something, I get a receipt setting out what I got for my money. Where is my receipt for my taxes?” (IP O D workshop, old er) A g ain, they do not fe el informe d enough to hold the government to a c count; but they fe el they ne e d this information to b e a ble to sup port any taxation policy, “Given the choice of course you would want lower taxes but you get what you pay for.” (IP O D workshop, old er) In Ipsos M O RI’s re c ent work with A c c enture on glob al citizenship, we conducte d workshops in eight glob al cities investig ating the relationship citizens want to have with government. O ne key d emand was for a c counta bility and clarity in government a ctivities. O ne way to ensure that this a c counta bility is communic ate d to the public is by giving the public cle ar me chanisms of re course, should they fe el that promises have not b e en ke pt 9 . The IP O Ds in our workshop pointe d out that when it works b est, a consumer relationship gives you the a bility to complain, and if the complaint is not re ctifie d, you c an take your custom away. But they don’t b elieve that this level of re course currently exists within their relationship with government; there is nothing they c an do to show when they are angry. “If you genuinely look at the sheet and you think, my God I don’t want to vote for you, you or you. I would actually feel bad doing it. It’s not apathy, it’s I don’t like any of you, and I’m not going to stick a cross down” (18-24, university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) “In Australia you have to vote, but you can cross a box and abstain. We should be able to do this” (IP O D workshop, old er) So, d eveloping new me chanisms of fe e d b a ck, or b etter communic ating those which exist, may b e fertile policy ground to explore for those wishing to me et the IP O Ds’ ne e ds by drawing on the b est p arts of the consumer relationship.

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5. “STANDING IN THE WAY OF CONTROL”: EXTENDING CHOICE IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO ALL SOCIAL PROBLEMS
IP O Ds are often consid ere d to b e re al lovers and a dvoc ates of choic e, esp e cially in the consumer sphere. This is true – but it would b e wrong to assume that choic e is unambiguously welcome d in all are as of life. Rather, IP O Ds are starting to re alise that choic e is a double-e d g e d sword. It brings with it a lot of responsibility; to investigate and make the right choic e, and to live with the conse quenc es of a b a d choic e. There are indic ations that the discourse of “soft p aternalism” (government pushing citizens to make good choic es, and limiting the overall rang e) would a p p e al to IP O Ds. O verall, choic e is value d. It is still se en as the sign and symbol of the d emocratic lib erties IP O Ds enjoy as citizens and as consumers. “You can’t make private education illegal, people need to have the choice” (IP O D workshop, old er) “I love choice, it’s the way you end up with the better thing” (IP O D workshop, young er) However, choic e is only me aningful where the chooser has a g enuinely informe d choic e. IP O Ds have several conc erns a bout their current c a p a bility to choose well. In the consumer world, they are starting to question the a c c elerate d p a c e of consumer life and sug g est that more limite d choic es might le a d to gre ater ha p piness. “There used to be just Snickers or Mars, and now there’s so many you don’t know what to eat!” (IP O D workshop, old er) “This political guy was on the telly last night saying actually depression in the country might be good for us as it brings people together, and sometimes we are more happier. Like the women in the Sixties, they were all in it together. We have got all this stuff, but we’re not really happier” (IP O D workshop, old er) Much of the information citizens ne e d to make effe ctive choic es, in he althc are, e duc ation, and even more in some newer are as like p articip atory bud g eting, is complex, difficult to a c c ess and to und erstand, and time-consuming to rese arch. IP O Ds mention that they do not always have time to make the right choic e, and are p articularly conc erne d a bout some new me chanisms of government (for instanc e the id e a of d evolving more power to loc al voters) if this would me an more work for them, and a big g er burd en of responsibility and worry. IP O Ds are very familiar with the langua g e of choic e from the consumer sphere, but in pra ctic e take the rhetoric they he ar with a pinch of salt. Though the langua g e of choic e and p ersonal autonomy surrounds them in a dvertising (“Just do it”, “Do it your way”, “Where do you want to go tod ay?”, and so on), they know that these rhetoric al flourishes hid e pra ctic al limits to their choic es. Though it is e asy to se e consumer society as all a bout choic e, IP O Ds point out that consumer choic e is p artly illusory. Brands do not, a ctually, offer unlimite d choic e, but inste a d a rang e of c arefullytailore d solutions b ase d on the consumer ne e ds the marketers have id entifie d. When thinking a bout choic e, IP O Ds comp are the public se ctor with the world of consumer brands. They would like the government to surprise and d elight them by pre-empting their d esires and me eting their ne e ds with a smaller rang e of p ersonalise d solutions – just as consumer brands do. In line with current thinking on b ehavioural e conomics, and theories of ha p piness, IP O Ds b elieve limiting choic e in public servic es to a few good alternatives is the most pra gmatic way to g et the b est results for everyone, the fairest a p proa ch, and should b e the way forward for government 10 . Citizens around the glob e also express c ave ats on choic e. In Ipsos M O RI’s Glob al Cities workshops for A c c enture, the public want to se e the a p plic ation of choic e ma d e fairer and more sophistic ate d by governments. Particip ants in

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these sessions warne d that a dvanta g e d groups tend to have a b etter c a p a bility to exercise choic e than disa dvanta g e d groups, and so c an annex an unfairly larg e share of resourc es 11 . N aturally, the complexity of some choic e systems (he alth for instanc e) makes this an aspiration, rather than an e asilya chieva ble goal. It is hard to communic ate complex options simply and cre dibly. But a government which showe d that it b elieve d in this aim, and was making progress towards this, would b e likely to g ain sup port from IP O Ds. Furthermore, IP O Ds are a dvoc ates of “soft p aternalism” 12 – they would id e ally like the alternatives they are given to “push them into ha bits” that make them ha p pier and he althier. They a p pre ciate that this in some ways is a “nanny state” a p proa ch but argue that they simply have not got the time to make all the d e cisions they ne e d to make to have a good life, and would like to authorise politicians to a ct in the interests of their b etter selves. They are looking to the government to display le a d ership here, and there are some policy are as in p articular where IP O Ds would welcome more soft p aternalism policies, for instanc e in the are a of sustaina bility. IP O Ds know that when it comes to the environment, our d ama ging individual instincts to consume are likely to win over our d esire to a ct in the long-term b est interests of our society. They b elieve that corporations and the government should work hand-in-hand here. “Things like recycling, you’re more pushed to do it rather than anything. Tesco’s are saying get a point for a bag that you re-use, so even though it’s an option you’re enforced to do it inadvertently” (18-24, not university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) For some, it is le gitimate for government to exercise soft p aternalism in he althc are, to save money and resourc es. “The Government are responsible for your well-being, so if you get really, really fat and you need healthcare, the Government will pay for you on the NHS, so actually that is their problem” (18-24, university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct) However, there are challeng es involve d in d eveloping soft p aternal policies for IP O Ds. What constitutes good and d esira ble social b ehaviour c an of course b e conteste d, d e p ending on the policy are a; and policies must b e discusse d in the light of whether they infring e p eople’s lib erty to live as they want to. So, this is not a quick win but will ne e d a longterm conversation with the ele ctorate. Furthermore, IP O Ds always try to jud g e the a g end a b ehind the policy, so communic ations must b e c arefully consid ere d. Young p eople bring the skills they have d evelop e d in the consumer world to the analysis of government communic ations, and are use d to interpreting a dvertising on several levels; always consid ering a brand’s likely a g end a when it promotes a product, as well as weighing up the product itself. This me ans that, more than old er groups, they are alive to any hint of hypocrisy in social marketing or soft p aternal policies, b e c ause they are use d to scrutinising brands. They respond b a dly to communic ations when they spot the langua g e of a high-sounding principle masking the d esire to g ain more revenue. “They say they’re taxing cigarettes to stop people smoking, but then they go and promote gambling! If they can make some money out of it, they’ll go ahead, it’s not about our health” (IP O D workshop, old er) “So on the one hand they’re changing the laws so bars can be open 24 hours, and on the other hand they’re saying you shouldn’t be drinking too much. Hmm.” (25-34, not university e duc ate d, Responsibilities proje ct)

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6. “DIGITAL LOVE”: TECHNOLOGY HELPS IPODS NAVIGATE COMPLEX INFORMATION

Though they are te ch-literate, and insatia bly plug g e d in to communic ations and mod ern me dia, IP O Ds are not lovers of te chnology for its own sake. In our work with JIS C, stud ents told us that te a chers who attempt to use te chnology, but do it b a dly, are much less effe ctive than te a chers who use low-te ch te a ching a p proa ches suc c essfully 13 . Te chnology and government are une asy b e dfellows for IP O Ds at present. At our workshop, we he ard many ane c dotes a bout b a d mana g ement of larg e-sc ale te chnology systems (such as N HS IT, d ata se curity issues, and so on). IP O Ds are also critic al of te chnologies use d by larg e comp anies, which are not always suc c essful; c all c entre op erations have a very b a d press and we bsites are not always as responsive as they should b e. So, it is hard for this g eneration to ima gine how the government could use te chnology more innovatively. IP O Ds are likely to b e critic al of new te chnology-b ase d servic es. They must tangibly improve communic ation, op en up new sp a c es for eng a g ement, or d eliver a b etter and faster (not just che a p er) servic e to citizens. When d elivering public servic es, online servic es use d simply b e c ause they are che a p er are not a p p e aling to IP O Ds (even though they a p pre ciate the tra d e-off that servic es might improve elsewhere if money is save d at the interfa c e with the public). “I am an insurance broker and we charge more, but we get them to come into the office, it costs more, but you get a personal service” (IP O D workshop, young er) However the good news is that there are many examples of innovative uses of te chnology in the private se ctor that the government c an draw upon. Thinking to the future, te chnology in government has hug e potential to eng a g e IP O Ds. At its b est, innovative te chnology cre ates new meta phors of ways to eng a g e with information; for example, the windows system cre ate d a way of thinking a bout multiple a ctivities on a computer, and the conc e pt of the wiki and ta g cloud have cre ate d a new way of thinking a bout information hierarchies. G overnment information is alre a dy b enefiting from te chnology, for instanc e the we b-b ase d comp any Patient A dviser provid es user-g enerate d information on hospitals by using the same interfa c e mod el as Trip A dvisor. This a g gre g ates information simply and effe ctively, making it e asy to a c c ess and g enuinely fa cilitating choic e. Trip A dvisor itself, of course, like Ama zon or e B ay, uses the emerg ent prop erties of information given by hundre ds of users to sha p e its content, in a way which nobody could have done 20 ye ars a go, but which is now comforta bly within the public consciousness. “In the future, technology will come to us, not we to it” (IP O D workshop, young er) Just as the p ersonal mp3 player g ave a whole g eneration a new way of a g gre g ating, thinking a bout, and sele cting p arts of their music colle ction, there will b e te chnology interfa c es d evelop e d in the future which give citizens new ways of sifting through information, making choic es a bout servic es, and eng a ging with government. If d evelop e d effe ctively, these will give the same me asure of p ersonalisation to the citizen’s involvement with the public re alm, as the mp3 player gives the music lover the chanc e to p ersonalise his or her music colle ction. IP O Ds are alre a dy familiar with these meta phors in the world of leisure and entertainment, will re cognise inspire d id e as for online servic es and a p plaud them. The priority for those wishing to eng a g e with IP O Ds should b e to rese arch and d evelop these me chanisms.

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For IP O Ds, there is another re ason why te chnology c an sit at the he art of a reinvigorate d relationship with government. Many of their d emands of government c an b e met by an innovative use of te chnology. O nline interfa c es, for instanc e, c an make complex id e as and financial information simple; c an cre ate effe ctive, visually literate, and entertaining communic ations; and c an encoura g e p ersonal conne ctions with servic e d elivery and tailore d, soft p aternal solutions. As a footnote to this, Ipsos M O RI’s work in Ditchley in 2003 looke d at ele ctronic voting ma chines in tra ditional polling stations, voting by tele phone, voting by text messa g e, voting by digital TV and internet voting. None of these exp eriments, with the exc e ption of all-postal voting, consistently produc e d an incre ase in turnout when p eople did not fund amentally want to vote 14 . For IP O Ds, te chnology must sup port a relationship that they are alre a dy d eveloping with government – not try to a ct as a substitute for a relationship. IP O Ds in our workshop sug g este d id e as like loc al government text messa ging, Instant Messeng er for your G P, and pod c asts from loc al schools or universities as good start points for sup plementing existing relationships. In the future, te chnology may have incre ase d power to inform and empower the ele ctorate. G oogle re c ently sug g este d inventing a truth pre dictor for analysis of politic al sp e e ches, built out of a ra pid se arch through previous sp e e ches by the same politician, and a g gre g ating the opinions of influential opinion le a d ers in the blogsphere to come up with an indic ator of how truthful the politician is b eing, as announc e d at the C onservative Party C onferenc e in 2006 15 . This id e a, as a thought exp eriment, might b e ar some investig ation – as a ste p on the roa d to presenting the complex information which is cre ate d by the ma chinery of state, in a simple, cle ar, and interesting way so that IP O Ds c an reeng a g e with government.

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THE IMPLICATIONS FOR GOVERNMENT
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THE IMPLICATIONS FOR GOVERNMENT

The results of the workshop ena ble us to offer a toolkit for policy-makers gra p pling with the IP O D question. We would put an a ction plan to government und er four he a dings: communic ation, comp etenc e, le a d ership and loc alism.

Communications
O ver the last d e c a d e, the G overnment has introduc e d a series of initiatives in an effort to a d a pt its relationship with the public. These have come in the form of reviews and a ction plans und er the remit of numerous d e p artments as well as in new ways of communic ating. These d evelopments show a high level of preoc cup ation with the way government relates to the population and a re cognition of the ne e d for politicians to re align themselves within the We b 2.0 world that the public, and young p eople in p articular, now op erate in. While many new communic ations d evelopments (YouTub e and Twitter, for example) have b e en embra c e d by the politic al world, young p eople exp e ct more than this. The workshop groups showe d that they are waiting for government and politicians to surprise them with more innovative and exciting ways of g etting information a cross to them.

Information made interesting
A key strand of the Transformational G overnment a g end a has b e en the rationalisation of government we bsites, so that government information is e asier to find and use 16 . While a fair summary would b e that government we bsites do not typic ally eng a g e visitors in the way that IP O Ds would like, what is impressive and positive is that G overnment has b e en aware of this and has continually sought to improve its online presenc e. A larg e numb er of sites have b e en close d down in favour of “joine d up” cross-d e p artmental sites and in A pril 2004 Dire ctgov was launche d to b e a single we bsite for providing public servic es information and online a c c ess 17 . Dire ctgov was the C a binet O ffic e’s third attempt at setting up a we b portal for the U K public se ctor: the first, O p engov , was b arely more than a dire ctory of d e p artmental sites; its suc c essor, U KO nline , trie d to channel p eople to e-servic es through individual d e p artmental we bsites 18 . As a “one-stop-shop” for online public servic es information, Dire ctgov was se en as the next ste p forward and was found e d on the id e a of “[joining] up information for the citizen in a way that they und erstand” 19 .

Dire ctgov was esta blishe d in response to public d emands; extensive rese arch ha d b e en done showing that “p eople want a single channel to government” 20 . However, initial visitor figures were disa p pointing. In July 2007, a N ational Audit O ffic e (N AO) re port showe d that only 2% of internet users could name Dire ctgov unprompte d. Jayne Nickalls, C hief Exe cutive of Dire ctgov , has a dmitte d that “brand awareness is an issue”. 21
A numb er of government reviews and rese arch c amp aigns have b e en launche d in an attempt to respond to te chnologic al d evelopments in communic ations 22 . A re c ent N AO re port found that progress ha d b e en ma d e in d elivering information online sinc e its last re port five ye ars e arlier. However, it found that not enough was b eing done to ensure that government we bsites provid e d the right information in the d esire d format 23 . Sir John Bourn, H e a d of the N AO, said “When I last re porte d on this subje ct in 2002, I re porte d we aknesses in information a cross government on the cost and usa g e of its we bsites. Tod ay’s re port highlights that little improvement has b e en ma d e in these are as. D e p artments ne e d to focus on und erstanding the cost-effe ctiveness of their we bsites and who uses them and why, so that they c an b etter me et the ne e ds of citizens” 24 . N evertheless, Dire ctgov usa g e has incre ase d: from 2.8 million visits in July 2006, to 5.3 million in March 2007 to 7.5 million in March 2008 25 . Information c an b e a c c esse d via internet, digital television and mobile phone, showing the G overnment’s awareness of various mod ern forms of communic ation. However, the numb er of users still cle arly la gs b ehind various other online servic e provid ers such as the B B C (15 million viewers a month)26 , G oogle (10.7 million U K users a month)27 and e B ay (13.2 million visitors a month)28 .

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Interactive relationships
In 2007, Tony Blair took “a giant le a p into cyb ersp a c e” by re porte dly b e coming the first world le a d er to have his own YouTub e channel 29 . In his op ening vid eo messa g e, Blair said that the id e a of La bour:vision was to ena ble p eople to he ar “unme diate d, fresh, first-hand” what the La bour Party was a bout 30 . This was quickly followe d by a 10 Downing Stre et YouTub e site giving the public a chanc e to view pod c asts and vid eos of the Prime Minister31 . After two months it was c ele brating its one millionth viewing 32 . The channel has continue d und er G ordon Brown who introduc e d a new series of “Ask The PM” Q&A sessions, ena bling YouTub e users to submit questions to the Prime Minister and then vote on the favourites for him to answer. This id e a ha d alre a dy b e en pra ctise d by D avid C ameron – We b C ameron was up and running a ye ar or so b efore G ordon Brown’s initiative and offere d the same op portunity for the public to put questions to the C onservative Party le a d er. Nick Cle g g similarly c alle d on G ordon Brown and D avid C ameron to follow his innovative le a d in holding re gular town hall me etings around the country at which anyone was a ble to come along and ask the Lib eral D emocrat le a d er any question they wante d 33 . This was to “give p eople the say they d eserve”. These d evelopments cle arly d emonstrate an awareness among politicians of the ne e d to communic ate with the population in new ways. Further, the question and answer asp e cts touch on an element of intera ction. This has also b e en a p p arent in new moves by the Prime Minister this ye ar. In the spring, it was re porte d that G ordon Brown ha d b e come the first he a d of government in Europ e to launch his own Twitter we bsite – a new tool for quick and fre quent communic ations 34 . Most re c ently it was re porte d that the Prime Minister ha d taken to tele phoning memb ers of the public who ha d written to him with questions or complaints 35 . While the latter was dismisse d by some, the id e a of such a dire ct and fluid way of intera cting with citizens could b e something that a p p e als very much to IP O Ds. O ther positive examples of intera ctive communic ations are a p p arent. As an example, in the London Borough of Lewisham p eople c an now re port an environmental problem they spot by taking a digital picture on their mobile phone and sending it to the council. The incid ent is inserte d dire ctly into the council’s d ata b ase and an email or text messa g e is sent b a ck to confirm the a ction taken 36 .

Competence
The rese arch groups were a remind er that young er p eople’s disillusionment with politics does not stem from a disinterest in politic al issues. Far from it: as pra gmatists, they want politicians to b e professional and to b ehave as such.

Professionalism
In the “post-id eologic al a g e” that the IP O D g eneration has grown up in, p eople are highly motivate d by comp etenc e. Some of the highest profile politic al stories of re c ent months have b e en a p p arent examples of government incomp etenc e, such as the loss of HMRC d ata discs last autumn, the mistaken rele ase of 1,000 foreign prisoners in 2006 and loss of 130 stolen la ptops by the Ministry of D efenc e (blame d on the “Fa c e book G eneration” of officials who a p p arently do not und erstand the culture of se curity)37 . D avid C ameron has attempte d to fashion himself and his p arty as the comp etent alternative to La bour. As he said in his 2006 summer messa g e to Party memb ers “ O ur responsibility is to provid e an exciting, comp etent and cre dible alternative” 38 . Public opinion has b e en evenly split as to comp etenc e – a poll at the end of last ye ar put 43% of voters b ehind C ameron and 42% b ehind Brown 39 .

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Value for money
Value for money is a politic ally loa d e d issue. A gre at d e al of the G overnment’s c a pital was investe d in a major exp ansion of public sp ending following 1999. All p arties are now se eking to find the b est ways to incre ase value for money for a much-enlarg e d public se ctor – a task that IP O Ds strongly sup port. The C onservatives have put their commitment to value into a new fisc al rule – to “share the proc e e ds of growth” b etwe en taxation and public sp ending, or, in other words, to grow public sp ending but at a slower rate than the rate of growth of the e conomy. The G overnment and Lib eral D emocrats have taken a different a p proa ch – to se ek efficiencies from within the current public sp ending envelop e. For the G overnment, the main targ et has b e en p erc eive d inefficiency in the civil servic e. Sir Peter G ershon’s landmark review in 2004 aime d to rationalise b a ck-offic e functions and improve procurement, and to save over £20 billion as a result. The latest C omprehensive Sp ending Review announc e d a new initiative on efficiency that would, for example, a chieve 5 p er c ent annual re al re ductions in a dministration bud g ets a cross d e p artments 40 . The workshop reve ale d that IP O Ds do not fe el that these efforts are sufficient. The rese arch groups themselves provid e d one answer: IP O Ds would a p pre ciate evid enc e on the use of public resourc es, provid e d in a a c c essible and involving way. N ew te chnology ne e ds to b e use d cre atively here.

Leadership
Both the G overnment and the O p position have b e en wrestling with the id e a of consumer choic e for the last thre e Parliaments. The principle of choic e has b e come an a c c e pte d c entre pie c e of public servic e reform policy, for all main p arties 41 . But there is a growing re alisation that consumers have not eng a g e d with choic e in the way that its sup porters ha d hop e d they would. C ertainly choic e has ma d e a positive differenc e to servic es wherever it has b e en introduc e d, in p articular the N ational H e alth Servic e. And individual consumers have embra c e d choic e when it has b e en offere d to them 42 . But there is a sense that choic e is more strongly value d by policy “wonks” than it is by p eople themselves. This re port’s finding – that IP O Ds want to b e help e d with choic e – should help policy makers resolve this p ara dox. Cle arly, IP O Ds prefer choic e to no choic e and information to no information. But they will not b e eng a g e d by long menus of choic es of servic es on their own; nor by larg e d ata b ases of information on the options b efore them. Inste a d, they will respond positively to a limite d set of choic es that are tailore d to them.

Information
This me ans two new roles for government. The first is to think hard a bout the presentation of information to consumers. Publishing information is not enough (and ind e e d there are now many outlets for b asic information on public servic es, such as schools and hospitals). What is ne e d e d is to ena ble individuals to mana g e information on servic es, so that they c an p ersonalise it for their own ne e ds. G ood information, in effe ct, will let individuals re duc e their rang e of choic es to those that suit them. A subsidiary question is who should provid e this information. Incre asingly public servic es are b eing provid e d outsid e government (while still larg ely or entirely fund e d by the taxp ayer). It may therefore make sense for public-private p artnerships to take forward this new information a g end a.

Personalisation
More importantly, however, governments ne e d to do b etter in aligning their servic es to the ne e ds of customers. People want the right choic es for them. “Personalisation” is alre a dy a c entral theme of mod ern policy-making 43 . But the rese arch sug g ests that policy-makers’ current a g end a ne e ds to b e a djuste d.

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Policy makers in all thre e p arties have sought to make servic es more p ersonal by giving citizens and servic e users chanc es to discuss and comment on them. For example, Rt. Hon. Hilary Armstrong MP, C hanc ellor of the Duchy of Lanc aster and Minister for the C a binet O ffic e and Social Exclusion, expresse d this saying: “If 30,000 p arents were me eting in a p ark or footb all sta dium to share information and tips a bout p arenting, government would take notic e” 44 . In fa ct IP O Ds do not want to visit p arks or footb all sta diums to p ass on their views, which at some later d ate might le a d to new servic es which me et their tastes. They want government to do more of the work – to take on a le a d ership role, like a consumer brand, in id entifying their ne e ds and sha ping servic es to me et them. In its latest thinking, the G overnment se ems to b e aware of the ne e d to chang e dire ction. The ind e p end ent, government-commissione d Power of Information re port publishe d in June 2007 questione d the entire b asis of the way government communic ate d with citizens 45 . It found that “government has not yet fully eng a g e d with the new g eneration of ordinary citizens wishing to use its information as ingre dients in a new rang e of servic es” and that a new strate gy was ne e d e d. The re port argue d that rather than trying to control the use and dissemination of ele ctronic information, government should loosen its grip and allow room for more innovation from memb ers of the public. For example, by giving citizens’ groups a c c ess to p articular government d ata to cre ate online “self-help forums” – ranging from blogs to wikis and social networking sites – and encoura ging civil servants to op enly g et involve d in these less controlle d, user-le d we b portals. It re commend e d that government le arn from the many private se ctor comp anies, such as A p ple and Microsoft, alre a dy using these typ es of forum to gre at suc c ess. A current example in the public se ctor would b e the blog for dia b etes sufferers on N HS C hoic es , the D e p artment of H e alth’s colla borative information we bsite. The O p position has also shown commitment to these colla borative ways of communic ating. G eorg e O sborne has said that the response ne e d e d to We b 2.0 is “as much a cultural shift as a te chnologic al chang e” 46 . This shift entails making use of emerging online colla borative forums as well as involving the public in op en d e b ate on public servic es: “a shift to a culture that se eks customers’ views and id e as at every sta g e of d eveloping a servic e” 47 .

Reform
A key b arrier to this typ e of a ctivity was found to b e the culture of “risk aversion” within Whitehall – civil servants’ fe ars that such sites could b e use d in ways that were “incomp atible with government obje ctives or ways of op erating”, and that more publicly availa ble information might attra ct criticism. The G overnment committe d itself to a d dressing this issue in its response to the Power of Information re port 48 . This sug g ests that the a g end a of lib eralising public servic es – of changing the role of government to fund er rather than fund er and provid er – will also help government me et IP O Ds’ ne e ds. A gre ater rang e of smaller-sc ale provid ers should b e innovative in conc eiving and presenting new servic es to the public. A gre ater rang e of provid ers will also give IP O Ds the right of exit. Another good asp e ct of the consumer relationship is the right of re course i.e. the a bility to walk away. At present, consumers do not have that option for many public servic es.

Localism
The IP O Ds’ views also give gre at sup port to the politic al sup porters of loc alism. The loc al arena gives a chanc e for IP O Ds to express their a ctive interest in politic al issues, and also to hold servic es effe ctively to a c count. Positively, loc alism is at the he art of the policy a g end as of e a ch of the main p arties. The G overnment’s re c ent interest in loc alism c an b e tra c e d b a ck to the d e b ate around “double d evolution”. D avid Milib and, then Environment Se cretary, spoke of a “reform of loc al government” that would d evolve power both from “the c entral government to loc al government” and “from loc al government to citizens and communities” 49 . C urrent plans rest with C ommunities and Loc al G overnment 50 .

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For the O p position, while the last Parliament saw a strong atta ck on the id e a of c entralisation, C onservatives waite d for the b e ginning of this Parliament to set out a positive a g end a in d etail. The Dire ct D emocra cy grouping set out a d etaile d loc alist a g end a soon after the 2005 g eneral ele ction 51 . Sinc e then it has found its way into much of D avid C ameron’s rhetoric, and nota bly the Party’s id e a of the “post-bure aucratic a g e”. Argua bly the mod ern Lib eral D emocrats were “loc alists b efore loc alism” – the Party’s 2005 manifesto alre a dy includ e d important new powers for loc al government, including tax-raising powers for loc al he alth servic es.

Conclusion
If we pull these themes of IP O D politics tog ether, we c an se e that current id e as around “transformational government” are ne c essary but not sufficient. G overnment does ind e e d ne e d to investig ate all of the potential of new te chnology, to communic ate and intera ct with citizens. But the extent of the “transformation” re quire d to eng a g e with IP O Ds goes wid er than te chnology. Policy-makers also ne e d to focus on the b asic effe ctiveness (and cost-effe ctiveness) of government; and on public servic e d elivery, both in terms of the diversity of servic es and their a c counta bility loc ally. These themes are re cognisa bly the b attle ground of post-Blairite politics. Policy-makers are right to have shifte d their interest from higher sp ending to value for money and from c entralisation to loc alism. If they c an match that new interest with cre ative a ction, they will find that IP O Ds will eng a g e enthusiastic ally with them. C onne cting with IP O Ds will me an a more effe ctive government and a he althier politic al proc ess. It is a prize well worth a chieving.

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FOOTNOTES
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35 18-34 ye ar olds with an even mix of working status, g end er, ethnicity and income levels. Ipsos M O RI survey for the C ommitte e on Stand ards in Public Life, 29 D e c emb er 2005-11 A pril 2006 among 1,849 ele ctors throughout Gre at Britain. Worc ester, R., Pa g e, B., Mortimore, R. et al (2007). “How do young p eople form opinions?”. Presente d to the Ditchley Found ation, D e c 2007. Varney (2006). Servic e Transformation: A b etter servic e for citizens and businesses, a b etter d e al for the taxp ayer http://www.jisc.a c.uk/public ations/public ations/gre atexp e ctations.aspx Gre at Exp e ctations of IC T: How Higher E duc ation Institutions are me asuring up. 685 working a dults were interviewe d b etwe en 10-12 August 2007 using the Ipsos M O RI i-omnibus online p anel of 1,000 G B a dults Ipsos M O RI survey for the Young Found ation among 973 British a dults, Se ptemb er 2006 685 working a dults were interviewe d b etwe en 10-12 August 2007 using the Ipsos M O RI i-omnibus online p anel of 1,000 G B a dults A c c enture’s Public Servic e Value G overnanc e Framework, which was d evelop e d from this rese arch, sets out the ne e d for re course in a c counta bility. Se e: http://www.a c c enture.com/Glob al/Rese arch_and_Insights/Institute_For_Public_Servic e_Value/A c c enture Framework.htm B ehavioural e conomists have propound e d this view; se e Layard, R. (2006). H a p piness: lessons from a new scienc e; James, O. (2007). Affluenz a “Many citizens b elieve that narrow a p plic ations of “fairness” and “choic e” in public-servic e d elivery are a ctually wid ening the g a ps b etwe en rich and poor.” – one of A c c enture’s five key findings from analysis of workshops in eight glob al cities. Se e http://www.a c c enture.com/Glob al/Rese arch_and_Insights/Institute_For_Public_Servic e_Value/Exe cutive O verview.htm Term g aining currency over re c ent ye ars; se e http://www.e conomist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id = 6772346 for a further discussion http://www.jisc.a c.uk/public ations/public ations/gre atexp e ctations.aspx Gre at Exp e ctations of IC T: How Higher E duc ation Institutions are me asuring up. Worc ester, R., Pa g e, B., Mortimore, R. et al (2007). “How do young p eople form opinions?”. Presente d to the Ditchley Found ation, D e c 2007. http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?d ef= conservatives.tv.archive.p a g e&Pa g e Numb er= 11 This was p articularly focuse d on following Sir D avid Varney’s 2006 re port Servic e transformation: A b etter servic e for citizens and businesses, a b etter d e al for the taxp ayer which said that £400 million could b e save d over thre e ye ars if all government e-a ctivities were channele d through just two sites, Dire ctgov and its business e quivalent, Businesslink. www.dire ct.gov.uk Nickalls, J. (2007). “Portal comb at”. The G uardian , June 2 2005 ibid ibid Dire ctgov (2006), March 06 c amp aign. For example, Dire ctgov (2006), “D e ath of the surfer … birth of the sup ersite” , 31 March; Dire ctgov (2007), The future of the internet reve ale d , 6 June N ational Audit O ffic e (2007). G overnment on the internet: progress in d elivering information and servic es online. ibid Dire ctgov (2008), We b statistics Wikip e dia (2008) Nielsen / N etratings (2003), January Nielsen / N etratings (2008), Fe bruary B B C N ews O nline (2007). “Blair praises Sarkozy on Youtub e”, 7 May

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http://www.youtub e.com/la bourvision http://www.youtub e.com/profile?user= DowningSt 10 Downing Stre et (2007). “Downing Stre et YouTub e Hits Milestone” , 2 July Cle g g, N. (2007). First conferenc e sp e e ch as le a d er of the Lib eral D emocrats, 9 March http://twitter.com/DowningStre et PRWe ek online (2008). “H ello? G ordon here. I’m-c alling a bout your letter …”, 29 May. C a binet O ffic e (2006). Transformational government: Implementation Plan. B B C N ews O nline (2008). “MoD ‘Fa c e book g eneration’ warning”, 25 June. C ameron, D. (2006). “Providing an exciting, comp etent and cre dible alternative”, 28 July. B B C N ewsnight O nline (2007). “Brown ‘tainte d by sle a ze’ – poll”, 3 D e c emb er. HM Tre asury (2007), Me eting the aspirations of the British p eople - 2007 Pre-Bud g et Re port and C omprehensive Sp ending Review , C m 7227, London: TS O. The very re c ent C a binet O ffic e p a p er on public servic e reform offere d the same correlation b etwe en a smaller Civil Servic e and gre ater efficiency. In his foreword, the Prime Minister said: “We must continue to strive for efficient, high quality servic es - by the end of this ye ar the numb er of civil servants will b e the lowest in sixty ye ars.” C a binet O ffic e (2008), Exc ellenc e and fairness: A chieving world class public servic es , London: HMS O. Se e for example C a binet O ffic e (2008), Exc ellenc e and fairness: A chieving world class public servic es , London: HMS O. Evid enc e presente d in Bosanquet, N. et al (2005), The N HS in 2010: reform or bust, Reform . For example, in G ordon Brown’s first session with the cross-p arty Liaison C ommitte e, on 13 D e c emb er 2007, he said that the next sta g e of public servic es reform would focus on providing servic es “tailore d to p eople’s ne e ds”. C a binet O ffic e (2007). The G overnment’s response to The Power of Information: An ind e p end ent review by E d Mayo and Tom Steinb erg . This was a referenc e to the user-le d we bsite for p arents, netmums, which ena bles thousands of mums and d a ds to share exp erienc es and information. Mayo, E. and Steinb erg, T. (2007). The Power of Information: An ind e p end ent review by E d Mayo and Tom Steinb erg . Tom Steinb erg is Dire ctor of mySociety and E d Mayo is C hief Exe cutive of the N ational C onsumer C ouncil. The re port was produc e d with sup port from the Prime Minister’s Strate gy Unit. O sborne, G. (2007), Sp e e ch at Royal Society for the Arts, “Re c asting the politic al settlement for the digital a g e” , 8 March. ibid C a binet O ffic e (2007). The G overnment’s response to The Power of Information: An ind e p end ent review by E d Mayo and Tom Steinb erg . Milib and, D. (2006). Sp e e ch to the annual conferenc e of the N ational C ouncil of Voluntary Org anisations. E.g. D e p artment for C ommunities and Loc al G overnment (2006). Strong and prosp erous communities - The Loc al G overnment White Pa p er, C m 6939-I, London: HMS O. H annan, D. (e d), (2005). Dire ct D emocra cy - A g end a for a N ew Mod el Party .

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“We’re not th e sh are hold ers of th e busin ess we are only th e c usto m ers so th ey’re m a king m on ey out of us, not m a king m on ey for us” IPO D worksho p, young er

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Further information
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About Ipsos MORI:
Ipsos M O RI is one of the larg est and b est known rese arch comp anies in Britain with glob al re a ch as a key p art of Ipsos, the world’s 4th larg est survey rese arch group, op erating in 55 countries. We are a multi-sp e cialist rese arch comp any with an unrivalle d portfolio of rese arch exp erienc e. O ur 1,000 clients b enefit from sp e cialist knowle d g e drawn from our five glob al pra ctic es: public affairs rese arch, a dvertising testing and tra cking, me dia evaluation, marketing rese arch and consultancy, customer satisfa ction and loyalty.

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