This paper discusses the Best Value programme, introduced in 1997, which is committed to providing high quality services that citizens value. The programme radically challenged the conventional organisation of public and voluntary services. Outlines the two major trends, which have emerged from the initiative. The first is the broadening and deepening of the engagement between the private and public sectors in the provision of community services. The second trend is more complex but also more radical – pulling together agencies responsible for social services, health services, voluntary services and community and media information services. States that the initiative has given new impetus to the debate on Urban FM – the idea that community management can be wholly externalised to professional service providers, responsible for investment and management of the public infrastructure and its associated services. Urban FM is simply a logical extension of the need to reinvest in community facilities and systems, and provide a flexible “platform” in which agencies and the private sector can come together in new and innovative settings for the benefit of the community.
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