"Do you people not talk to each other?"
Recently in Leeds there was a meeting about tackling child poverty, which a lot of local people turned up to, including both people living in poverty and professionals who worked with people in poverty.
At the start of the meeting, a couple with a young child came to the front of the room. They had been trying to get out of poverty, and explained that they would be naming the people who they had contacted, and asked them to stand up. They explained that first, they had gone to their doctor, then to their social worker, then to the local Sure Start, then to Jobcentre Plus and then...and then...and then...by the time they had finished, twenty nine people were standing up.
"We went to talk to all these different people, and they all explained why they couldn't sort out our problems. So we've just got one question.
Do you people not talk to each other?"
The different services set up to help people out of poverty should work in such a way that together to tackle the problems which people face. But too often, what happens is that people end up telling the same story over and over again to different professionals. This, not "choice", is what reform of public services needs to sort out.