Better policy making

Improving how Whitehall does its core business

Crime fiction: policy won’t work if it’s based on myth not reality

, 5 May 2016

A mass redeployment of policing resources to Oxford or Midsomer – two murder hotspots, if you believe what you watch on TV – would strike most people as absurd. But, as IfG Senior Fellow Tom Gash argues, many pet criminal justice policies are based on less obvious but also highly misleading assumptions. Sensible crime...

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How can we make tax policy (and budgets) better?

, 29 April 2016

In the past few years, the Institute for Government and others have repeatedly drawn attention to problems in tax policy-making and budgets. Just over a month since the March 2016 Budget, memories of the messy aftermath have dimmed as the EU referendum debate and concerns on tax transparency have moved centre stage. But at...

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Preparing for outsourcing failures

, 19 April 2016

Three different outsourcing failures have hit the headlines recently. Seventeen Edinburgh schools were closed down after it emerged that private contractor Edinburgh Schools Partnership had botched their construction. It has also emerged that the Government has paid out millions in compensation to learndirect. Learndirect was frontrunner to win a new Driver and Vehicle Standards...

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Energy inefficiency

, 14 April 2016

Promoting energy efficiency has proved hard for governments. Everyone agrees it is a good thing – both for energy bills and to reduce CO2 emissions. But relatively few people care enough to fork out the cash upfront to take the measures needed. On paper the Green Deal is a rational policymaker’s dream: assess what...

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Getting legislatures to engage in the evidence behind policy

, 8 April 2016

Anyone who has been watching BBC2’s riveting Inside Obama’s White House will have noted the US Administration’s increasing despair at navigating an increasingly polarised and hostile Congress. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Congress just passed the Murray-Ryan Bill, co-sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat, and Representative Paul Ryan...

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Putting low pay out of commission: does the National Living Wage herald the end of the Low Pay Commission?

, 4 April 2016

When we brought together those who had worked on implementing the minimum wage, Chris Pond, of the Low Pay Unit pressure group (one of the few early protagonists of a minimum wage in the UK), told us that ‘back in the 80s, the minimum wage wasn’t controversial at all. Nobody thought it was a...

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Politics and regulation: recipe for conflict or constructive partnership?

, 31 March 2016

The panellists – Sir Thomas Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, and former Rail Regulator and International Rail Regulator; Sir Edward Davey, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; and Ed Richards, Independent Chair of the Financial Services Trade Associations Review, and former Chief Executive of the Office of Communications (Ofcom)...

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Context v pretext: time for collective decision-making on Budgets?

, 23 March 2016

David Cameron’s recent letter to Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) described his puzzlement and disappointment at IDS’s decision to resign over a policy designed in his department, agreed in his department, announced by his department (and now reversed). On the face of it, the ‘pretexters’ have it – this was a bizarre issue over which...

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What next for Universal Credit?

, 21 March 2016

Universal Credit has been plagued by a variety of problems since its inception. The original timetable was hugely overambitious – suggesting Universal Credit would be delivered in just four years, whereas, according to the current timetable, it will have taken double that by the time it completes in 2021. It was being designed and...

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The challenges ahead for major government projects

, 18 March 2016

The Government’s Major Projects Portfolio – worth over £500 billion – contains 149 of the biggest and most risky projects. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) was set up to challenge and support departments in delivering these major projects. Today’s PAC report says the IPA must ‘maintain its focus on project assurance and support’....

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