Better policy making

Improving how Whitehall does its core business

Securing the long-term credibility of the OBR: four key changes are needed

, 30 November 2015

If the verdict on the recent Spending Review was that George Osborne is a lucky chancellor then Robert Chote, the head of the OBR, is seriously unlucky. A surprise modelling revision and embarrassing mistakes in the previous forecasts have left the OBR facing criticism around its credibility. There are four reforms that the OBR could...

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How Welsh public services benefit from cross-UK evidence exchange

, 27 November 2015

Over the last century, Wales has provided numerous examples of inspirational public service leadership. David Lloyd George created the first system of National Insurance for those who were sick or unemployed. Jim Griffiths used his experience as a miners’ leader in developing the modern state benefit system. And Aneurin Bevan used his experiences from...

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Time to end Budgets’ special treatment

, 18 November 2015

What is most interesting is why the politics – and policy making – around Budgets are treated so differently from other important government decisions. As George Osborne contemplates how to extricate himself from his tax credits problem next week, maybe it’s time for him to think about whether he – and the country –...

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Getting better at getting things done: launching the Whitehall implementation ‘profession’

, 12 November 2015

As Jeremy Heywood reminded us in his recent talk at the Institute for Government on the role of the Cabinet Secretary, and as highlighted in the new leadership statement, the core responsibility of the UK Civil Service is to deliver the Government’s programme and ministerial priorities. In this Parliament, that means implementing the 517 priorities set...

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Not a blunder: why is automatic enrolment working?

, 4 November 2015

Automatic enrolment was one of the main reforms to emerge from the Pensions Commission in 2005. To combat dwindling retirement incomes, automatic enrolment makes it compulsory for employers to enrol staff without pension plans into workplace pensions (but allows individuals to opt out if they wish). It was an early application of behavioural insights....

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Divided by a common deficit – comparing UK and US infrastructure problems

, 30 October 2015

In the week George Osborne announced the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission and just two weeks after we debated how best to address long-term infrastructure decisions in the UK, I attended a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace forum on American Job Creation and Infrastructure in Washington DC, with a high-powered cast list including...

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Getting government to show its workings

, 20 October 2015

The last Parliament saw the creation of the Office for Budget Responsibility, the Independent Commission on Aid Impact, the Regulatory Policy Committee and the What Works centres – all designed to ensure that policy was based on robust evidence and assumptions. But this progress in specific areas was not translated into a transparent approach...

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Fiscal rules and knock-about politics don’t mix

, 14 October 2015

Which way will they vote? Will that change again? And would it matter at all whatever they did? Exciting questions no doubt, in relation to the Labour Party and the Chancellor’s new Charter for Fiscal Responsibility. But what is actually happening today has been rather lost in the coverage. The BBC website yesterday was...

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History redux? – Hinkley Point C and its critics

, 24 September 2015

This initial deal intends to ‘pave the way’ for a final investment decision by EDF, supported by China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation, later this year. It guarantees that lenders financing the construction of the plant will be repaid up to £2bn, irrespective of project performance. The deal therefore transfers some...

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How the UK can get better at infrastructure, housing, and planning for the future

, 18 September 2015

We invited Prof. Diane Coyle (Professor of Economics in the University of Manchester), Caroline Green (Assistant Chief Executive, Oxford City Council, and former Research Director of the Lyons Housing Review), and Sir John Armitt (author of an independent review of long-term infrastructure planning in the UK) to comment on our findings in a public...

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