Better policy making

Improving how Whitehall does its core business

Gold rush – the role of UK Sport in Team GB’s success

, 16 August 2016

One of the reasons for Team GB’s success is ruthless performance management by UK Sport, the arm’s length body that allocates funding to high-performance sports. Prior to the London 2012 Olympics, UK Sport set a target of winning between 48 and 70 medals, spread across at least 12 different sports. Britain’s final medal tally...

Posted in Better policy making | No Comments »

Government gets commercial

, 10 August 2016

In summer 2013, news of the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) failure to manage electronic monitoring of offenders, a service provided by Serco and G4S, hit the headlines. There were plenty of failures before, but this incident marked a turning point in government’s awareness of the need to improve its commercial skills. The Government quickly...

Posted in Better policy making | No Comments »

Devolution saves 6 billion plastic bags

, 1 August 2016

At first, the UK Government – for these purposes the Government of England – was a bag tax sceptic. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and its expert advisers pointed to evidence to show that the life cycle benefits of reducing plastic bag use were ambiguous, and ministers did not want...

Posted in Better policy making | 1 Comment »

Sir Amyas Morse: Prioritisation, prioritisation, prioritisation

, 25 July 2016

The importance of prioritisation Morse believes there are too many government projects – that even the recently-reduced government portfolio of 143 major projects was ‘enormous’. Transformation projects with a large digital element posed particular challenges: ‘doing things well is much more complicated than it used to be’, involving technological as well as organisational change,...

Posted in Better policy making | No Comments »

What does the reshuffle mean for existing policy priorities?

, 19 July 2016

As we have outlined in previous blogs, there are three categories of policy issue that the new Prime Minister and her government will need to address – policy issues that require immediate decisions; policies and projects that are already underway; and strategies that the Cameron government had promised were coming soon. This is our...

Posted in Better policy making | No Comments »

Digital government: a new approach is needed

, 21 June 2016

To achieve a transformation of government through the use of digital technologies requires a complete reversal of the current way of looking at the challenge. Instead of viewing the problem from the point of view of the internet, we must start with the political process of policy design. This is our conclusion from research,...

Posted in Better policy making | Comments Off on Digital government: a new approach is needed

Cock-up, not conspiracy, conceals evidence for policy

, 9 June 2016

Missing Evidence, published this month, reviews how much government-commissioned research is publicly available. Sir Stephen went in suspecting conspiracy – and, surprising no-one who has worked inside government, found cock-up. A few high-profile cases of delayed publication suggested there might be a deliberate strategy within government to suppress externally commissioned research. Indeed, there were some cases...

Posted in Better policy making | Comments Off on Cock-up, not conspiracy, conceals evidence for policy

The social investment approach to public spending in New Zealand: looking to the long term

, 17 May 2016

Social investment is an attempt to address the economic costs of New Zealand’s “20 to 30 year exposure to social dysfunction,” as part of the New Zealand Government’s long-term approach to fiscal control. Rather than simply cutting departmental budgets to reach short-term fiscal targets, the intention is to take spending decisions informed by a...

Posted in Better policy making | Comments Off on The social investment approach to public spending in New Zealand: looking to the long term

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...

Posted in Better policy making | Comments Off on Crime fiction: policy won’t work if it’s based on myth not reality

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...

Posted in Better policy making | 1 Comment »