Better policy making

Improving how Whitehall does its core business

Go ahead on Hinkley points to poor infrastructure decision making

, 16 September 2016

During her first couple of months as Prime Minister, Theresa May has shown her willingness to break with her predecessor. She paused prison reform and signalled a completely different approach to schools, delayed the Heathrow decision and reviewed the Universal Credit timetable. But the most eye catching change she made, within 20 days of...

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Lessons from Universal Credit to help current and future major projects

, 9 September 2016

Universal Credit has attracted a lot of controversy over the years, often with good reason. But it is worth restating that the core aim – of simplifying benefits – is worthwhile and has enjoyed cross-party support. The complexity of the benefits system has created real problems for the people using it. At its worst,...

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Universal Credit – a programme in recovery?

, 6 September 2016

Three years ago today the media was full of a report from the National Audit Office on Universal Credit. It was entitled “early progress”, but what it chiefly charted was a lack of progress. Universal Credit had hit such trouble that David Pitchford, then head of the Major Projects Authority, recommended that it needed...

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What are Theresa May’s policy priorities as Parliament returns?

, 5 September 2016

What progress has been made over the summer? Since the last instalment of our series on what is happening to the domestic agenda, and although Parliament has not been sitting, there has been some movement on key priorities: The renewal of Trident looks set to go ahead following a Commons vote in which a...

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NHS England must get smarter about how it engages the public

, 1 September 2016

For ordinary citizens, last week’s media coverage was likely the first they heard about the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs). According to the Guardian, the plans have been ‘shrouded in secrecy’ with the public largely unaware of how significant the changes are going to be. The STPs — of which there will be...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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