Better policy making

Improving how Whitehall does its core business

Audacious policy implementation – six questions from the 2001 Fuel Poverty Strategy

, 8 April 2014

On any analysis, these commitments qualify as what management guru Jim Collins calls BHAGs: Big Hairy Audacious Goals. BHAGs focus on long-term change, acting as an ambitious vision to orient action. Government is a natural place for BHAGs. The incentive for politicians is to identify the gap between the status quo and the future...

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ColaLife: a textbook case of innovative policy making and effective implementation

, 2 April 2014

I will declare an interest. Five years ago, when I was working at Defra we recruited Simon Berry to lead our work on the way the department worked with the third sector. We managed to hang onto Simon for 18 months, guiding him through the ways of Whitehall, before he announced that he and...

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Happy returns for the health reforms?

, 1 April 2014

GPs to commission all local care. A separate commissioning board – now called NHS England – to do the specialist stuff and hold the GPs’ contracts. A more formal recognition of the role of choice and competition. New Health and Wellbeing Boards to bring health and social care more closely together, etc, etc So...

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Beware the consensus rabbit

, 25 March 2014

Last Wednesday morning the twittersphere was awash with early sightings of the Easter bunny – aka George Osborne’s budget rabbit. The Treasury had helpfully “predicted a surprise” (that’s not a prediction – they had already printed the press notices and the Red Book), and “action for savers” was repeatedly trailed in between the welter...

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Putting the child poverty target into law needed more thought

, 27 February 2014

There appears to be a lot to be said in principle for the child poverty target. When it was passed into law it was the product of cross-party agreement. Many policies chop and change – and this sort of rare consensus could mean a more consistent approach. It was long-term – it intended to...

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Implementing the London Challenge: beyond top-down and bottom-up

, 18 February 2014

Managing this creative tension has emerged as a central theme in our research for our project on policy implementation. In this blog we offer some early thoughts about the lessons for policy implementation that can be found in the case of London Challenge. When it was first mooted in 2002, the London Challenge was...

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Guest blog: Good law, nine months on

, 22 January 2014

Word had got round that John Sheridan (of legislation.gov.uk, and a celebrated linked data pioneer) would be speaking. So the data community was excited. Government lawyers were also there, anticipating a lively discussion on thorny issues. There were academic lawyers, publishers, and campaigners. And there were quite a few people with no affiliation to...

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The limits of compensation: opposition to fracking

, 14 January 2014

It was also announced that the industry will further consult on how it plans to reward local communities. Last year, it was suggested that local communities would receive £100,000 when a test well is explored plus 1 per cent of revenues if shale gas is discovered. Options on how to use these funds are...

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MINDSPACE grows up – behavioural economics in government

, 6 January 2014

The report was originally commissioned by the last Labour government which hasn’t stopped a few members of the current opposition expressing degrees of scepticism about the way in which this government has enthusiastically taken up its techniques. The soon to be spun-out Behavioural Insights Team, established by David Cameron under MINDSPACE author, and former...

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What’s not working; how to make government evaluation better value for money

, 20 December 2013

We have been waiting a long time for the NAO to produce its verdict on evaluation in government, but it is welcome nonetheless. What’s wrong At a time when budgets are under sustained pressure, it seems bizarre that government has adopted such an ad hoc approach to knowing whether its policies are working or...

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