Better policy making

Improving how Whitehall does its core business

Improving housing supply requires planning reforms

, 12 September 2014

The CBI argued in its Housing Britain report published earlier this week, that housing “is not just a social priority – it is a key business issue; high cost of moving home, and lack of decent and affordable housing, are barriers to attracting and retaining employees”. It sees the failure of successive governments to...

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Family friendly government?

, 18 August 2014

The middle of August may not sound like the best time to announce a new policy initiative – to subject all government policy to a family impact test. But that is what David Cameron has just done. In a speech to the Royal College of General Practitioners he said: “I want every government department...

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Then and now – learning lessons for the new fuel poverty strategy

, 1 August 2014

No-one can accuse the current government of rushing into publishing a new strategy on fuel poverty. There has been an extensive review of the issue by Professor Sir John Hills published in March 2012, followed more than a year later by DECC’s new ‘framework for future action’ redefining the problem, and then earlier this...

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Memo to a new minister: how to keep implementation on track in the final year

, 17 July 2014

Last autumn, the Prime Minister told the Commons Liaison Select Committee that 2014-15 was to be the year of delivery. Today, as his new ministerial teams convene to make plans for the final nine months of this parliament, the pressure is on to make that happen. New research from the Institute for Government published...

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The reshuffle dilemma: make-over or make progress?

, 14 July 2014

With the long-awaited reshuffle imminent, there are likely to be several changes among junior ministers. While this may or may not make for good party management, it threatens to disrupt policy implementation at the point when stability and focus are needed most.

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Armitt’s National Infrastructure Commission – moving towards a more sensible debate

, 9 July 2014

Ed Miliband announced last week that Labour intends to establish an independent National Infrastructure Commission if it returns to power.

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Miscarriage of justice: why government needs to take care in implementing social justice policies

, 20 June 2014

Today’s Public Accounts Committee report on the “fiasco” of personal independence payments, the new non-means tested benefit designed to replace Disability Living Allowance, shows why implementation matters when dealing with reforms which affect the most vulnerable members of society.

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Flood risk management: Now is the time to be innovative

, 17 June 2014

Now that the winter floods of 2014 have receded, many victims will continue to piece their livelihoods back together over the coming weeks and months ahead. Some hard questions are being posed about the extent of flood defence spending, particularly following the budget announcement when a further £140 million was apportioned to it. This...

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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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