New models of governance and public services

Localism, decentralisation, market making and ICT

Guest blog: Learning from Whitehall – how we adapted the PMDU to local government

Even though the Coalition government scrapped the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in 2010, the PMDU model continues to inspire public service reformers. Here, the Leader and Chief Executive of Haringey Borough Council reflect on their experience of setting up a Corporate Delivery Unit based on the PMDU and argue that other local authorities can...

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Pre-election school tests

, 2 February 2015

Today, David Cameron will promise that the government’s flagship academies programme will be expanded post 2015. Currently, the government can only force schools that have been judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted to convert to academy status. But if they win the election the Conservatives want to extend this to schools that ‘require improvement’ to convert....

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Who’s accountable for weak accountability?

, 23 January 2015

Even the Treasury now proclaims its enthusiasm for devolution. But weaknesses in transparency and accountability are undermining many localist policies, as a recent Institute for Government event revealed.

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Going full Circle: Hinchingbooke collapse raises outsourcing questions

, 9 January 2015

This morning, it was announced that Circle is withdrawing from the contract under which it manages Hinchingbrooke, the UK’s first privately run NHS hospital. Announcing the withdrawal, which is permitted by the terms of its contract, Circle said: “There have been significant changes in the operational landscape for NHS hospitals since the contract was...

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Clueless on contracting

, 11 December 2014

In our report Making Public Service Markets Work we argued that there should be: more attention on ongoing oversight of contracts rather than just signing deals greater transparency of and clearer accountability for success and failures and more attention to stimulating competition for contracts, so that government isn’t left with a poor selection of...

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Guest blog – It Takes Three: How New Zealand thinks about arm’s-length bodies

, 9 December 2014

New Zealand, like the UK and other western liberal democracies, has yet to be satisfied with the overall performance of its arm’s-length body (ALB) arrangements. New Zealand’s ALB or Crown entity system was reformed in the early 2000s. The Crown Entities Act 2004 set out to establish an integrated governance and accountability regime that...

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Taking transparency to taskforce

, 19 November 2014

Yesterday’s launch of the Open Contracting Data Standard marked a significant step in enabling governments to be more transparent about their contracting arrangements of public services. Last week the Institute for Government, in collaboration with the CBI, looked at practical ways to change transparency in contracting from a ‘nice to have’ to the new...

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Resolving confusion: the unaddressed issue of public bodies reform

, 12 November 2014

Three years on from the passing of the Coalition’s government’s Public Bodies Act and a period of reform in the UK, how far has the system of arm’s-length government in the UK improved? The answer of course, depends on what the diagnosis of the original problem was.

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Patchwork Britain

, 5 November 2014

Greater Manchester has won itself more powers in return for introducing a directly elected mayor. The move confirms that politicians are learning what works when trying to decentralise power. And there are several signs suggesting that decentralisation will not stop here.

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Decentralisation power plays

, 22 October 2014

Everyone wants a piece of the decentralisation cake - but there are too many cooks and disagreements about who is head chef.

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