New models of governance and public services

Localism, decentralisation, market making and ICT

Mayors at a gallop: the national influence of local leaders

, 17 March 2015

Elected in 2011 and 2012 respectively, George Ferguson (Bristol) and Sir Peter Soulsby (Leicester) have been working hard to show what mayors can do for our cities. At a recent event hosted at the Institute for Government, Tom Gash heard them raise two questions that any government after May 2015 will have to answer....

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A recipe for failure? Why government’s relationship with arm’s-length bodies matters

, 5 March 2015

According to the select committee, the Whitehall department responsible for ‘sponsoring’ the Gardens – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – frequently takes financial decisions that should instead be taken by Kew’s management. This prevents Kew from managing its affairs in a long-term strategic way and is, in the committee’s opinion, a...

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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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