New models of governance and public services

Localism, decentralisation, market making and ICT

Is it time to call time on social impact bonds?

, 17 April 2014

In case you’re unfamiliar with Social Impact Bonds – also known as SIBs – see our beginner’s guide. Ever since the first one was launched in 2010 – to tackle recidivism among offenders leaving HMP Peterborough – policy makers in the UK and abroad have been intrigued by the SIB model. In short they...

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Does the ‘troubled families’ agenda demonstrate joined-up government?

, 17 April 2014

What does joined-up government actually mean? A common theme of our work at the Institute is that government doesn’t always ‘join-up’ as well as it might. Think of how it typically goes about setting budgets and saving money – it’s usually done on a department by department basis, with ministers making trade-offs and deals...

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Ed’s local concerns

, 14 April 2014

The UK is one of the most centralised political systems of its size in the world. But last week, Ed Miliband promised he would change all that should Labour be elected in 2015. Broadly, he pledged two things, both of which build on the current government’s decentralising efforts. First, an expansion of the Regional...

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G4S and competition regulation in public services

, 10 April 2014

Last year, the Government made it clear that G4S bids would not be welcome after identifying billing irregularities in its contract to provide electronic tagging services. But yesterday, the Government issued a statement implying that G4S will once again be considered seriously if it bids for government contracts. Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said,...

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A contracting sector – government contracts and voluntary organisations

, 8 April 2014

Last week, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) published its UK Civil Society Almanac for 2014, full of interesting data on the voluntary sector and civil society. First published in 1996, the Almanac is a great example to all of us involved in data-driven projects about how to present information in a useful,...

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Will new audit change give rise to a phoenix from the flames?

, 25 March 2014

The commission itself is being scrapped – a mere three years later than originally intended – in favour of the big, bad, idea that councils and other public bodies should appoint their own auditors. This, as the Institute for Government noted in its recent study Dying to Improve, overturns a longstanding principle that really...

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Mr Gove’s next schools test

, 4 March 2014

When it emerged in the early 2000s, the idea behind academy schools was straightforward. Schools that were failing, particularly in deprived communities, were to be rebranded. Extra money, reinvigorated leadership with freedom to manage, and more specialised curricula were all intended to improve performance and signal that educational failure was no longer being tolerated....

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Relationship advice – plan for decentralisation now

, 13 February 2014

The Institute for Government heard many such stories during our connecting policy with practice programme. To the frustration of frontline professionals and policy makers alike, public services are rarely configured to deal with such complex problems. We identified the importance of longer term services that help the ‘whole person’ and genuinely understand and involve...

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Power to the people – why giving away political power isn’t as easy as you might think

, 11 February 2014

Miliband, like Cameron, Brown, Blair, and Major, sees the state as excessively centralised and insufficiently responsive to service users and communities. There are nuances of emphasis – Miliband is at pains to point out that he does not want to see “the individual acting simply as a consumer” – but similarities outweigh differences. The...

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Burying the bodies – questions linger about the Public Bodies Reform Programme

, 7 February 2014

The National Audit Office today reported that public bodies reduced their administrative spending by £723 million in 2012-13, compared to 2010-11. 283 public bodies have been removed, either by merging them with other bodies or outright abolition. This represents 92% of the expected total reduction. So far, so good. The Cabinet Office are pleased...

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