New models of governance and public services

Localism, decentralisation, market making and ICT

Decentralisation and devolution must be dealt with more coherently

, 30 April 2015

Whoever forms the next government will have to address the UK question. This is more than just than the Scottish, Welsh, Northern Ireland and English questions. It is about how the various parts of the UK relate to each other, and to the Union as a whole.

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Delivering English devolution: exploring the parties’ manifestos

, 29 April 2015

Given the impact of Scottish Independence referendum last year, it is hardly surprising that devolution features heavily in the manifestos. But while most of the parties agree that the next steps for devolving power to Scotland (and to a lesser extent, Wales) start with the package of measures agreed through the cross-party Smith Commission...

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No burning platforms: do this election’s manifestos suggest parties are learning to love quangos?

, 29 April 2015

In the run-up to the 2010 election there was a clear consensus on the need to rein in the quango state. David Cameron had called it inefficient and unaccountable. Gordon Brown, as prime minister, published a white paper promising reform. And even the Lib Dems were sceptics. This year’s manifestos strike a different tone....

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Culture shock: the case of setting up the Competition and Markets Authority

, 24 April 2015

There are many challenges in setting up a new government agency. How do you ensure that the organisation is fit for purpose on day one? How do you rally staff behind its vision and mission if it has no history? If the new body is formed by two or more organisations merging, how do...

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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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