New models of governance and public services

Localism, decentralisation, market making and ICT

Building a ‘northern powerhouse’: it may(or may not) work

, 24 June 2014

George Osborne has set out his vision for the future of Britain’s northern cities, proposing new mayors with Boris Johnson-style powers. This is a positive development, but has he considered barriers to decentralisation that we’ve recently identified?

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School of hard knocks: is Ofsted’s survival under threat?

, 12 June 2014

The dust is slowly settling after reports from the Department of Education and Ofsted this week identified significant failings in a number of Birmingham’s schools. The degree to which these schools ‘failed to promote British values’ and whether doing so breached regulatory requirements is still not entirely clear. But the media frenzy and...

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Public bodies looking to the future

, 9 May 2014

First, a warning from Sir Bob Kerslake – keep focused on delivering for the current government rather than simply prepare for the next. In 2009 many quangos did themselves no favours by too obviously courting potential new ministers. Our new report on pre-election contacts recommends that permanent secretaries work out how to include their...

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New markets, old problems: increasing diversity and quality of supply in public services

, 29 April 2014

Last week, the Public Accounts Committee criticised the Government for ‘poor planning and bad management’ following changes to asylum seeker accommodation contracts in March 2012. Three providers – G4S, Serco and Clearel – took over the contracts from social landlords, including councils. The intention was to increase competition between them and make savings of...

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Is it time to call time on social impact bonds?

, 17 April 2014

Is too much energy being expended on social impact bonds? This was a question posed by a contributor to a recent roundtable we held as part of our Connecting Policy with Practice: People Powered Change programme.

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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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