Archive for February, 2011

An elected mayor for Newcastle United?

, 28 February 2011

Of all the cities I have visited so far, Newcastle is the least enthusiastic about reforming its system of government. Labour and the Lib Dems dominate the city council and I could not identify a single councillor or MP from either party in favour of the mayoral proposition.

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Posted in New models of governance and public services | 2 Comments »

Don’t quota me

, 25 February 2011

On Friday 11 February the Prime Minister launched a new approach to government procurement. As part of his Big Society vision, public services would be thrown open to competition and there would be a “right to bid” for delivery of public services.

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What government IT can learn from cycling in London

, 24 February 2011

Cycling in London requires agility. By that, I don’t mean being limber (although that does help). You need to be prepared to react quickly to changing circumstances and to revise your planned route as circumstances require.

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Posted in A more effective Whitehall | 9 Comments »

Outsourcing policy

, 22 February 2011

In Australia, if there is a problem – what to do about the gambling industry; how to fund long term care for the aged; how to deal with scarce urban water – the Government’s answer is to ask its Productivity Commission to take a look.

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Foot and Mouth Disease ten years on

, 18 February 2011

10 years ago tomorrow – a Monday morning – a farm worker at an Essex abattoir noticed some pigs, held over from Friday’s shift, in obvious distress.

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AV referendum goes ahead but the creation of the coalition has altered politics in the Lords

, 17 February 2011

The creation of the coalition has changed politics in many unexpected ways—not least over relations between the Houses of Commons and the Lords.

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Banking on the Big Society

, 15 February 2011

There’s a lot being invested in the Big Society. The banks are dipping into their pockets to help capitalise a ‘Big Society Bank’. The investment community is being invited to support emerging social investment vehicles such as social impact bonds. And individuals are being encouraged to invest in ‘Society ISAs’.

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Accident prevention in government

, 14 February 2011

Two influential political commentators – Phil Collins of the Times who worked in No.10 under Tony Blair and Andrew Rawnsley of the Observer, documenter of the internal tensions of the last government, have recently opined on the current accident proneness of the government – whether on health, prisoners’ votes, school building or the forestry...

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They may have King Kenny, but would Liverpool want an elected mayor?

, 11 February 2011

Liverpool, the immensely wealthy “second city of the Empire,” has more Georgian buildings than Bath. Some of its historic grandeur has revived with the successful regeneration of the dockside and city centre, and the dysfunctional Derek Hatton Eighties are ancient history.

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Power to the people

, 10 February 2011

Eight major charities wrote to The Times this week complaining about “a gap between rhetoric and reality” in the proposed NHS reforms. They argued that plans to make GP consortia accountable to the public are “far too weak”.

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