Archive for May, 2011

Why special advisers are more than cabinet apprentices

, 27 May 2011

In the foreword of The Challenge of Being a Minister, the Institute for Government’s Director Andrew Adonis perhaps goes against the grain of the perceived commentariat wisdom. He argues that his own stint as a special adviser – which he compares to an apprenticeship – meant he was much better prepared to face the...

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Posted in Leadership for government | 1 Comment »

Lessons in ministerial effectiveness from overseas

, 26 May 2011

The Institute’s report The Challenge of being a Minister highlights two obstacles to effectiveness said to be absent elsewhere. Firstly, the small pool from which ministers are drawn, and secondly the frequency with which they are reshuffled.

Posted in Leadership for government | 3 Comments »

For how long should ministers be in place?

, 25 May 2011

A near universal complaint of former and current ministers and civil servants interviewed for the Institute’s new report The Challenge of Being a Minister is about the damaging effects of over-frequent reshuffles on the quality of government.

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Cameron’s Big Society speech: a day for mutual learning?

, 23 May 2011

The Big Society has always been synonymous with David Cameron. He sees the Big Society as his raison d’etre for being Prime Minister and, as we argued in One Year On, he is alone in the cabinet in being comfortable talking about it. Today’s speech reaffirms his commitment and emphasises that it is still...

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Taking the myki: Melbourne’s transport policy failures show importance of good policy design

, 23 May 2011

The Institute recently played host to Professor John Alford of the Australia New Zealand School of Government, which trains top level Federal and state civil servants. He gave staff a demonstration case study – on the failure of the Melbourne equivalent of Boris bikes.

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Posted in Better policy making | 4 Comments »

Shock, chaos and public service reform

, 17 May 2011

The Coalition’s plans for reforming our public services have been breathtakingly bold. From hospitals to schools, criminal justice to welfare, the pace and scale of the proposed reforms have taken many by surprise. But the government seems far more coy when it comes to publishing the long-delayed Public Services White Paper. What’s the problem?

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Posted in Better policy making, New models of governance and public services | 2 Comments »

The best laid plans…

, 13 May 2011

Published discretely alongside the refreshed departmental business plans was a dull but incredibly important annex (PDF, 431KB) that set out a line-by-line audit trail of changes to the original business plans. For each change the original action is listed alongside the new text and, crucially, an account of why the changes had been made.

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | 1 Comment »

Preserving Britain’s influence will require more than a redeployment of its diplomats

, 13 May 2011

On Wednesday, the Foreign Secretary William Hague gave a statement to the House of Commons on the future of Britain’s diplomatic network.

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Last week’s mayoral elections and the future of urban governance

, 10 May 2011

Last week the nation emphatically rejected AV as a way to elect its MPs. On the same day voters in Middlesbrough, Mansfield, Bedford, Torbay and, for the first time, Leicester used a form of AV (the supplementary vote) to elect five executive mayors.

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Leicester: The real constitutional revolution of 2011?

, 4 May 2011

Without much national fanfare, Leicester will tomorrow become the largest city in England outside London to elect a mayor to run its affairs. In doing so, it could pave the way for Birmingham and other major cities outside the capital to follow suit in short order.

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Posted in New models of governance and public services | 1 Comment »