Archive for August, 2011

Financing efficiency

Adrian Brown posted an excellent and thought-provoking piece earlier this week on government’s inability to price, distribute and understand risk in its efforts to improve public services. In it, he cited this week’s SMF paper on risks to the viability of the Work Programme, and the Treasury Committee’s recent report on the poor value...

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Posted in Guest posts, New models of governance and public services | Comments Off

Sticky red tape?

, 24 August 2011

The Red Tape Challenge is in full swing. The Government is asking the public to come up with ideas for repeal or reform in areas as varied as Sunday Trading, consumer products, health and safety, road safety and equalities legislation. The website starts off with a defence of the importance of good regulation and...

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Posted in Better policy making | 5 Comments »

Risky business

, 22 August 2011

Today, the Social Market Foundation (SMF) published a damning report on the government’s flagship Work Programme. Last week, the Treasury Select Committee was similarly scathing about the use of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts to pay for public infrastructure. The connection between the two is government’s apparent inability to successfully measure, price and share...

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

A more agile democracy

, 21 August 2011

This latest form of democratic engagement was enabled by the Government’s new e-petitions website which went live 2 weeks ago. This democratic innovation allows any member of the public to create a new petition or support an existing petition for debate in the House of Commons. The site has enabled the public to call...

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Posted in A more effective Whitehall | 6 Comments »

Who leads what?

, 21 August 2011

This is not so much whether the riots and their aftermath have been the biggest test the Prime Minister has faced since coming to office, which seems to be the view of most commentators, but rather what kind of leadership is required to deal with such events. This has achieved greater prominence following the...

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I didn’t predict a riot

, 10 August 2011

The riots that began in London, and have now spread to other cities, represent the first big domestic crisis that this Government has faced. When they get a chance, senior politicians will want to sit back and reflect on how their reactions held up. In previous work on the lessons from past crises, we...

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

Bonfire or damp squib: the real story behind civil service headcount

, 6 August 2011

“At least 4,500 civil servants have been taken on since the election in May last year by Government departments and quangos – three times the number that have been handed compulsory redundancy notices” reports the Daily Mail. The source? Figures released by eight Whitehall Departments to a series of parliamentary questions on recruitment and...

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Loyalty?

, 4 August 2011

The personal is the political, or so the feminists of the 1970s were wont to say. Sarah Helm’s play Loyalty reverses the maxim: as the Iraq war invades her home and her relationship, the political becomes very personal. ‘Stop the Wore’ The action centres on Laura – a barely-veiled version of Helm herself –...

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More mayors for a Greater Manchester?

, 3 August 2011

Grand ambitions This week saw their first success as they handed in a petition, signed by 10,500 Salford residents and triggered a referendum on the mayoral model. Stephen Morris, the campaign organiser, believes they are also on the brink of collecting the requisite number of signatures in Brentford, Essex. Salford, a city in Greater...

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The Dhoni example

, 1 August 2011

India had taken a day’s battering in the field. They had already lost their strike bowler with a pulled hamstring.  Their status as the No.1 test nation is hanging in the balance (amazingly England could overtake them). So as Ian Bell “stupidly” (his words, not mine) decided to rush off for tea on 137...

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Posted in Better policy making | 4 Comments »