Archive for November, 2011

Opposing forces

, 29 November 2011

The US transition is a very different process, involving a massive scale of personnel change since political appointees occupy many of the posts held in the UK by the permanent Civil Service. But the relative small scale and sometimes ad hoc nature of UK opposition preparations would surprise many on the other side of...

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Mayor or Nightmayor?

, 25 November 2011

In May next year around five million people, across eleven cities, will get the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want a mayor to run their city. Up until now the only people involved in the debate have been government employees and enthusiasts. Big debates within seven days in Liverpool, Birmingham and...

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Why a year’s a long time in social investment

, 25 November 2011

The annual Good Deals conference brought together social entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers to exchange ideas and negotiate deals. You would expect the social investment industry to be riding high as the year draws to a close given that the last 12 months has included the formation of Big Society Capital as well as the...

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The dull bits of avoiding plane and political crashes

, 18 November 2011

I hate flying. And being maybe a little overly analytic, I find knowing as much as possible about how and why planes crash helps me relax. So I’m an avid fan to the ‘plane crash emergency’ shows on TV. They’ve all got a fixed structure. First the very real disaster of the crash itself,...

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A new role at the Institute

, 18 November 2011

Now is the time to look ahead—to look at the challenges facing government over the next five years and to see where the Institute can make a contribution to improving the effectiveness and performance of government. The Institute exists not just to conduct high quality research and to provide a simulating environment for discussion...

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PAC introduces the "Hodge doctrine?"

, 16 November 2011

While attention has been focussed on the UK Border Agency hearings at the Home Affairs Select Committee, a lower profile hearing on Monday broke some new ground on civil service accountability. At issue was whether Home Office Permanent Secretary Dame Helen Ghosh would appear before the PAC to answer questions about the decisions she...

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Posted in Parliament and the political process | 2 Comments »

How 2015 will be very different from 2010

, 10 November 2011

The 2015 general election is going to be very different from 2010. The unexpected events of the ‘five days in May’ leading to the formation of the first Coalition government for 65 years have provided many lessons – and pointers to problems which can be avoided next time. The existence of the coalition –...

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Feed-in frenzy

, 4 November 2011

In 2009 the last government introduced “feed-in tariffs” – based on a German model – to boost domestic uptake of solar PV. They were quite controversial from the start – with passionate support from the green lobby but some dissenters – even Guardian columnist George Monbiot who pointed out last year that the very...

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Kicking the habit

, 3 November 2011

The Department for Education announced earlier this week that it will ‘name and shame’ poorly performing adoption services by ranking local authorities on the basis of 15 performance indicators. The Children in Care and Adoption league tables combine process indicators – such as the speed in which adoptions take place – with outcome indicators...

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Time to reinvent the role of ministers

, 1 November 2011

Transformation, the post-bureaucratic state, the Big Society – whichever title you use, a big rethink is now under way about how central Government operates. However, the soul-searching that is now engulfing the Civil Service has yet to affect ministers. Back in March, the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) produced a report Smaller Government: What...

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