Archive for December, 2011

Breaking the granite ceiling

, 20 December 2011

Departing Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell likes to claim one of his big achievements was getting to a point where 50% of major government departments were headed by women. But in his previous job as Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, he was much less successful in getting women into the most senior ranks. Indeed...

Posted in A more effective Whitehall | 2 Comments »

The big show (still) in town

, 16 December 2011

The phrase may not have got a mention in July’s Open Public Services white paper but the public administration select committee (Pasc) today released its second report on the subject, suggesting that those in Parliament at least still take the idea seriously. To recap, there are three big ideas underpinning the concept, according to...

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Statistically significant?

, 15 December 2011

Sir Michael Scholar has made quite a reputation for himself as the guardian of the integrity of UK statistics. He has been prepared to take on successive governments on their use and abuse of statistics to make their case – whether jumping the gun or being highly selective in the use of data. As...

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Winter of discount tents

, 13 December 2011

The Occupy London Stock Exchange camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London looks set to remain in place through the winter. A lot of attention has been paid to the location of the protest, from the crisis in St Paul’s to the City of London Corporation’s changes of mind over legal...

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An elected mayor for Cuba, Bosnia, or Bristol?

, 9 December 2011

On Friday, 2 December 2011, Bristol’s Festival of Ideas organised a day-long event bringing together prominent Bristol academics, local councillors, MPs, business and community leaders, and former and current mayors from elsewhere in England to discuss the advantages and drawbacks of adopting the mayoral model in the city. Also taking part was Lord Adonis,...

Posted in Leadership for government | 1 Comment »

Bite-sized IT

, 9 December 2011

Leave aside the scale of the task – how sensible was it ever to aim for an all-encompassing system spanning the whole service? The aims may have been laudable, but experience suggests that a critical factor in successful delivery of IT systems is constant engagement with potential users, taking into account their views as...

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An offer they can’t refuse?

, 8 December 2011

The Cities Policy Unit’s new paper, Unlocking growth in cities, outlines plans to work with the eight core city-regions (as defined by the boundaries of the Local Enterprise Partnerships) to create ‘bespoke’ deals in which powers will be devolved in return for changes in the way cities are governed. Amongst the most significant powers...

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In it together or just for ourselves?

, 8 December 2011

This apparent hardening of attitudes is not unique to the UK, and appears to be part of a cross-national trend about how people think about poverty, fairness and who is best placed to do something about it. For example, across countries, people have become much more likely to agree that if someone works harder...

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Absent resignations

, 2 December 2011

To the strains of ‘fifty ways to leave your lover’, we highlighted the great political resigners – the Hezza flounce over Westland, the slow-motion destruction of Thatcher by Lawson-Howe over European monetary integration (not the poll tax); Robin Cook over Iraq and ending with our guest speaker, James Purnell, who gave a compelling account...

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