Preparing for outsourcing failures

, 19 April 2016

Three different outsourcing failures have hit the headlines recently. Seventeen Edinburgh schools were closed down after it emerged that private contractor Edinburgh Schools Partnership had botched their construction. It has also emerged that the Government has paid out millions in compensation to learndirect. Learndirect was frontrunner to win a new Driver and Vehicle Standards...

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In contempt? Witnesses before select committees

, 18 April 2016

Select committees rely heavily on the questions MPs ask of witnesses during oral evidence sessions. Departmental committees have a power to call witnesses (to ‘send for persons, papers and records’) which is delegated to them from the House of Commons. This means that they can compel witnesses within the UK (other than the Crown...

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Energy inefficiency

, 14 April 2016

Promoting energy efficiency has proved hard for governments. Everyone agrees it is a good thing – both for energy bills and to reduce CO2 emissions. But relatively few people care enough to fork out the cash upfront to take the measures needed. On paper the Green Deal is a rational policymaker’s dream: assess what...

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Impermanent markers? Permanent secretary objectives, 2015–16

, 14 April 2016

We were critical of permanent secretary objectives when they were first published in 2012–13, and then again in 2013–14. There were too many objectives and not enough measures. They were published too late into the year they applied to. There was too much inconsistency for them to be useful in performance management. And there...

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Getting legislatures to engage in the evidence behind policy

, 8 April 2016

Anyone who has been watching BBC2’s riveting Inside Obama’s White House will have noted the US Administration’s increasing despair at navigating an increasingly polarised and hostile Congress. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Congress just passed the Murray-Ryan Bill, co-sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat, and Representative Paul Ryan...

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Police and crime commissioner elections 2016

, 8 April 2016

The introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in England and Wales following the 2011 Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act has not been a roaring success. Elections on a cold November day in 2012 when no other elections were happening saw only 15% of voters casting their ballots, suggesting that the Government’s plans...

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