Forecasting Government spending: why pointless numbers lead to pointless arguments

, 14 January 2015

Arguments over fiscal policy are coming two-a-penny at the moment. Yesterday’s debate on the Charter for Budget Responsibility was the latest instalment. Behind all this debate lie the Autumn Statement numbers, when the Chancellor made much play of the forecast that the UK would have a budget surplus of £23bn by 2019-20. Suggestions that...

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Top marks for improvement: Civil servant engagement in DfE, 2009-2014

, 12 January 2015

Whitehall Monitor has previously analysed the fall in engagement among civil servants at the Department for Education. But the results for the department in the 2014 Civil Service People Survey are a considerable improvement. Gavin Freeguard and Petr Bouchal take a closer look.

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Going full Circle: Hinchingbooke collapse raises outsourcing questions

, 9 January 2015

This morning, it was announced that Circle is withdrawing from the contract under which it manages Hinchingbrooke, the UK’s first privately run NHS hospital. Announcing the withdrawal, which is permitted by the terms of its contract, Circle said: “There have been significant changes in the operational landscape for NHS hospitals since the contract was...

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Show me the money: Costing party policies in advance of the election

, 5 January 2015

This morning the Conservatives released figures calculated by the Treasury which suggest that Labour’s manifesto contains £21bn of unfunded policies. The months leading up to polling day are likely to be full of claim and counter-claim about the costs of policies. A more open and independent costing mechanism could deliver greater transparency and clarity...

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Looking ahead to the 2015 election

, 29 December 2014

No one is viewing next May’s general election with enthusiasm. The widespread expectation is of either an inconclusive result or a government without much authority.

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We need to talk about special advisers

, 19 December 2014

Yesterday saw the great pre-Christmas ‘data dump’ where a number of government departments published their final set of statistics and releases before the holidays. One of the items, a list of special advisers and how much they are paid, has received some media attention and in the process become something of a political football....

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