Does the new government communications plan cross the line?

, 16 May 2014

A government communicator’s job is to promote the government’s messages, but are they crossing into political campaigning with the new communications plan 2014-15? Some think so – but why?

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101 uses for a zombie Parliament

, 14 May 2014

There are complaints that we face a “thin” Queen’s speech and that the next Parliament will not have much legislating to do. Good. As the Good Law project has shown we have far too much bad legislation – and year five of the last government saw some really bad political gesture legislation.

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Public bodies looking to the future

, 9 May 2014

First, a warning from Sir Bob Kerslake – keep focused on delivering for the current government rather than simply prepare for the next. In 2009 many quangos did themselves no favours by too obviously courting potential new ministers. Our new report on pre-election contacts recommends that permanent secretaries work out how to include their...

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One Service, Two Guv’nors: How Whitehall serves the Coalition in the final year

, 6 May 2014

Today the UK’s first postwar coalition government enters its fifth year in office with every expectation of reaching the end of the fixed parliamentary term. This is an achievement in itself – there were many who doubted the Coalition’s viability and longevity at its inception. But how will the Coalition work in its final...

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First contact: lessons from history on pre-election meetings between the Opposition and Civil Service

, 6 May 2014

These pre-election contacts have existed for 50 years. The UK system of elections sees an immediate handover of power if a change of government occurs and then a rush to get the government going. Different mechanisms have evolved to mitigate this hasty handover. But not enough thought has gone into how those mechanisms might...

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New markets, old problems: increasing diversity and quality of supply in public services

, 29 April 2014

Last week, the Public Accounts Committee criticised the Government for ‘poor planning and bad management’ following changes to asylum seeker accommodation contracts in March 2012. Three providers – G4S, Serco and Clearel – took over the contracts from social landlords, including councils. The intention was to increase competition between them and make savings of...

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