What Danny Alexander should have said at the “What Works” launch

, 5 March 2013

This is what the chief secretary to the Treasury should have said in his opening remarks: “We face a prolonged period of fiscal austerity. The Treasury will no longer be prepared to finance policies which are not demonstrably working – nor can we underwrite speculative policies which are not supported by a reasonable evidence...

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Why has trust in civil servants gone up?

, 4 March 2013

And this interest is despite the rank order generally not changing much. We can guarantee that doctors will be at the top: we have measured trust in doctors in the middle of any number of high profile medical scandals, and there is no impact. We can also guarantee that journalists and politicians will be...

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Clarity about the Civil Service: learning from New Zealand

, 1 March 2013

The New Zealand minister for the Civil Service, Dr Jonathan Coleman, was in the UK this week and spoke at New Zealand House about their government reform programme. This focuses on ten measurable results which address complex issues cutting across department boundaries, such as reducing the rate of assaults on children and cutting long-term...

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Delivering open data

, 28 February 2013

The privatisation of the Royal Mail is progressing steadily. In 2011, the Postal Services Act paved the way for the spin-out. In spring 2012, government took on the Royal Mail’s pension assets and liabilities – previously seen as an obstacle to a commercial sale. And in December, it was suggested that employees might own...

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The weakest link – what the horse meat scandal tells us about better regulation

, 27 February 2013

When the foot and mouth scandal broke, a friend of mine in government said that the basic problem was that cattle travelled all over the country before they were slaughtered. We are now discovering that “meat” has a eurorail pass before it gets to the shops or into the school dinner. That means that...

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Making tax policy

, 20 February 2013

“Taxes, like death, are unavoidable. But we can design our taxes. We are not bound to have a tax system as inefficient, complex, and unfair as our current one. To improve things, we need to see the system as a whole. We need to design the system with a clear understanding of the population...

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