Guest blog: Civil service reform – my view

, 21 January 2014

I have the highest regard for the Civil Service, but that does not mean there is no room for improvement – this is one reform that I think would help to modernise it. I had a good experience of working with civil servants at Defra even if I had a difficult time dealing with...

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A civil service inquiry could do some good – if it addresses long-term reform

, 20 January 2014

The main focus at present is on a Parliamentary Commission akin to the Banking Commission of both Houses which reported last year. That has been proposed by the Public Administration Committee, endorsed by the Commons Liaison Committee of chairs of select committees, and has now been backed by the majority of speakers in a...

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The limits of compensation: opposition to fracking

, 14 January 2014

It was also announced that the industry will further consult on how it plans to reward local communities. Last year, it was suggested that local communities would receive £100,000 when a test well is explored plus 1 per cent of revenues if shale gas is discovered. Options on how to use these funds are...

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Permanent secretaries need permission to plan for the future

, 7 January 2014

Except, that is, for George Osborne, who this week promised that 2014 will be a ‘year of hard truths’. Pointing to his ongoing efforts to close the structural budget deficit, the Chancellor has said that a further £25bn of cuts will be needed after the next election in 2015. Anyone who has looked at...

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MINDSPACE grows up – behavioural economics in government

, 6 January 2014

The report was originally commissioned by the last Labour government which hasn’t stopped a few members of the current opposition expressing degrees of scepticism about the way in which this government has enthusiastically taken up its techniques. The soon to be spun-out Behavioural Insights Team, established by David Cameron under MINDSPACE author, and former...

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What’s not working; how to make government evaluation better value for money

, 20 December 2013

We have been waiting a long time for the NAO to produce its verdict on evaluation in government, but it is welcome nonetheless. What’s wrong At a time when budgets are under sustained pressure, it seems bizarre that government has adopted such an ad hoc approach to knowing whether its policies are working or...

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