Stepping outside the day job – the start of something different

, 14 May 2013

So why am I doing this? A life-long civil servant, I have had many roles in the Department for Work and Pensions – from frontline operations to policy delivery and strategy development. I have seen excellent service delivery – and bad! I have seen policy developed with great thought and insight and I have...

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Probation reform: doing it all?

, 9 May 2013

Chris Grayling is in parliament today explaining his complex set of probation reforms to MPs. Never one to shirk a challenge, Grayling plans to: Outsource the bulk of probation services, predominantly to private sector organisations Extend services to those who have served prison sentences of under 12 months, who previously were not monitored post-release...

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News management

, 8 May 2013

The UK has no equivalent of the US’s state of the union speech – when the President holds the Houses of Congress in awe with a tour of the world interwoven with some folksy stories and gets a standing ovation. Instead we have the odd ritual of the Queen announcing a series of legislative...

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Beyond the spreadsheets and on to the streets: what policy makers can learn from the front line

, 7 May 2013

While efforts to improve use of data and evidence in policy making are all to the good, stories and experience must also be part of the policy making toolkit. Our partnership with the Big Lottery Fund is helping policy makers connect with the real world. Going out, observing, listening, talking to the people that...

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Politics of prosperity

, 3 May 2013

Earlier this week, the politicians on the Public Accounts Committee joined the long list of people concerned about the UK’s infrastructure deficit. Their report portrayed the Treasury’s Infrastructure Plan as “a list of projects, not a real plan with a strategic vision and clear priorities”. It urged government to “ensure that the legislative and...

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To bee or not to bee: giving science advice in government is not for the fainthearted

, 30 April 2013

With a month of taking office, the new Government Chief Science Adviser, Sir Mark Walport, has become a pantomime villain to at least one environmental commentator, branded as an industry stooge for an article he wrote in the Financial Times in advance of the European debate. Indeed the article went further – to claim...

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