Long live the pen! A look behind today’s National Archives release

, 1 August 2013

The highlights in the newspapers bring to life the inner workings of government from 30 years ago. The content is fascinating. We discover details about nuclear release procedures in light of the increased presence of US nuclear weapons on UK soil, and the degree to which, to her fury, Mrs Thatcher was kept out...

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Faux Amis? Will the Friends and Family Test improve hospital care?

, 31 July 2013

Over the last three months the Government has collected a whopping 405,000 responses to a single question: “How likely are you to recommend our ward/A&E department to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?” Responses are collected on a six-point scale from ‘extremely likely’ to ‘extremely unlikely’. This question is currently...

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The decline in public trust in government

, 26 July 2013

For example the recent one year on report on the civil service reform plan proposes to: give ministers the power to extend their ministerial office by making personal appointments of additional special advisers and other external appointees having already increased ministerial involvement in the permanent secretary appointment,  move to a fixed tenure appointment for...

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Lifting the veil

, 22 July 2013

The pilot edition of the Civil Service Quarterly appeared last week on gov.uk. It is a compilation of blogs on issues covering range of government activity – from disaster management, to the new policy tests in the Department for Education, an interview by former FT editor and CBI head Sir Richard Lambert with Treasury...

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We need to talk about markets

, 19 July 2013

Last week, it was revealed that two private security firms – G4S and Serco – have potentially overcharged taxpayers by up to £50 million on electronic monitoring contracts. In some cases, bills may have been charged for the tagging of offenders who had died, were in prison, had left the country – or for...

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Commission impossible? Government should slow the creation of public service markets to avoid costly mistakes

, 18 July 2013

The report shows weaknesses in government’s ability to design and manage effective markets in public service provision, following examinations of the Work Programme, social care for older people, probation commissioning and the emerging ‘quasi market’ in secondary education. We argue that there needs to be genuine competition for public service markets to work. Users...

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