Margaret Thatcher – an effective Prime Minister

, 9 April 2013

She was obviously an extraordinary political leader, with a unique, uncompromising style. She did not shrink from confrontation and openly scorned consensus. She was a conviction politician, who sharply divided people. While, in retrospect, you can point to tides of opinion – against the trade unions and the post-war state – which ran in...

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Can Big Society Capital succeed?

, 4 April 2013

While the term ‘Big Society’ has faded from political debate, its well-heeled namesake, Big Society Capital, lives on as the last scion of the brand. As a result, there is a great deal riding on its success. It was hoped that Big Society Capital could serve as a catalyst for the nascent social investment...

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Public inquiries – be careful what you wish for

, 3 April 2013

Be careful what you wish for was central theme of a fascinating seminar about public inquiries held at the Institute for Government just before Easter—which featured Lord Butler, who chaired the privy counsellor inquiry into intelligence about weapons of mass destruction ahead of the Iraq war; Lord Bichard, who ran the inquiry into child...

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Moneyball regulation

, 2 April 2013

For those unfamiliar with the book or film, Moneyball author Michael Lewis celebrates the success of a baseball manager, Billy Beane, who works with a statistics-obsessed colleague to transform the fortunes of his team, pushing them from second-tier to the top of the league. Beane’s secret was to discard the dogmas and intuitions of...

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Guest blog: Accountability under the spotlight

, 27 March 2013

One permanent secretary said “appearing before the PAC doesn’t change the price of fish”. Officials at HMRC and the Care Quality Commission may take a different view but it remains a fair question. Would defining better the respective roles of ministers and civil servants transform things? Will the latest civil service reforms make all...

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Are public inquiries worth the time, money and resources?

, 25 March 2013

Leveson’s recommendation for a “genuinely independent and effective system of self-regulation” by the press has become the subject of 2 am deal stitched up by party leaders followed by a self-congratulatory vote in favour in the Commons. Francis consists of the shock and awe of a near 2,000 page report with almost 2,000 pages...

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