Getting government to show its workings

, 20 October 2015

The last Parliament saw the creation of the Office for Budget Responsibility, the Independent Commission on Aid Impact, the Regulatory Policy Committee and the What Works centres – all designed to ensure that policy was based on robust evidence and assumptions. But this progress in specific areas was not translated into a transparent approach...

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Independently-minded? Catalonia’s nationalists lack the constitutional authority to move towards independence

, 19 October 2015

Late on ‘El 27-S’, a reference to the date of the vote (27 September), Artur Más addressed supporters of the Junts pel Sí (“Together for Yes”) electoral alliance and claimed “a clear plebiscite… Today was a double victory – the ‘yes’ side won, as did democracy.” However, the result is more ambiguous than Más...

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Diamond departments? The grade structure of the Civil Service in 2015

, 19 October 2015

Since 2010, the number of civil servants at the lowest-ranking level has decreased by almost a third… Continuing our in-depth discussion of the annual Civil Service employment statistics, today we look specifically at the grades at which civil servants are employed. Since 2010, the number of staff at Administrative Officer/Administrative Assistant (AO/AA) level has...

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Handle with care: the 2015 Parliament

, 15 October 2015

With a working majority of 16 in the Commons and no majority in the Lords, the Government is coming to terms with how to deal with Parliament. This is even evident in the language used to describe the approach to parliamentary business, with Prime Minister David Cameron recently saying that “what matters is building...

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UK productivity: from puzzle to plan

, 15 October 2015

UK labour productivity (i.e. GDP divided by total hours worked) is an important measure of living standards, which has captured the attention of governments for many years. Evidence suggesting that German, French and U.S. productivity is significantly above the UK has been the usual focus. However, the extent to which this is truly reflective...

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Fiscal rules and knock-about politics don’t mix

, 14 October 2015

Which way will they vote? Will that change again? And would it matter at all whatever they did? Exciting questions no doubt, in relation to the Labour Party and the Chancellor’s new Charter for Fiscal Responsibility. But what is actually happening today has been rather lost in the coverage. The BBC website yesterday was...

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