Mr Gove’s next schools test

, 4 March 2014

When it emerged in the early 2000s, the idea behind academy schools was straightforward. Schools that were failing, particularly in deprived communities, were to be rebranded. Extra money, reinvigorated leadership with freedom to manage, and more specialised curricula were all intended to improve performance and signal that educational failure was no longer being tolerated....

Permalink | No Comments »

Emergent Ministerial Offices

, 3 March 2014

A new role at the Department of Work and Pensions is currently being advertised on the Civil Service recruitment website – for a deputy director in the “Ministerial Policy and Delivery Unit”. The specification reads: “This new role is going to be at the heart of agenda. The successful candidate will support the...

Permalink | No Comments »

Putting the child poverty target into law needed more thought

, 27 February 2014

There appears to be a lot to be said in principle for the child poverty target. When it was passed into law it was the product of cross-party agreement. Many policies chop and change – and this sort of rare consensus could mean a more consistent approach. It was long-term – it intended to...

Permalink | Comments (1) »

Civil service reform v4.0: A word from the wise?

, 24 February 2014

Recently, the Institute for Government and PWC brought together an eclectic mix of current and past officials, ministers and non-executive directors to discuss how best to lead transformation from the centre of government. The participants provided four pieces of advice for Oliver Robbins to ponder in his new job. 1. Create a more compelling...

Permalink | No Comments »

Implementing the London Challenge: beyond top-down and bottom-up

, 18 February 2014

Managing this creative tension has emerged as a central theme in our research for our project on policy implementation. In this blog we offer some early thoughts about the lessons for policy implementation that can be found in the case of London Challenge. When it was first mooted in 2002, the London Challenge was...

Permalink | Comments (2) »


, 17 February 2014

The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible to the Secretary of State for the Environment. According to its website, the Board  (appointed by Ministers) “is directly responsible to Government Ministers for all aspects of our organisation and performance. We are accountable to Parliament through Ministers.” It continues: “Ministers expect the Board to ensure that we...

Permalink | Comments (2) »