The secrets of NICE success

, 4 April 2016

To write in praise of a public body always carries a risk. That what you are doing is a curse. The Audit Commission’s independently written but self-commissioned history of its existence up to 2008 was followed in 2010 by the decision to abolish it. So it is to be hoped that a short history...

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Ministers reflect: on the media

, 1 April 2016

Some ministers relish interviews (Ken Clarke) and others fear them (too many to name), but they all understand the media is their best direct line to the breakfast tables – and mobile devices – of the nation. When responding to a crisis, the media is the first port of call. As Hugh Robertson explained:...

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How good are government departments at responding to MPs?

, 1 April 2016

An important part of any department’s work is responding to inquiries from politicians, journalists and the public. Whitehall Monitor works with data on three different types of these information requests, assessing how well departments do in responding to parliamentary questions, Freedom of Information requests and ministerial correspondence. Now, with data provided by the research...

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Politics and regulation: recipe for conflict or constructive partnership?

, 31 March 2016

The panellists – Sir Thomas Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, and former Rail Regulator and International Rail Regulator; Sir Edward Davey, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; and Ed Richards, Independent Chair of the Financial Services Trade Associations Review, and former Chief Executive of the Office of Communications (Ofcom)...

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Ministers reflect: on relationships with the centre of government

, 30 March 2016

Teething pains Ministers faced difficulty in the early days of David Cameron’s government. As we noted in Centre Forward, his commitment to reducing the size of the centre added to the difficulties of adjusting to government. Ministers struggled to engage with Number 10 as fewer special advisers were initially appointed and the Policy Unit...

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Distracted Ministers

, 28 March 2016

The Government has an ambitious agenda, aiming to deliver a budget surplus by 2019/20 while maintaining or even improving the standards of public services. It is doing this in a much more difficult situation than its original round of cuts in 2010. Many public services are now under serious pressure – for example, in...

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