Relationship advice – plan for decentralisation now

, 13 February 2014

The Institute for Government heard many such stories during our connecting policy with practice programme. To the frustration of frontline professionals and policy makers alike, public services are rarely configured to deal with such complex problems. We identified the importance of longer term services that help the ‘whole person’ and genuinely understand and involve...

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Power to the people – why giving away political power isn’t as easy as you might think

, 11 February 2014

Miliband, like Cameron, Brown, Blair, and Major, sees the state as excessively centralised and insufficiently responsive to service users and communities. There are nuances of emphasis – Miliband is at pains to point out that he does not want to see “the individual acting simply as a consumer” – but similarities outweigh differences. The...

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Burying the bodies – questions linger about the Public Bodies Reform Programme

, 7 February 2014

The National Audit Office today reported that public bodies reduced their administrative spending by £723 million in 2012-13, compared to 2010-11. 283 public bodies have been removed, either by merging them with other bodies or outright abolition. This represents 92% of the expected total reduction. So far, so good. The Cabinet Office are pleased...

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Ofsted row obscures important facts about public appointments

, 3 February 2014

• The vast majority – around nine in ten – of persons appointed to public bodies declare no party links. • The latest figures from the Commissioner for Public Appointments shows that 3.3 per cent of appointees in 2012-13 declared a Conservative affiliation, compared to 3 per cent for Labour (with the balance favouring...

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Clarity of accountability – are permanent secretary objectives helping?

, 27 January 2014

Permanent secretaries’ objectives notionally form the basis for their performance management. They are used by the Cabinet Secretary or the Head of the Civil Service – the permanent secretaries are managed between them – as the basis for permanent secretaries’ annual appraisal discussions and pay awards. At that classic ‘hope you miss this’ time,...

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Guest blog: Commissioning 2.0

, 24 January 2014

Commissioning is at a crossroads. Hit by a succession of outsourcing scandals, the use of big contracts and growth in new payment mechanisms have come under increased scrutiny from politicians and the media, as well as watchdogs such as the National Audit Office. This landscape is not only increasingly complex – in terms of...

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