Putting airports policy into commission

, 4 September 2012

The track record is not promising. Previous attempts to use outsiders to solve planning dilemmas have not worked that well – Kate Barker’s review of the planning system failed to change much – and the government spent eight months wrangling over the new National Planning Policy Framework despite asking outsiders to produce the first...

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Guest blog: civil service reform – a step backwards for women?

, 3 September 2012

Good organisations adapt to the changing circumstances they operate in. That’s true of the UK Civil Service where I worked between 1996 and 2011. During my time in government, I can’t remember a single year where I wasn’t affected by one change programme or another. So, when Francis Maude published the Civil Service Reform...

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Jumping on the Olympic bandwagon

, 23 August 2012

1. Mayors make a difference Institute for Government has argued that big cities need mayors – but their value is intangible. They can make complex relationships work. They can get governments to move in support. They can act as figureheads for their city in a way an indirect council leader cannot. Boris was a...

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Policy gold or wooden spoon? Is there a case for putting government targets into law?

, 16 August 2012

Labour had quite a penchant for legislated targets, introducing the target to eliminate fuel poverty by 2016; the target to ‘significantly reduce’ child poverty by 2020; and the Climate Change Act which targets an 80% emissions reduction by 2050. The current government has also committed to enshrining the 0.7% ODA target in law. But...

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Undoing GOD’s work? Will gains women made at the top of Whitehall prove short-lived? – update

, 14 August 2012

Gus’s favourite statistic never bore that much scrutiny – in  reality there were many more men with the rank of permanent secretary who did not ‘count’ – whether the proliferation of permanent secretaries at the centre or ambassadors with permanent secretary rank.  But at one point, some time in early 2011, it was possible...

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Where next for the coalition?

, 7 August 2012

Yesterday’s announcements by Nick Clegg that Lords reform plans were being dropped in the face of Conservative opposition, and that the Lib Dems would veto the Tories’ boundary changes in return, has triggered another bout of speculation about whether the coalition can survive till 2015, and what can be done to avoid collapse. One...

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