One of the constitutional innovations under Prime Minister Brown was a new sort of Cabinet Committee – the National Economic Council. In an article for Political Quarterly (PDF, 76kb) former Brown adviser Dan Corry argues that this was effective in getting Whitehall into action on the recession.
The Institute's latest report, The Challenge of Being a Minister, has produced a number of sensible and straightforward insights and ideas for addressing issues relevant to ministerial effectiveness. But weaved amongst them were two arguments that inevitably invite contention: the rise of career politicians and the impact of special advisers (SpAds).
The Prime Minister has today laid out what the Government will do to support the Big Society. But just as the Government is showing us more about the Big Society, the Big Society can also show us about the workings of government.
For those of us who live in London, it is hard to imagine that Melbourne's versions of 'Boris bikes' or Oyster cards could be a failure. But, despite a pilot involving students in Melbourne, and looking and feeling like other successful bike share schemes, the Melbourne scheme was a palpable flop - and its version of our Oyster card is so unpopular it became an election issue.
By laying out the changes to departmental business plans, the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to transparency. Whilst it is rightly lifting the lid on Whitehall, this means the Government is likely to be picked up on explanations that are less than convincing.
The Foreign Secretary has announced Britain will create new embassies and redeploy diplomats. Whilst this recalibration of Britain’s diplomatic assets reflects the shifting balance of power in international politics, it is only a partial solution.
The biggest English cities outside London will soon choose whether or not to adopt powerful elected mayors. A look back at previous mayoral elections suggests we can expect to see a boost in the status of local politics, city leaders with a national profile and more independent candidates getting elected.