“This is the new era of open government”. These words were not spoken yesterday by David Cameron at the launch of the Open Public Services White Paper, but by Jim Hacker MP, the fictional Minister of Administrative Affairs, in the first episode of Yes Prime Minister in 1980.
There has been much speculation about the forthcoming Open Public Services White Paper. Will it ever be published? How radical and useful will it be? Will it be a post-event rationalisation of existing reforms or a will it set the direction for future public service reforms?
The publication yesterday of Ipsos Mori’s Veracity Index again shows the low regard in which the public hold ministers and politicians. But it begs the question of why they pay so much attention to the press.
When Tim Harford came to speak at the Institute last week he emphasised the need for more experimentation in policy making. But the most interesting chapter in his 'Adapt' book is about the lessons we should learn from the US experience in Iraq. They suggest we should value dissent and challenge more.
The elected mayors debate is heating up. The feedback from 11 cities planning referendums on elected mayors suggests that greater clarity on the scope and powers of future mayors is essential to derive a definitive consensus of the mayoral proposition from local authorities.
The Institute has argued for opening up the policy process where possible - to benefit from the "wisdom" of others. Last week we had a chance to see what happened when Decentralisation and Planning Minister Greg Clark asked a planner, a housebuilder, a council leader and an environmentalist to have a go at drafting the new National Planning Policy Framework.
As the Government’s listening exercise on NHS modernisation ended this Tuesday, a central question has been how to reconcile accountability to Parliament with decentralising the allocation of spending and resources.