Press coverage

Find coverage in the press of Reform's latest work below. 

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The Guardian Public Leaders' Network, 9 February 2017

Eleonora Harwich wrote an article in The Guardian Public Leaders Network following the publication of Reform's report, Work in progress. Towards a leaner, smarter public-sector workforce. Governments around the world have recognised the potential of AI, Japan and Singapore being particular examples. The UK is well-placed to harness AI through its universities and private sector, but the government’s AI strategy is less clear.

"The UK is well placed to make the most of this ever evolving technology – but success requires a comprehensive strategy and an open conversation with the public."  

Read the full article here.

Reform Annual conference: media coverage

In February 2017, Reform held its Annual Conference where the Rt Hon Ben Gummer MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, delivered the keynote speech. During the event, he launched the Government Transformation Strategy.  Media coverage from the event is here.

Computer Weekly "Announcing the strategy at a conference organised by the Reform think tank, Gummer said 2016’s Brexit vote showed “the interface between government and the people has become increasingly fraught”." Read the full article here.

Digital by default news "Delivering the keynote speech at the Reform think tank’s annual conference in central London, Ben Gummer MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, outlined the government’s commitment to build on the Digital by Default services developed under the previous digital transformation strategy." Read the full article here.

TES, 7 February 2017

Emilie Sundorph, Researcher at Reform, wrote an article for TES following the launch of Work in progress. Towards a smarter, learner public-sector workforce. Education reform is at the heart of the prime minister’s social mobility agenda. Great teaching will play a crucial role in this, helping students overcome their challenges. However, before graduate programmes like Teach First are expanded, it is vital to identify which components of Teach First offer best value for money, as well as other, more affordable, ways of training teachers. The UK should also be careful of creating narrow, graduate-only paths to employment. Apprenticeships may offer an important alternative route into teaching.

"Given the complexity of the challenges that most schools face – a battle to both overcome the attainment gap and to recruit the teachers that will help them do so, all within restrained budgets – they should thoughtfully embrace the opportunities that apprentices will bring with them."  

Read the full article here.

Policing Insight, 7 February 2017

Alexander Hitchcock, Senior Researcher, and Emilie Sundorph, Researcher, at Reform co-authored an article for Policing Insight following the launch of Work in progress. Towards a leaner, smarter workforce. The frontline of policing is changing. In 2016 there were 5.2 million examples of fraud and computer misuse and almost as many as the 6.2 million traditional crimes. There is potential for technology to help frontline staff, such as facial recognition and building on predictive policing programmes. It is crucial therefore to get the right people into policing. Diversity will be an important element of this, and apprenticeships is an opportunity to widen the intake.

"A new mentality of openness, innovation and diversity should embody the future of policing. If this is achieved it will be positive and disruptive"  

Read the full article here.

Reform report coverage: 'Work in progress'

Reform launched a report on Work in progress. Towards a leaner, smarter public-sector workforce on how the public-sector workforce can be brought up-to-date and modern. A variety of media outlets covered the report, highlighting how technology and automation can streamline the public service, both at Whitehall but also on the frontline of public services. The impact of the gig economy is also explored. Coverage can be found in the following outlets: The Guardian The Times The Sun The Telegraph Civil Service World City AM  The Independent Sky News Mail Online ITV News The Express The Mirror Public Finance International Business Times ITProPortal Computer Business Review Business Insider UK The Yorkshire Post Schools Week The Stack London Loves Business Tech City News Digital By Default News Tech Radar Gizmodo Local Gov People Management Politics Home Government Computing Wired

Civil Service World, 6 February 2017

Alexander Hitchcock, Senior Researcher at Reform, wrote an article in Civil Service World following the publication of Reform's report, Work in progress. Towards a leaner, smarter public-sector workforce. Government needs to deliver new ways of working for public servants, embracing technology to deliver tailored, personalised, accessible services to citizens. Any upgrade in services must start with the workforce – which accounts for 50% of day-to-day spend in the public sector. However, the aim should be to build a workforce around people's needs, not a "salami-slicing activity", which we have seen previously, where Ministers have often taken tactical decisions. This new approach should also be underpinned by a new mentality: a culture of innovation.

"This builds on a new mentality signalled by Ben Gummer – one that moves from a focus on cost-cutting measures to designing sustainable services that work for citizens. A new culture is also a better offer for public servants, who are there to serve the public."  

Read the full article here.

Conservative Home, 6 February 2017

Alexander Hitchcock, Senior Researcher at Reform, wrote an article in Conservative Home following the launch of Reform's report, Work in progress. Towards a leaner, smarter public-sector workforce. A more agile country is needed to meet the demands and challenges of citizens whose expectations are higher than ever. To do this, a leaner, smarter state is also required. Current technology could replace 250,000 administrator roles in the public sector, saving over £4 billion from the annual wage bill. Technology could also transform the lives of frontline staff as well. For example, the Royal College of Nursing argues that up to 20 per cent of nursing time is spent on "non-essential" paper work. Finally, removing excessive management roles in the civil service and beyond will ensure responsibility for work is clear – and will empower employees to take ownership of their work.  

Read the full article here.

Prospect, 6 February 2017

Emilie Sundorph wrote an article in Prospect following the publication of Reform's report, Work in progress. Towards a leaner, smarter public-sector workforce. She argued that agility "must become the standard for the public-sector workforce". The most radical way to do this would be through the gig economy. It enables employers to spend resources on outcomes and services they need in a more targeted and flexible way, and has benefits for employees as well, including autonomy and flexibility.

"By using the gig economy, workers will actively select the tasks they want to contribute to, and depend on their performance in each one to increase their chances of being awarded the next one. This will encourage strong engagement and a pursuit of a diversity of skills for each individual, to the benefit of workers, users and employers. All in all, that’s a pretty good gig."  

Read the full article here.

The Telegraph, 6 February 2017

Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform, wrote an article in The Telegraph following the publication of Work in progress. Towards a leaner, smarter public-sector workforce. Technology has huge implications for the public sector, including its workforce. Already, it has been making waves in transport, health and HMRC but it also has wider implications for the public-sector workforce. Automation can save money and increase efficiencies, a much-needed goal in light of the current fiscal environment. Brexit showed the public's frustration with a style of government it felt never listened or delivered for them. Technology could help lead to 'government at your service' as Rt Hon Ben Gummer MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, put it. It can also slim down management structures in the public sector, which look very dated.

"Automation will replace up to nine in 10 of the Whitehall’s 140,000 administrative roles in the next decade, saving £2.7 billion a year. Similar changes in the NHS could save a further £1.7 billion. When the national debt remains twice as high as its level before the financial crisis – and still rising – these efficiencies are essential. Yet the real benefit will come from a shift in the culture of the public sector away from the bureaucracy that citizens find so frustrating."  

Read the full article here.