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We believe that the quality and excellence of our research is core to our reputation. We are a charity who is dedicated to achieving better and smarter public services. Our mission is to set out ideas that will improve public services for all and deliver value for money.

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12th April 2016

Who cares? The future of general practice

The core delivery model for general practice has remained largely unchanged since the creation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. General practices are independent businesses, contracted by the state to provide defined health services to a registered list of patients. Practices are owned and run by one or more ‘partners’ – general practitioners (GPs) who hold contracts and share the profits their practice delivers. In theory, this incentivises the most effective care for all patients – from a young, healthy person requiring one-off treatment to an elderly patient with a variety of long-term conditions.

7th March 2016

Cloud 9: the future of public procurement

Each year, central government spends around £40 billion procuring goods and services. This expenditure is underpinned by a very clear rationale: purchasing from third parties delivers value for money. When the Coalition Government came to power, however, there were widespread concerns this principle was not being realised in practice. A number of initiatives to improve procurement were launched, but these have delivered mixed results.

18th February 2016

The future of public services: digital justice

Much has been made of the role technology can play in delivering more efficient, intelligent and citizen-centric public services. Digital services will be crucial to meeting the Prime Minister’s vision of a ‘smarter state’. To date, however, public services have barely scratched the surface of technology’s potential. This paper is the first in a series, kindly supported by Accenture, looking at the transformative role technology will play in the future delivery of public services.

4th February 2016

Working welfare: a radically new approach to sickness and disability benefits

The out-of-work benefits system for people with a health condition or disability is broken. In 2006 the then Labour Government saw the need for reform and announced its intention to tackle the “passive” system of Incapacity Benefit (IB) by introducing Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), believing that within a decade there could be a million fewer claimants. Instead, ESA replicated many of the problems of IB and has failed to achieve its objective of moving more disabled people into work. 

10th December 2015

Employment and Support Allowance: the case for change

Improving outcomes for disabled people is one of the UK’s key unmet policy challenges. Economic growth and the policy interventions of successive governments have been successful in reducing other benefit caseloads: the number of unemployment claims is well below the peaks of the 1980s and early 1990s, and lone-parent claims have halved since the mid-1990s. In contrast, the out-of-work incapacity-related benefit caseload peaked in the early 2000s and has remained essentially unchanged since. Some 2.4 million people are claiming: fully triple the number claiming at the end of the 1970s.

19th November 2015

Towards a more productive state

Reform’s report calls for the Government to take a fresh approach to public sector productivity. It outlines the limitations of measuring productivity across whole sectors, such as health and education, rather than comparing productivity across organisations, such as hospitals and schools. It argues for a more coherent approach to reform that considers outcomes, rather than outputs, as the main goal of public services.

10th November 2015

An NHS leadership team for the future

All healthcare systems recognise the importance of the clinical workforce in delivering high-quality care. An ageing population, a growing burden of chronic disease and rising costs hasten the need for reform. One year ago, the Five Year Forward View set out to address these demographic, financial and quality pressures. It proposed new, integrated models of care with a radical push on efficiency, a better relationship with patients and communities, and a greater emphasis on prevention and public health. Visionary leadership will be essential to realising its aims.

30th October 2015

Updating uprating: towards a fairer system

Each year, the Government increases – or ‘uprates’ – the value of social-security benefits. Fairness and sustainability have been at the forefront of policy in recent years, but the simplicity of these objectives obscures the trade-offs they entail. Welfare policy needs to protect the most vulnerable in society, while avoiding dependency. It must be fair to those in receipt of benefits, as well as those paying for them. Getting uprating policy right is an important part of satisfying the competing demands of a social-security system.