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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.

With the erosion of public trust in traditional sources of information we pride ourselves on producing robust, insightful and independent reports. We engage with and communicate our thinking and research with opinion-formers and decision-makers from across the political spectrum. We purposefully seek to engage with people who have different views to those expressed in our reports during the research process to ensure that we break the echo-chamber in which many think tanks can find themselves in.

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23rd May 2016

Local commissioning, local solutions: devolving offender management

Over the last 15 years, there has been significant change to the way in which offender management services – i.e. prison and probation – are organised and managed. This has included the introduction of competition, first through private sector run prisons and then more recently through the outsourcing of the bulk of probation services through the Transforming Rehabilitation programme. Successive governments have also sought to create a more integrated offender management system, primarily by bringing prisons and probation closer together through the creation of a single agency – the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) – to manage both.

14th April 2016

The future of public services: digital policing

Reform’s report, The future of public services: digital policing, highlights the important role technology can play in helping the police forces of England and Wales address tomorrow’s challenges. This paper is the second in a series, conducted in partnership with Accenture, looking at the transformative role technology will play in the future delivery of public services.

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.