The Week, 8 February 2019

8 February 2019
By Andrew Haldenby
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Reformer of the Week

The Public Accounts Committee, which found that the UK Government tends to find short-term fixes to problems in public services which do not lead to long-term improvement.

Reactionary of the Week

The Treasury bears the brunt of the criticism of the PAC report.  Its public spending teams are described as inexperienced and subject to high staff turnover.

Quote of the week

“We found compelling evidence that departments are not incentivised to plan for the longer-term, and they are repeatedly over-optimistic when planning for what they can deliver, by when and for how much. Unless action is taken to correct these issues, the government’s long-standing problems of short-term thinking, sticking plaster funding and cost-shunting will persist, resulting in poorer quality, less sustainable and joined-up services.”

Public Accounts Committee, writing on Friday

Good week for

Realism on housing supply

The NAO showed today that long standing problems in the planning system will prevent the Government achieving its ambition of 300,000 new homes a year from the mid-2020s.

Modern government

Higher spending on new technology drove an increase in public-private partnerships in UK government in 2018, according to a new industry study.

Bad week for

Social mobility

The proportion of university students from state schools and poorer areas has not risen over the last four years, new figures showed on Thursday. Latest Reform research and recommendations are available here.

NHS efficiency

A report on Monday showed that while the NHS knows that hospitals are inefficient, for example in the use of operating theatres, very little is being done as a result.

Reform’s week

Reform’s ideas were reported in the media on the BBC website (on NHS reform) and in the Times and Guardian (on social mobility).

On Thursday we held a policy dinner with Baroness Kramer on prospects for the UK economy post Brexit.

Our head of Digital and Technological Innovation, Ele Harwich, spoke this week at a World Health Organisation conference on the Future of Digital Health Systems in the European Region.