Britain has endured a decade of disruption. With ongoing global tensions and deep uncertainty this era of crisis looks set to continue. Add to this the profound demographic and technological change already reshaping the nation, and it is clear that securing our future prosperity will require a fundamental rethink.
At Reform, we believe that Britain’s prosperity is inextricably linked to the health of our public services and the effectiveness of the State. Yet the public service institutions and approaches we rely on today are modified versions of those built as part of the post-war settlement. The aims and ambitions of those who designed them were inspiring, but the challenges that faced 1940s Britain are not those of today. Continuing to tweak a broken system, hoping for radically different outcomes, won’t work.
Instead, we want to see a public service model that reduces demand rather than simply manages it. We want to see a settlement that recognises that the welfare of the people cannot – and should not – be delivered by the State alone. And we want to see a State that acts in the long-term interests of the nation, that devolves rather than hoards power, and that is agile and fiscally sustainable.
In practice we think that means overhauling the centre; dismantling top-down bureaucracies and building local capabilities; rethinking outdated institutions; and challenging existing funding models.
Our mission is to reimagine how the State operates in order to shape a new social settlement fit for today and the coming decades.