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Reform announces James Palmer as new Chair of trustees

Reform is delighted to announce that James Palmer has been appointed as Chair of trustees, succeeding Stephen Hargrave.

James has been a trustee of Reform for several years. James is Chair and Senior Partner of the international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. He also currently chairs the Legal Services Group of TheCityUK, the body representing UK financial and professional services, and is a member of TheCityUK's Advisory Board and Senior Brexit Steering Group. Throughout his career James has also been involved in working on public policy initiatives, including improving regulation, its effectiveness and policy outcomes.

The team and trustees would like to express their thanks to Stephen Hargrave for his tremendous commitment to Reform over 15 years.

James Palmer said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as Chair of Reform's trustees. I am particularly looking forward to working with Charlie, who we appointed earlier this year as the Director of Reform, and with the rest of the team.

“I have long believed in Reform's mission of better and smarter public service outcomes, achieved through evidence-based independent research analysis and ideas. It is through this that Reform contributes to real improvements in people’s lives, and to honesty in debate about sustainable solutions. At a time when politics in the UK is particularly short-termist, Reform is superbly placed to have a positive impact on policy thinking and implementation.

 “I would like to thank Stephen Hargrave, my predecessor as Chair of the trustees, for his quiet and unsung contribution to Reform, from its earliest days. We are very grateful for his time and support.”

Macau Daily Times

Macau Daily Times

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Digital and Tech Innovation, was mentioned in Macau Daily Times, on the topic of Amazon and NHS England joining forces to help patients get information about illnesses via Amazon's Alexa. 

Read the full article here.

Bloomberg Opinion

Bloomberg, 10 July 2019

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Digital and Tech Innovation, was quoted in a Bloomberg Opinion piece on topic of Amazon and NHS England joining forces to help patients get information about illnesses via Amazon's Alexa. 

"One public benefit would be to get more people to access official professional advice rather than make do with the rumors and misinformation that swamp social media, according to Eleonora Harwich, director of research at Reform, a public sector think tank."

Read the full article here

Salisbury Journal

Reform Media Statement: Stonehenge Tunnel

Commenting on the Public Accounts Committee’s Stonehenge Tunnel report, Reform Procurement lead, Dr Joshua Pritchard, said:

“The ‘at-risk’ £2.4bn Stonehenge Tunnel is a worrying example of Government’s inability to think long-term about how it funds major infrastructure projects.

The short-sighted decision to reject private finance schemes without any sort of replacement funding in place has left this and other projects in perpetual limbo, with contractors unwilling to bid for multi-million pound building contracts without know who’ll be footing the bill. PFI had been problematic, but a new approach to private funding should have been put in place before pulling the plug on crucial projects across the UK or expecting Government Departments to magic funds out of thin air.”

Covered by the Salisbury Journal

Public finance

Reform Media Statement: NAO Report on Serious Organised Crime

On Friday 28 June, the National Audit Office released a report on 'Tackling serious and organised crime', highlighting "inefficient and uncertain" funding arrangements. Commenting on the report, Reform researcher Aidan Shilson-Thomas said:

“Candidates vying to become Prime Minister need to think about what resources the police need to tackle crime in 2019 and pledging to introduce an arbitrary target for more officers is not the answer. This is a complex challenge as organised crime is increasingly hidden and borderless. Bolstering law enforcement’s use of data and capability to tackle online threats must be a priority.”

This statement was covered by Public Finance.


Public Sector Focus

Public Sector Focus, 27 June 2019

Dr. Joshua Pritchard, Researcher at Reform, wrote an article for the July edition of Public Sector Focus, addressing the potential benefits of allowing citizens to access government services using voice-assisted technologies, such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Home.

You can read the piece here.

Public Sector Executive

Public Sector Executive, 27 June 2019

Dr. Joshua Pritchard, Researcher at Reform, wrote an article for Public Sector Executive, addressing the potential benefits of incorporating Social Value into the government's outsourcing and contracting decisions.

"To seize opportunities to create social value, the Cabinet Office must draw on their expertise and ensure that appropriate training and existing guidance is used to support the roll-out of the new requirements."

You can read the full piece here.

BBC Three Counties Radio

BBC Three Counties Radio, 25 June 2019

On 25 June 2019, Reform Senior Researcher Dr. Luke Heselwood appeared on BBC Three Counties Radio, responding to the Sutton Trust/Social Mobility Commission's report into the educational backgrounds of the members of Britain's top professions.

He addressed the structural injustices which obstruct access to prestigious jobs for disadvantaged members of society, and suggested measures which could be taken to improve the equity of Britain's educational system.

You can listen to the full interview here (1:35:00 onwards).

the Guardian

Reform Media Statement: Sutton Trust and Social Mobility Commission Report

On Monday 24 June, The Sutton Trust published a report in partnership with the Social Mobility Commission, addressing the dominance of privately-educated individuals in top professions. Dr. Luke Heselwood, Senior Researcher at Reform, said:

“These scandalous figures show that the UK is far from being a meritocracy. Fixing this will require serious reform to the education system as, despite improvements, the most advantaged are nearly 10 times more likely to attend elite universities than the most disadvantaged. If candidates vying to become Prime Minster are serious about giving equal opportunity to all, they must focus on raising the attainment of disadvantaged school pupils so they can apply to elite universities. Top universities must also embrace contextualised admissions and offer more support to students to help them to succeed.”

This statement was covered by The Guardian, The SunHuffington Post, ITV and Indy 100.

The Big Issue

Reform Media Statement: London Rough Sleeping Statistics

On 19 June 2019, new data from St. Mungo's Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain) showed an all-time high in rough sleeping in London. Commenting on the new data, Dr. Luke Heselwood, Senior Researcher at Reform and co-author of 'Preventing Youth Homelessness', said:

“The Government’s flagship homelessness legislation is failing the most vulnerable in society. Rather than waiting until people are on the streets, a preventative approach is needed. This will require a multi-agency response and long-term funding to support London boroughs facing increasing pressures."

This statement was covered by The Big Issue.

Talkradio logo

TalkRadio, 18 June 2019

On 18 June 2019, Reform Director Charlotte Pickles appeared on TalkRadio to speak with Mike Graham about the complex and changing face of disadvantage in the UK, following a speech for Reform on the same topic by Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education.

She addressed the lag in educational outcomes for white, working-class children in Britain, linking this phenomenon to the educational difficulties experienced in the rural and coastal areas where the white working-class population tends to be concentrated. She also emphasised that the issue goes far beyond a lack of good schools, pointing out that even in areas with a high concentration of 'outstanding' schools, other factors (such as lack of cultural exposure and poor home life) can negatively influence outcomes.

You can listen back to the full interview here.

Reform Logo

Press Coverage: Major Speech by Damian Hinds

On Monday 17 June, the Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, gave a major speech on disadvantage and social mobility, hosted by Reform.

The speech received coverage in Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Independent, The TelegraphBBC News, Local Gov and Schools Week.

You can read a full transcript of the Secretary of State's speech here.


Reform Media Statement: Knife Crime Statistics

On 13 June 2019, the Ministry of Justice released statistics showing that knife crime has reached a nine-year high. Commenting on the figures, Reform Director Charlotte Pickles said:


“The tragic rise in knife crime requires urgent action. But, as these figures show, tougher sentences are not the answer. Politicians focusing on law enforcement are mistaken; you cannot arrest your way out of this. Instead of pledging thousands more police offices, if candidates vying to become Prime Minster really want to stem this violence they must also focus on the root causes - poverty, school exclusion, poor mental health and drugs."


This was covered on the BBCThe Times and Police Professional among other publications. 

Simon Stevens

Coverage of Reform's 2019 Digital Health conference

On 5 June 2019, Reform held a digital health conference where Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, gave opening remarks. The event received coverage in the Health Service Journal, the Evening Standard, DigitalHealth, the Telegraph and The Times

Charlotte Pickles, Reform

Politics Live, 4 June 2019

Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform, appeared on Politics Live to discuss the latest policy news including Trump's state visit to the UK and dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.