The Week, 5 July 2019
Reformer of the week
The Institute for Fiscal Studies
For exposing the financial realities of Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP and Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP’s spending and tax cut pledges. These were described by Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, as “not currently a grown up discussion or strategy, it is little more than a random throwing of sweeties at the children.”
Reactionaries of the week
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt
For laying out multi-billion pound spending commitments for public services and attempting to use the single-year “fiscal headroom” for this additional funding. In reality it means conditional borrowing for the country and a slower debt reduction.
Quotes of the week
“Trust [councils] to deliver and give us certainty through the right funding and the right powers…. My key ask for the next government will be: give us the powers, freedoms, flexibilities and funding and we will deliver great communities.”
James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, speaking at the Local Government Association conference on Tuesday.
“Police don’t just need a lot more people… you have to invest to be more efficient and that will cost more money.… Some of that money should be spent on technology.”
Good week for
Student mental health
A mental health app is to be trialled at several UK universities in an effort to tackle rising mental health issues amongst students. Reform published a report this week on the use of data-driven technologies, such as apps, in mental healthcare.
University research funding
Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research, and Innovation, announced an additional £91m of funding for university-led research and development as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
Bad week for
Leadership candidate Boris Johnson’s pledge to fund an additional 20,000 police officers in England and Wales has been criticised by both the CEO of the College of Policing and the Chief Inspector of Constabulary for failing to provide an effective solution to crime in Britain.
Reports published this week by the Local Government Association and the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee declared the state of social care a “national scandal”, called for the publication of the long overdue Social Care Green Paper, and urged £8bn of funding to be invested immediately.
Reform released its latest report Making the right choices: using data driven technology to transform mental healthcare, authored by Claudia Martinez, Research Manager at Reform, and Imogen Farhan, Researcher at Reform.
To support the report, Reform published three blogs. One from Dr Tom Foley, Senior Clinical Lead for Data, NHS Digital, on creating a learning mental health system using data-driven technology; one from Dr Pauline Whelan, Co-Director, CAMHS.Digital, on an agile-team science approach to learning health systems; and one from Claudia Martinez, Research Manager at Reform, on how data-driven technologies can help bridge the access gap for mental health services.
On Tuesday, Reform held a roundtable on The role of big data in transforming the NHS – practical steps forward with Baroness Blackwood, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care. This event was kindly sponsored by the Quadram Institute.
Dr Joshua Pritchard, Researcher at Reform, was quoted in the Salisbury Journal discussing the funding flip-flopping over the Stonehenge Tunnel project.