The Week

The Week, 10 May 2019

Reformer of the week

The National Audit Office, for warning that over-optimism in the planning and delivery of public sector projects is undermining value for money and failing to deliver benefits for citizens. 

Quotes of the week

“Too many children can fall through the cracks, so I want schools to be accountable for the pupils they exclude, alongside tackling the practice of illegal off-rolling. This is not an easy answer, but it is one that will help the most vulnerable children in our society to fulfil their potential.” Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Tuesday 7 May, responding to the Timpson Review.

“While necessary for the integrity of the system, I believe long financial sanctions become much less valuable over time, and ultimately undermine our aim to help people into work.” Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, Thursday 9 May, speaking at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Good week for

Pupils at risk of exclusion

Following Edward Timpson’s review of exclusions in schools this week, the Department for Education has committed to strengthening accountability, improving alternative provision and reducing incentives for schools to remove pupils from the school register.

Getting to grips with the nursing workforce crisis

According to a leaked workforce report, the NHS is planning an international hiring campaign to recruit thousands of foreign nurses over the next five years and bridge the current 40,000 shortfall in nursing and midwifery staff.

Bad week for

Transparency and value for money

The National Audit Office has called out on the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government for making “no effort” to evaluate the value for money of nearly £9.1bn in public funding allocated through the Local Growth Fund since 2015.

Over-optimism in government projects

The Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office have criticised government's over-optimism and failure to manage large projects. Verify, the government’s programme for online services is expected to deliver £366m of the £2.5bn projected benefits; and ESN, the digital communications system for emergency services is set to cost £3.1bn more than expected.

Reform’s week

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research at Reform and Catherine Davies, Trustee at Reform spoke at event run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology,  Women in AI and Edge Health on artificial intelligence in healthcare.

Dr Joshua Pritchard, Researcher at Reform, authored a blog on the use of voice assistants to support the delivery of digital government services.