The Week

The Week, 11 May 2018

This week the Government announced plans for an extra £50 million to create 4,000 new grammar school places. Whilst this represents an increase of only 3 per cent of the total number of grammar school pupils, it is notable that government remain committed to a policy that evidence suggests reverses social mobility rather than supports it. This announcement also speaks to the absence of wider education reform, which should look to encourage more school choice and greater opportunities for all children.

Maisie Borrows, Senior Researcher

Reformer of the week

The Hackney Integrated Gangs Unit for successfully pioneering longer-term solutions to violent crime, such as supporting young people into apprenticeships and further education, and not just focusing on traditional policing.

Reactionary of the week

HM Courts and Tribunal Service after an NAO report found it was significantly behind in its digital transformation programme and needed to adapt its approach if it hoped “to deliver a modern justice system that works better for everyone”.

Good week for….

Phone cameras in a crisis

On Thursday, the NHS announced that 999 callers will be asked to use their phone cameras to send live video footage of their injuries in an effort to target blue light resources more effectively.

Tackling childhood obesity

On Tuesday, results from a Manchester trial showed that asking parents to weigh their children annually helped the child to maintain a healthy body weight and decrease BMI.

Bad week for….

Train delays

On Thursday, the Department of Transport promised to convert the majority of train tracks to digital signalling by the end of next year to reduce delays.

Preventing children’s ill health

On Wednesday, a report by the Health and Social Care Select Committee found the Government’s strategy to tackle children’s ill health focused little or no attention on joining up public services to prevent illnesses developing or intervene early.


“The Government Digital Service (GDS) is evolving. First, the challenge was to create a digital interface that helped people interact with government. As a result of that, hundreds of public services have digital front ends. But a digital interface isn’t transformation – so next, GDS have taken on the challenge of end-to-end digitisation, looking at whole services to see how digital, data and technology expertise could actually help make government better for everybody. And now GDS is looking to the future – to be the innovation incubator for government, staying ahead of the curve by identifying new solutions to some of the biggest challenges in the public sector.”

Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Parliamentary Secretary and Minister for Implementation, speaking at the Sprint 18 event on Thursday.

“Continuity of care does not necessarily mean always having to see your GP face-to-face—quite the contrary. Remote care over telephone, text, or e-consultations is safer where a trusting relationship has been established between doctor and patient. GPs able to provide continuity of care to their patients and their communities should be at the very heart of the NHS. At a time where an ageing population means growing numbers of our patients are living with more long-term conditions, it is vital we find a way of redressing the loss of personalised, coordinated care. “

Dr Clare Gerada, medical director of the Practitioner Health Programme, writing in the Guardian on Thursday.

Reform’s Week

Reformer Blog

On Wednesday, Jim Boyd, Deputy Director at Reform, published a blog challenging the Resolution Foundation’s Intergeneration Commission’s recommendation that every millennial should receive £10,000.


On Thursday, Reform hosted a roundtable led by Baroness Hughes of Stretford in Manchester, Deputy Mayor for Greater Manchester, on smarter blue light services. This event was held in partnership with Motorola.

On Friday, Reform hosted a panel discussion on the ‘Opportunities for the UK Digital Economy’ lead by Matthew Gould, Director General for Digital and Media Policy at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. The event was held in partnership with Accenture.

Upcoming Events

Next Monday, Reform will host a policy discussion with Hilary Benn MP, Chair of the Committee on Exiting the European Union, on the challenges and opportunities the UK economy faces in exiting the EU.

Next Thursday, in partnership with Age UK, Reform is holding a roundtable event led by Damian Green MP, on how to fund significant reforms in social care.