The Week

The Week, 12 October 2018

Universal Credit was the focus of much criticism this week. Some was directed at changes to benefit levels, which are separate to the reform itself. Other criticism was directed at the administration of the new system, by which one fifth of claims are not being paid on time and in full.

Luke Heselwood, Researcher

Reformer of the Week

Andy Haldane, Chief Economist, Bank of England, for his analysis of the UK’s recent stagnation in pay, which may now be improving. He argued that employees not moving jobs, decreasing unionisation, automation and the lack of competition between companies in certain industries have been some of the issues leading to low pay growth.

Reactionary of the Week

The Department for Education, for misrepresenting statistics on issues such as school funding and the reading ability of nine-year olds. To ensure effective policy making, accurate use of data is essential.

Good week for…

Substantial school inspections

On Thursday, Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector, Ofsted, announced that the regulator will broaden its inspection criteria. It will look to discourage schools from focusing too much attention on teaching pupils how to pass exams.

Bad week for…

Unaccountable groups of academy schools

On Thursday, Damian Hinds MP asked for ideas on holding groups of academies (“multi-academy trusts”) to account for performance. The Secretary of State said that he wanted to publish more information both at the level of the group and its individual schools.

Quotes of the Week

“There is a growing recognition that nurses are well suited to provide the sort of patient-centred care that is needed to look after the rising numbers of people with chronic diseases such as cancer, heart failure, diabetes and dementia. There are barriers. Improved education, recruitment and commitment from employers will be required. But if we are to solve the crisis in primary care, we must urgently look to positioning nurses as the new gatekeepers on the NHS.”

Lord Darzi, director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, on Tuesday.

“Pay prospects are determined in part by employment, in part by productivity and in part by power. All three have been important in explaining the weakness of pay during its recent “lost decade”. And each is likely to continue to be important for pay in the period ahead.”

Andy Haldane, speaking on Wednesday.

Reform’s Week

Reformer Blog

On Tuesday, Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform wrote a blog outlining what the Conservative Party’s promise of the ‘end of austerity’ would mean for public services.

On Friday, Rose Lasko-Skinner, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog outlining how technology and better uses of data can be deployed on the frontline to improve the efficiency of the police force and other public services.

Also on Friday, David Darch, Head of Client Service, Policing, BT, wrote a blog highlighting how technology is having transformative effects on UK policing.


On Wednesday, Maisie Borrows, Research Manager at Reform, wrote a piece for Glint Perspectives outlining how public services could use technology to improve productivity.

On Thursday, following the The Care Quality Commission’s annual State of Care report, Maisie Borrows commented that integrated care records enabled by effective data sharing would improve care quality. These comments were published in Public Sector Executive and Pharmafield.

Also on Thursday, Rose Lasko-Skinner wrote an article for Public Sector Executive on social value in public procurement. The article discusses the importance of social value and considers possible next steps, following the amendment of the Social Value Act, to be taken to improve procurement practice.


On Tuesday, in partnership with Deloitte, Reform hosted a panel discussion with Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, to launch our report State of the State 2018-19.

On Thursday, Reform, held a roundtable event led by Kevin Cunnington, Director General, Government Digital Service, on ‘Practical steps to transforming Government.’ This event was held in partnership with Sopra Steria.

On Friday, Reform held a conference on ‘The world of 2027—and how to police it’. The full list of speakers can be found here. This event was held in partnership with BT.

Upcoming Events

On Thursday, Reform will host a roundtable event led by Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Investment, Department for International Trade, on ‘The Future of Inward Investment.’ This event is kindly sponsored by Barclays.