The Week

The Week, 14 July 2017

This week Matthew Taylor published his independent review into modern employment practices. It calls for greater clarity regarding the employment status of independent contractors, including those working in the gig economy, and suggests extending the National Minimum Wage to some freelance workers. Crucially, it recognises the opportunity the gig economy presents for workers who need flexibility. A Reformreport next Tuesday will detail how government support for these workers should improve.

Ben Dobson, Researcher

Reformer of the week

Matthew Taylor, as above.

Reactionary of the week

The Ministry of Justice, whose electronic monitoring programme was this week found to be behind schedule and not delivering value for money.

Good week for…

Smart borders

On Tuesday, Rt Hon David Davis MP indicated the Government will introduce trusted trader schemes, automatic number plate recognition and pre-tagged containers at the UK border. Reform called for these and other initiatives in The future of public services: digital borders.

Efficient emergency services

On Thursday, it was announced that fewer ambulance calls will be classified as life threatening, increasing the efficiency of the service without damaging patient welfare.

NHS cyber security

Also on Thursday, it was announced the Care Quality Commission will hold chief executives of NHS trusts accountable for data security standards.

Bad week for…

Integrating health and social care

On Monday, local councils claimed £2 billion of emergency social care funds are being redirected to the NHS, preventing domiciliary care being delivered.

Import duties

On Thursday, the National Audit Office published a report which warns that HM Revenue and Customs may not have replaced its customs system when Britain leaves the European Union, posing a risk to £34 billion of tax revenue.

The school workforce

Also on Thursday, research from Education Datalab found teachers in the most deprived schools are 70 per cent more likely to leave than those in the least deprived.

Quotes of the week

“Yet my support for the creation of a simple data opt-out does not mean that I want people to use it… Researchers, administrators and others have an important role in explaining what they want to do with patient data, how they will look after it and the benefits, such as more accurate diagnoses and the design of better treatments. This has not been explained well so far, but when we discuss it with people many express the altruistic wish to allow their information to be used in this way.”

Fiona Caldicott, writing in the The Times on Thursday.

“Yesterday’s OBR report illustrates how uncontrolled spending can expose the public finances to further shocks. No one has a crystal ball, and the report shows why we must build our resilience to ensure families and public services are not exposed to the risks that they were in the run up to 2008… as the OBR report demonstrates, it’s also vital that we live within our means. So we will stick to our plan to continue to get the deficit down and the debt falling as a share of GDP in 2020-21…”

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, writing in The Telegraph on Friday.

Reform’s Week


On TuesdayReform held a research roundtable with 22 experts in education to discuss the early findings of our forthcoming report on the school workforce.

On WednesdayReform held a roundtable led by Ian Dodge, National Director for Strategy and Innovation at NHS England, on the theme of “successful ‘next steps’ on the NHS Five Year Forward View”.

The Reformer Blog

On Wednesday, Emilie Sundorph, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog arguing government must do more to tackle the disparity in digital skills between different social classes.

On Thursday, Andrew Haldenby, Director at Reform, wrote a blog arguing that the NHS needs to move to a different model of care to overcome the financial challenges it faces.