The Week

The Week, 19 October 2018

The vision set out by our Reformer of the week for the future of healthcare has received much praise and provides an excellent basis for major reforms. It suggests, for example, that IT providers will need to comply with open standards as it will become part of the NHS’s procurement process. This will mean that computer systems within the NHS will be able to communicate with each other allowing healthcare professionals to get the information they need at the right time. Reform has highlighted the importance of this in a couple of its publications.

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head Digital and Tech Innovation, Reform

Reformer of the week

Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, for setting out his vision for digital, data and technology in health and care on Wednesday.

Good week for…

Greater school accountability

On Wednesday, it was reported that schools would be forced to include the results of pupils who have been excluded into league table results. This might prevent schools from expelling pupils to enhance their league table position.

Adult digital skills

On Thursday, Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, launched a consultation to overhaul adult digital skills qualifications to help more people of all ages benefit from getting online.

Bad week for…

Child safety

On Wednesday, it was revealed that 16,000 babies are at risk of severe harm in their households. Local authorities have complained that despite their best efforts to protect children’s services, they have often been forced to reduce spending or stop services altogether. The Department for Education has responded by announcing that it will be investing up to £270m in children's social care programmes.

Employment and Support Allowance

Also on Wednesday, it was reported that tens of thousands of people on employment and support allowance are owed an average of £5,000 due to mistaken calculations.

Quotes of the week

“The people who contributed to this vision document are the people who help to run the NHS. They want the NHS to be great, and they will be swayed by your responses - to some degree, with the usual caveats, in the fullness of time - but they can be swayed, and they want to hear good ideas.

There is a minister and team who are ready and keen to engage with eye-watering detail and apply pressure for change.”

Dr Ben Goldacre, clinician, academic and chair of the Healthtech Advisory Board, on Thursday, writing about Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP’s vision for the NHS.

“We have launched a Digital Inclusion Fund and a Digital Innovation Fund to help boost older people’s technology skills and attract a more diverse range of people into digital industries.”

Margot James MP, Minister for Digital, on Thursday.

“The presence of more female CEOs in some organisations is an indicator that private and public organisations are implementing policies and practices that promote gender diversity at all leadership levels and that they understand the importance of nurturing the leadership pipeline. Too often, companies have the attitude that one woman on a board or in a position of seniority is enough. But more women are needed at every level of leadership in a company.”

Kiran Trehan, Professor of Leadership and Enterprise Development, University of Birmingham, on Thursday, writing in The Conversation.

Reform’s Week

Reformer Blog

On Tuesday, Rose Lasko-Skinner, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog explaining why increasing council tax will not bring empty homes back into the housing stock. This is part of a blog series on the future of housing policy.

On Thursday, Rebecca Pritchard, Director of Services for Crisis, wrote a blog on homelessness and mental health difficulties. This is also part of a blog series on the future of housing policy.

Media Coverage

On Tuesday, Reform’s report A Degree of Uncertainty was mentioned in a debate in the House of Commons on the University of London bill.


On Thursday, following the Department of Health and Social Care’s policy paper, The future of healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care, Maisie Borrows, Research Manager at Reform, commented that the paper placed a welcome emphasis on getting the basics right in the digital architecture of the NHS.


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

Upcoming Events

On Wednesday, Reform will host a Partners Breakfast led by Dr Paul Williams MP, Member, Health and Social Care Select Committee, on ‘Strategic shifts of care in the NHS’.