The Week

The Week, 2 February 2018

This week, the latest data on university access were released, showing that top universities are still struggling to diversify their intakes. At a Reform event last week, Rt Hon David Lammy MP and other speakers urged institutions to speed up change.

Emilie Sundorph, Researcher

Reformer of the week…

David Lammy MP, for focusing on the need to tackle the underlying causes of violent youth crime.

Good week for…

Digital services

On Tuesday, the HM Courts and Tribunals Service announced the testing of a fully online divorce application process.

Housing for public servants

Also on Tuesday, the Government announced the building of thousands of affordable homes on unused or surplus NHS land, with some earmarked for health service staff.

Private-sector innovation

On Thursday, it was announced that Amazon has formed a not-for-profit healthcare company seeking to lower American healthcare bills.

Bad week for…

The teaching workforce

On Wednesday, the Public Accounts Committee concluded that the Department for Education “has failed to get a grip on teacher retention.”

Digital government

Also on Wednesday, Government research showed that hundreds of thousands of benefits claimants could be unable to register for the new Universal Credit digital service due to problems using the online identity system Verify.

Elite university diversity

On Thursday, the latest data on university admissions showed that the most selective universities are still struggling to recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Quotes of the week

“It has often been said that the war on drugs has failed. Some politicians and commentators are now arguing for a complete rethink, with decriminalisation or liberalisation touted as the best way to cut off the gangsters’ monopoly over the supply of drugs. But the real problem right now is inertia and a lack of political leadership. While the political class dither, Britain has become a European hub of organised crime- and the bodies on our streets tell us that the status quo is failing badly.”

Rt Hon David Lammy MP, in The Guardian on Thursday.

“In other types of service, however, it is not productivity that matters, but rather quality. The economically better outcome is likely to involve spending more time, not less, on the delivery of these non-routine services. Examples might include caring for a very sick patient in hospital, or preparing a special meal. Many existing sectors will include both activities we want to see done faster and those which would be improved if they happened more slowly. In either case, time is the right productivity metric.”

Diane Coyle, in the Financial Times on Tuesday.

Reform’s Week

The Reformer blog

On Wednesday, Rt Hon David Lammy MP, argued that universities need to fundamentally rethink their approach to access to create a fairer system and diversify the elite.

On Thursday, Emilie Sundorph, wrote a blog on last week’s event ‘Diversifying the elite: the responsibility of universities?’


On WednesdayReform hosted a roundtable to discuss achieving value for money in the primary care estate, following the launch of Reform‘s research paper A design diagnosis: reinvigorating the primary care estate. The event was led by Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, Medical Director of Humberside LMCs and the British Medical Association Executive Lead on GP Premises, and kindly sponsored by Assura.


On Monday, Times Higher Education wrote an article following our panel event ‘Diversifying the elite: the responsibility of universities?’

On Thursday, Alexander Hitchcock, Research Manager at Reform, wrote an opinion piece for City A.M arguing that after recent profit warnings, Capita could be the next Carillion.

On Friday, Rachel Cunliffe, City AM Comment Editor, quoted Reform research in a piece in favour of government outsourcing.