The Week

The Week, 24 March 2017

This week, the NHS took steps to protect staff who report patient-safety concerns by committing to prohibit discrimination of whistleblowers when they apply for future NHS jobs. As Jeremy Hunt MP explained to Reform earlier this month, creating a learning culture can reduce medical error and legal costs. This was previously argued by Reform in Work in progress.

Alexander Hitchcock, Senior Researcher

Reformer of the week

John Cridland for recommending the Government scraps the triple lock in the next Parliament. The Chancellor has committed to review the policy around the time of the next election.

Good week for…

A learning culture in the NHS

On Monday, the Government published plans to protect NHS whistleblowers from discrimination.

Government borrowing

On Tuesday, it was reported that government borrowing is on course to meet forecasts set by the Budget.

Older working women

On Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics found that the number of working women over the age of 70 has doubled since 2012.

Bad week for…

Universal basic income

On Tuesday, an independent review concluded that UBI would raise inequality and require billions of pounds of extra tax.


On Wednesday, Office for National Statistics data revealed that inflation was 2.3 per cent in February, while earnings rose in 2.2 per cent in January.

Civil Service skills

On Friday, the National Audit Office reported that the Civil Service lacks all the capabilities needed to carry out complex government work, such as Brexit negotiations.

Quotes of the week

“Today we move another step closer to creating a culture of openness in the NHS, where people who have the courage to speak up about patient safety concerns are listened to, not vilified. These welcome changes will prohibit whistleblowers being discriminated against when they seek re-employment in the NHS, ultimately ensuring staff feel they are protected with the law on their side.”

Jeremy Hunt MP, on Monday.

“Back in in 2010 the state pension in Britain was one of the lowest in Europe. The triple lock policy has started to reverse that but at a price…The challenge for politicians will be how to balance further improvements to the state pension against the other competing pressures on public spending”

Sir Steve Webb, on Tuesday.

“Five years ago half of all students thought their qualifications worth the expense. Now, with fees tripled in that period, only a third do. That is a grim statistic. Restaurants or hotels with those ratings wouldn’t survive. The difficulty for students is that they can’t judge their experience properly until it’s too late. First years can hope that the next year will be better; bored third years can hope that at least they’ll qualify for an excellent graduate job. Inertia, puzzlement and optimism allow universities to get away with teaching that’s just not good enough”

Jenni Russel, writing in The Times on Thursday.

Reform’s Week


On Sunday, Andrew Haldenby, Reform‘s Director, appeared on BBC News arguing that the NHS needs to make internal changes rather than receive another cash injection.

On Thursday, William Mosseri-Marlio, Research Manager at Reform, wrote an article in Civil Service World on the role of deferred payment agreements in funding social care.

The Reformer blog

On Tuesday, Andrew Haldenby wrote about some of the themes covered in the Reform Health Conference, including how reform progress has been ‘painfully slow’ so far.

On Wednesday, Guy Kirkwood, COO of UiPath, argued that Government adoption of automation has to start immediately and at pace in order for the public to receive the highest level of digital service.

On Thursday, Maisie Borrows, Research Assistant at Reform, argued that because of modern technologies allowing frictionless and safe border travel, Ireland and the UK will not need to establish a ‘hard border’ after Brexit.