The Week, 26 April 2019
Reformer of the week
For announcing on Monday that whistleblowers in the NHS would be supported and protected as they help improve the quality of the heath service. They can help reveal fears over patient safety, workplace bullying or misspending of public money.
Quotes of the week
“Whistleblowers perform a vital and courageous service for the NHS and I want more people to feel they can put their head above the parapet. But they must have a safe, open culture to do this in order to achieve the ambitions set out in the Long-Term Plan and make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world.”
Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, speaking to The Telegraph on Monday about banning non-disclosure agreements within the NHS.
“We want to simplify people’s interactions with the government, making information clear and accessible to everyone. These results are promising because voice services can be a really convenient way to get information, particularly for people who find computers and phones hard to use.”
Jennifer Allum, Head of GOV.UK, discussing on Wednesday the use of virtual assistants to access government information.
Good week for
Digital public services
The Government Digital Service this week announced that virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Siri can now verbally provide more than 12,000 pieces of government information, including how to apply for a new passport or how to renew tax credits, helping more people to access crucial information.
HM Courts and Tribunals Service this week announced that the Digital Case System used in Crown Courts has saved more than 100 million sheets of paper since its introduction in 2015 whilst also reducing the time and error rates involved in services such as divorce applications and civil money claims.
Bad week for
Research released this week for homeless charities St Mungo’s and Homeless Link has revealed that English local authorities have seen a 165 per cent increase in homelessness since 2008-9, an issue addressed in Reform research being published in May.
Access to social care
A study by the King’s Fund revealed this week that adult social care in England is at “crisis point” due to rises in the number of both working-age and older people requesting social care since 2015/16, and decreases in the number of people actually receiving care and local council spending on support services.
Reform published two blogs this week. The first by Stephanie Elsy, Managing Director of Stephanie Elsy Associates, made the case for the responsible outsourcing of public services. The second by Claudia Martinez, Research Manager at Reform, discussed smarter working and diversity in the Civil Service in response to the recent speech for Reform by John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service.
Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research at Reform, authored an article in AIMed magazine on the applications of artificial intelligence in the NHS and the nature of partnerships between NHS organisations and private sector companies creating data-driven technologies.
Dr Joshua Pritchard, Researcher at Reform, authored a guest briefing for the Local Government Chronicle on the need to improve outsourced public services, rather than ban them.