The Week

The Week, 27 January 2017

Last week Reform research showed that the lack of co-ordination of public services greatly hinders their efforts to deliver for citizens. On Thursday, the NAO reported that ambulance services do not deliver value for money because commissioners do not treat them as an integral part of the whole NHS.

Andrew Haldenby, Director

Reformers of the week

Customers of British businesses, whose willingness to spend post-referendum has kept the Government’s deficit reduction ambitions on track this month.

Reactionary of the week

President Trump. Reforming the Civil Service is a good thing to do but a freeze on hiring federal employees, as introduced on Tuesday, hinders the flexibility that leaders will need to do it.

Good week for


On Thursday, the Government published a Bill of 137 words that will allow the Prime Minister to “notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.”


On Thursday, the ONS reported that the economy had grown more strongly than expected at the end of 2016. For the Institute of International Monetary Research, Professor Tim Congdon pointed out that, in both the USA and the UK, deficit reduction has been accompanied by steady economic growth since 2011.


On Monday, the Government’s industrial strategy asked for ideas to: “build on our strengths”; “close the gap between the UK’s most productive companies, industries, places and people and the rest”; and “make the UK one of the most competitive places in the world to grow or start a business”.

Bad week for

Learning from mistakes

On Monday (£), The Times reported that the Civil Service wastes up to £500 million a year “rehashing policy plans that their predecessors had dismissed as unworkable”.

Prison violence

On Thursday, the Ministry of Justice reported that prison suicides, self-harm incidents and assaults all reached record highs in 2016.

Social mobility

On Thursday, the Social Mobility Commission found that people from poorer backgrounds in professional roles are paid 7 per cent less than their more privileged colleagues, even when they have the same education attainment, role and experience.

Quotes of the Week

“Last summer’s referendum was not simply a vote to leave the European Union, it was an instruction to the Government to change the way our country works—and the people for whom it works—forever. So our Plan for Britain is not just a plan to leave the EU, but a plan to shape a new future for the kind of country we will be when we have left.”

Theresa May MP, in her foreword to the industrial strategy Green Paper published on Monday

“Growth in corporation tax has remained stronger than our full-year forecast. This could reflect the resilience of sales growth since the referendum, alongside the slowdown in tax-deductible capital spending, both of which may have boosted taxable profits by more than assumed in our forecast. The latest ONS profits data have been notably strong (although these can also be subject to significant revisions over time).”

The OBR, speaking on Tuesday

“A long-term goal might be to create the expectation that civil servants will consider previous literature and the expertise of their peers within and outside government before developing new policy ideas.”

Cabinet Office report (£) reported by The Times on Tuesday

“Ambulance services are a vital part of the health service but much of their ability to work better depends on other parts of the health system. Until clinical commissioning groups see ambulance services as an integral part of that system it is difficult to see how they will become sustainable and secure consistent value for money across the country.”

The NAO, reporting on Thursday

Reform’s week


On Monday, Andrew Haldenby, argued in the British Journal of Healthcare Computing, that the NHS should be on the “right side” of the digital revolution in healthcare.

The Reformer blog

On Monday, Andrew Haldenby, argued that cutting taxes to boost UK efficiency is not realistic, given current health and pensions entitlements, and that becoming more “competitive” is possible through a more efficient public sector.

On Thursday, Louis Coiffait, Head of Education at Reform, outlined five principles for how new ‘sector deals’ could help technology improve education and health/care services.

On Friday, Charlotte Pickles, Deputy Director and Head of Research at Reform, argued that full employment is an inadequate measure if the aim is an economy that works for all.