The Week

The Week, 29 June 2018

In his address to Reform this Monday, David Lidington MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, endorsed the principle that competition between service providers will ensure efficiency, accessibility and provide value for money. The following day, Rory Stewart MP, Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice, said that both the public sector and private companies will run six new prisons.

Luke Heselwood, Researcher

Reformer of the week

David Gauke MP, Secretary of State for Justice, for setting out a new strategy to support the most vulnerable women in the criminal justice system. The strategy moves away from custodial sentences towards tailored community support that recognises the complex circumstances a person may face.

Good week for…

Fiscal prudence

Like Jeremy Corbyn last week, on Tuesday, Liz Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, reminded her Cabinet colleagues that higher spending on public services will result in higher taxes.

Virtual doctors

On Thursday, the tech company Babylon reported that its virtual doctor, powered by artificial intelligence, can identify illnesses as well as GPs.

Shared services

Also on Thursday, research from the Local Government Association showed that local councils have saved over £800 million by sharing services.

Bad week for…

Schoolchildren’s mental health

On Saturday, it was reported that almost four in five teachers have seen a pupil struggle with a mental health problem in the past year.

The NHS’s international reputation

On Tuesday, new research found that the NHS performed worse than comparable international health systems in preventing deaths in eight common causes such as heart attacks and cancers. The research showed, however, that the NHS was a global-leader in treating people regardless of their finances.

Limited competition

On Thursday, Amazon announced it was buying the online pharmacy PillPack. Amazon’s entry into the drug-distribution market is the latest tech disruption in the healthcare sector.

Quotes of the Week

“So by working together, government and industry in partnership, I am confident we can both rebuild that trust not just between ourselves, but between us and the public as well. And in doing so, build a more ‘responsible capitalism’ that works for everyone, and is true to the changing society our children and grandchildren find themselves born into.”

David Lidington MP, in a speech for Reform on Monday.

“The box that I take home every night groans and creaks with documents. It feels less like the post-bureaucratic age and more like the most-bureaucratic. So it’s my ambition that we transition to a digital, no-paper state within a generation.”

Liz Truss MP, speaking to the London School of Economics on Tuesday.

“Does my hon. Friend agree that the question of whether a prison is publicly or privately financed and operated is an ideological irrelevance to the very many problems he faces?”

Ken Clarke MP, during the debate on privately financed prisons on Wednesday.

“This Review marks a historic opportunity for the NHS to learn from research, innovation and best practice in digital technologies for healthcare, while considering the implications for the education and training of its workforce. It is essential that all healthcare professionals are ready for the digital future, a future which puts care at the forefront of healthcare.”

The Topol Review’s Interim report, which aims to prepare the healthcare workforce for a digital future, on Wednesday.

Reform’s Week


On Thursday, Reform published a new report ‘Beyond gadgets: EdTech to help close the opportunity gap’.

Media coverage:

On Thursday, Sarah Timmis, Researcher at Reform, wrote a letter to the Editor of City A.M. arguing that EdTech can unite business with social causes.

Also on Thursday, Daniel El-Gamry, Researcher at Reform, wrote an op-ed in TES outlining how EdTech can reduce the administrative burden on teachers, help to intelligently analyse pupil data and equip students with skills for the future.

On Friday, Sarah Timmis wrote an op-ed in FE News, that calls for a change in attitude towards EdTech.

It was also covered in other news outlets.

Reformer Blog

On Tuesday, Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Digital and Tech Innovation at Reform, published a blog that discusses the value of NHS data, following a panel event held by Reform, ‘Making NHS data work for everyone’.

On Thursday, Sarah Timmis wrote a blog summarising the findings of a new Reform report on EdTech.

On Thursday, Lord Knight, Chief Education and External Officer at Tes Global, authored a blog on how EdTech can help address some of the challenges faced by schools.

On Thursday, Sir Mark Grundy, CEO, Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust, wrote a blog that argued changing our attitudes would help harness the power of EdTech to improve education.

On Friday, Patrick Hayes, Director of the British Education Suppliers Association and Director of EdTech Exchange, authored a blog on overcoming the barriers to EdTech.


On Tuesday, Reform convened a speech by David Lidington MP on the future of outsourcing in public service delivery. 

On Wednesday, Reform held a roundtable discussion, ‘Universal credit and what it means for housing’, led by Kit Malthouse MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance. This event was held in association with Home Group.

Also on Wednesday, Reform hosted a roundtable discussion, ‘Supporting UK businesses post-Brexit: how government and industry can work better together’, led by Richard Harrington MP, Minister for Business and Industry. This event was held in partnership with Baxter.

Upcoming Events

On Wednesday, Liz Truss MP will lead a roundtable discussion on how government should adapt to changes in technology, the economy and citizen attitudes. This event is being held in partnership with Deloitte.

On Thursday, Reform will convene a speech by Sir Michael Barber on the Barber Public Value Review. This event is being held in partnership with Deloitte.

On 19 July, Reform will host Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who will deliver her first major speech on Universal Credit.

Other media

On Thursday, Rose Lasko-Skinner, Research Assistant, wrote a piece for Public Sector Focus on risk sharing in public service markets, arguing that government should play a more active role in risk management when outsourcing.