The Week

The Week, 31 August 2018

The new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, summed up his frustrations and hopes for NHS technology on Friday: “I was already motivated to improve the IT of the NHS – but boy! Chelsea & Westminster Hospital is one of the better trusts for IT, but even there, there is so far to go. And it was through no fault of their own – but rather the lack of national interoperability standards means systems just can’t talk to each other, so people are forced to revert to pen and paper.” Reform’s recent data sharing report offers recommendations on how to achieve better interoperability.

Luke Heselwood, Researcher

Reformer of the Week

Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, for providing a new toolkit for schools with advice and support on how to deliver better value for money and ensure funding is spent in the classroom.

Good week for…

Early learning in North Yorkshire

On Tuesday, the Department for Education launched a programme in North Yorkshire to provide early-years support, such as onsite speech therapists in primary schools, to tackle educational disadvantage. This announcement follows on from Damian Hinds MP’s focus on early years in his social mobility speech last month.

Flexible working

On Friday, it was reported that PWC will allow more than 2,000 staff members to choose their own working hours. Reform will publish a report on how flexible working can help to improve efficiency and productivity within the public sector in the next few weeks.

Bad week for…

Pupil exclusion

On Wednesday, it was reported that more than 1,500 children aged ten and under are registered in pupil referral units (PRUS), which teach children who have been expelled or have a condition that requires them to be taught outside of mainstream education. Records show that this has more than doubled the class sizes in PRUs.

Social care

Also on Wednesday, a report from Age UK argued that England has been “left behind” by comparable countries in its attempt to create a sustainable social care system. The report refers to the fact that Germany introduced social care reforms in 1995, and Japan in 2000, whereas England has had several consultations, Commissions, and White and Green papers that have left social care mostly unchanged.

Quotes of the Week

“The evidence from countries is that a package of measures that significantly improve the care offer to older people attracts a lot more public support than something more timid – the public isn’t stupid and will demand good value in return for paying more.”

Caroline Abrahams, Director, Age UK, referring to England’s social care system on Wednesday.

“I want to help schools use their resources as effectively as possible. This strategy equips head teachers and school business professionals with the practical advice, resources and support they need so that they can focus on what they do so well – delivering high-quality education for their pupils.”

Damian Hinds MP on Friday.

Reform’s Week

Reformer Blog

On Tuesday, Rhian Lewis, Tech Consultant and Blockchain Specialist, wrote a blog on how blockchain could create more public trust around healthcare data.


On Wednesday, Maisie Borrows, Research Manager at Reform was quoted in both Government Computing and Open Access Government, following the article she recently contributed to the Braintree whitepaper on AI in Government and Public services.

Upcoming Events

On ThursdayReform will hold its Annual Dinner, bringing together parliamentarians, business professionals and public service leaders. The keynote speech will be given by Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.