The Week

The Week, 5 October 2018

Public services were less of a focus at the Conservative Party conference than they had been at Labour last week. Both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor signalled an “end to austerity”, but both said that the size of any spending increase would depend on the performance of the economy after Brexit.

Andrew Haldenby, Director at Reform

Reformer of the week

David Gauke MP, who developed his reform agenda for prisons, from sentencing to better education, at the Conservative Party conference this week.

Good week for…

Parity of esteem

On Tuesday, Damian Hinds MP emphasised the importance of a vocational option for school children of equivalent merit to the academic route.

The NHS status quo

On Tuesday, Matthew Hancock MP said that he would resist attempts to change the pattern of hospital provision, whether centralising some care in larger hospitals or closing community hospitals.

Bad week for…

Siloed working in government

On Wednesday, Sajid Javid MP said that he would create a statutory duty for public sector organisations to work together to tackle violent crime.

The status quo for youth custody

On Tuesday, David Gauke MP said that he would create a new series of “secure schools”, as alternatives to current youth custody, to improve education and training for young offenders. The schools will be run by academy trusts.

Quotes of the week

“So, when we’ve secured a good Brexit deal for Britain, at the Spending Review next year we will set out our approach for the future. Debt as a share of the economy will continue to go down, support for public services will go up. Because, a decade after the financial crash, people need to know that the austerity it led to is over and that their hard work has paid off.”

Theresa May MP, speaking on Wednesday.

“After the years of hard work to rebuild our economy and our public finances…there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Philip Hammond MP, speaking on Monday

“At next year’s Spending Review, the Chancellor and I will be assessing how well we’re spending money, and how we can deliver the best possible public services.”

Liz Truss MP, speaking on Monday.

Reform’s Week

Reformer Blog

On Monday, Andy Lake, author of The Smart Working Handbook, wrote a blog highlighting how Smart Working is modernising the way government is managed and organised.

On Thursday, Rachel Taylor and Daniel Burke, Partners at PwC, wrote a blog outlining the ideas that emerged from PwC and Reform’s event at the Conservative Party Conference, on the 2019 Spending Review.


On Tuesday, following the publication of Reform’s, report Smarter Working in public services: the HMRC experience so far, Dr Luke Heselwood, Researcher at Reform, wrote an op-ed in Civil Service World outlining how HMRC has been at the forefront of the Government’s Smarter Working agenda.

On Sunday, a report was released by the World Health Organisation which mentioned Reform’s report on AI—Thinking on its own AI in the NHS.


On Tuesday, Reform held two events at the Conservative Party conference.

The first was with The Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on ‘Saving for tomorrow: how do we build a sustainable and fairer society?’ This event was held in partnership with Prudential.

The second was with Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Parliamentary Secretary (Minister for Implementation) on ‘The 2019 Spending Review: cross-government thinking on investment and reform’. This event was held in partnership with PwC.

External Events

On Friday, Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Digital and Tech Innovation and Dr Luke Heselwood, Researcher at Reform presented the findings of Sharing the benefits: how to use data effectively in the public sector at the Open Data Institute.

Last Tuesday, Daniel El-Gamry, former Researcher at Reform, was interviewed by Victoria Macdonald, Health and Social Care Correspondent at Channel 4 News, on the Hot Seat at the UK Health Show. He argued for far greater integration between health and social care to create a future sustainable care model.

Upcoming Events

On Monday Reform will host a roundtable event with Dr David Geddes, Director of Primary Care Commissioning at NHS England on ‘The future of eye care: building on NHS reform success’. This event is being held in partnership with Novartis.

On Tuesday in partnership with Deloitte, Reform will be holding a panel discussion with Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, to launch our report ‘State of the State 2018-2019.’

On Thursday Reform will host a roundtable event led by Kevin Cunnington, Director General, Government Digital Service, on ‘Practical steps to transforming Government.’ This event is being held in partnership with Sopra Steria.

On Friday Reform will host a conference ‘The world of 2027—and how to police it’. The full list of speakers can be found here. This event is being held in partnership with BT.