The Week

The Week, 6 October 2017

Beneath the headlines from the Conservative Party conference, Ministers made powerful arguments for public service reform in the areas of health and prisons.

Kate Laycock, Senior Researcher

Reformer of the week

Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, for highlighting that hospitals delivering the best care are also those working within their budget.

Reactionary of the week

The OBR, for persistently over-estimating Britain’s productivity growth over the last seven years.

Good week for…

Cash-strapped graduates

On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced plans to raise the income level that triggers student loan repayments for recent graduates in England from £21,000 to £25,000 a year.

Ethical technology

On Wednesday, DeepMind launched DeepMind Ethics & Society to scrutinise the societal impacts of the artificial intelligence it creates.

Accountability in prisons

On Tuesday, Rt Hon David Lidington MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, announced plans to make prison governors accountable for prisoner outcomes.

Bad week for…


On Monday, BT announced that over one third of IT decision makers are already using some form of artificial intelligence and/or automation technology. Ninety-seven per cent of these are seeing the benefits.


On Tuesday, the National Cyber Security Centre found that last year there were more than 30 cyberattacks so serious that they required a cross-government response.

University staff

On Thursday, Times Higher Education found that 78 per cent of higher education employees are not satisfied with the way their university is managed.

Quotes of the week

“Our job is to increase this country’s earning power. For unless we raise our earning power, capitalism won’t work for everyone. And if capitalism doesn’t work for everyone, it doesn’t work… Britain can win the fight to be the first home of the new industrial revolution. Yet to do that we must do something none of us in this hall ever thought we would have to do again. We must mount a battle of ideas on a scale we have not done for many years. Because underpinning everything we do is a belief that Britain is best served by a thriving, market economy, that produces jobs and prosperity for our people, and pays for the public services on which our nation relies.”

Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, speaking on Monday

“All Trusts are paid the same NHS tariff. But on average the ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ trusts were in surplus and the ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’ ones were in deficit. Why’s that? Because poor care is about the most expensive care you can give. If someone has a fall and stays in hospital an extra week, it’s not just terrible for them it costs us more too.”

Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, speaking on Tuesday

“I am giving prison governors new powers over how their prisons are run. Next year, every governor will be given the power to tailor education and training to the needs of their prisoners. They’ll have more freedom to innovate, but they will also be held to account for the results of their work.”

Rt Hon David Lidington MP, speaking on Tuesday

“Governments can also play a big role in supporting the economy. But private initiative is essential. And that does not come because the government commands it. It comes because the government motivates it.”

Martin Wolf, writing in the Financial Times on Friday

Reform’s Week


On Sunday, Louis Coiffait, Head of Education at Reform, was featured in an article by TES on value for money in teacher recruitment.

Reform at the 2017 Conservative Party Conference

Reform had a programme of events, and related blogs, at the Conservative Party conference:

On MondayReform held an expert roundtable, led by Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills and Minister for Women, on the skills the country needs to succeed in the global market, in partnership with NOCN. This was followed up with a blog by Graham Hasting-Evans, Group Managing Director, NOCN Group.

On Tuesday, Reform held a roundtable, led by Marcus Jones MP, Minister for Local Government, on the future of supported housing. This was accompanied by a blog from Rachael Byrne, Executive Director of New Models of Care, Home Group, who sponsored the event.

Reform held a panel event, featuring Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, on public service delivery, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. Martin Routledge, Head of Development, Community Circles and Professor Chris Fox both wrote supporting blogs.

Reform held a roundtable, opened by Nick Gibb MP, Schools Minister, on Schools reform, in partnership with DXC Technology. This was accompanied with a blog by Claire Levens, Government Relations Lead, DXC Technology.

Reform held a conversation with Andrew Jones MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, on the future of infrastructure, supported by Prudential.

Reform held a roundtable, led by Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, on public safety, in partnership with Motorola. Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, then blogged on innovation in policing.

Reform held a panel event, featuring Philip Dunne MP, Minister of State for Health, on the future of medicine and NHS reform, supported by ABPI. Mike Thompson, Chief Executive, ABPI and Heather Blake, Director of Support and Influencing, Prostate Cancer UK, both wrote blogs.