The Week

The Week, 8 December 2017

This week Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health announced a Sector Deal with the life sciences sector. The deal illustrates the important role of collaboration between the NHS, charities, industry and the research community to build innovation in healthcare.

Eleonora Harwich, Head of Digital and Tech Innovation

Reformer of the week… 

Graham Allen, Director of adults’ health and care at Hampshire county council, for his innovative use of technology to tackle loneliness among the county’s older population.

Reactionary of the week…

The higher education sector, for not creating meaningful price competition and failing to create market incentives to compete for students on course quality.

Good week for…

Mental health in schools

On Sunday, the Government committed to improve mental health support in schools.

Reading and literacy

On Tuesday, England ranked joint eighth out of fifty countries in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study.

Accountability of academy trusts

On Friday, it was reported that multi-academy trusts will appear in the school performance league tables for the first time next year.

Bad week for…

Diversity in top universities

On Monday, it was reported that more needs to be done to widen participation in top universities as students from disadvantaged background still perceive them as unrealistic options.

Data in the NHS

Also on Monday, it was reported that lack of consistent data collection on incidents, claims and complaints is leading to rising clinical negligence costs.

Children’s health

On Thursday, a new study revealed a stark increase in the proportion of children in the UK who are overweight or obese.


“This Life Sciences Sector Deal demonstrates how powerful it can be to have industry, the NHS, the research community and charities all working together to provide important new insights that can lead to the discovery and implementation of novel innovations for healthcare.”

Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford, on Wednesday.

“There is no excuse for not paying staff the wages they’re entitled to and the government will come down hard on businesses that break the rules.”

Margot James MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, on Friday.

“We are deliberately thinking of higher education as a market, and as a market, it has a number of points of failure. Young people are taking out substantial loans to pay for courses without much effective help and advice, and the institutions concerned are under very little competitive pressure to provide best value. If this was a regulated financial market we would be raising the question of mis-selling. The Department is taking action to address some of these issues, but there is a lot that remains to be done.”

Amyas Morse, Head of the National Audit Office, on Friday.

Reform’s Week

Reformer Blog

On Thursday, Vasja Bočko, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Iryo, wrote a blog on the potential of blockchain in healthcare, which should not be seen as a panacea to issues of interoperability and security of data storage.


Our social mobility conference is taking place on Thursday 14 December with Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education, delivering the keynote speech. The event is now fully booked although we will be live streaming the event and live tweeting so follow @reformthinktank for live updates.

In the New Year, Reform will be hosting several events looking at artificial intelligence in healthcare, opportunities for the UK digital economy and how to build a sustainable tax base, among others. For more details, please click here.