The Week

The Week, 9 February 2018

This week, giving evidence to the House of Commons Liaison Committee, John Manzoni said he “was passionate about rebuilding the appropriate levels of expertise back into Government” to enable an “intelligent conversation” about commissioning public services from private sector companies.

Jim Boyd, Deputy Director and Head of Research, Reform

Reformer of the week

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has been the focus of media attention this week as he fights to push through his economic reforms including introducing a flat rate on capital gains, dividends and interests, a long-standing demand from investors and entrepreneurs.

Reactionary of the week

John McDonnell MP will reportedly pledge today that a Labour government would help local councils bring public services in-house. In 2008, DeAnne Julius’ review of the outsourcing industry found that the introduction of competition had reduced prices by 10-30 per cent without impacting quality.

Good week for…


On Monday, it was reported that DeepMind had submitted findings to a medical journal after ‘promising signs’ from a 2-year partnership with London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital on AI for spotting eye diseases from scans.

Taylor Review

On Wednesday, the government responded to the Taylor Review of modern working practices by announcing reforms to “address the challenges of the changing world of work in the modern economy.”

Vulnerable people and communities

Also on Wednesday, Public Health England published a review providing a comprehensive picture of ways health organisations and police forces are collaborating to improve public safety, reduce crime and improve health outcomes. This includes examples of best practice in early intervention and mental health.

Bad week for…

Unmet care needs

On Thursday, the NAO reported that the number of people working in care is not meeting the country’s growing care demands and unmet care needs are increasing.

Hip fracture patients

Today it was reported that hip fracture patients face up to 80-day’s wait for rehabilitation, according to a survey from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, increasing the pressure on over-crowded hospitals.

Quotes of the Week

“The British NHS rations by congestion, delay and bad publicity. It may be that taxpayers should go on paying more for it, but there should be no taxation without reformation.”

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian on Tuesday.

“Mr Trump was wrong to single out the NHS as though it is a unique example of a universal health service. Many countries have them; and they are better than the American system which leaves so many people out in the cold. But it would work so much better if we were prepared to adopt more systemically the best practices from around the world and even from with the NHS itself.”

The Daily Telegraph View—“Our national pride in the NHS shouldn’t make us blind to its issues” on Wednesday.

“There is no evidence that the Department is exercising oversight over local authorities and local health and care partnerships for their responsibilities relating to the adult social care workforce. As a result, the actions taken by the Department in its oversight role have not demonstrably improved the sustainability of the workforce and so have not achieved value for money. The Department needs to address this challenge urgently and give the care workforce the attention it requires, so that the sector has the right people to provide consistently safe and high-quality care.”

National Audit Office on Thursday.

Reform’s Week

The Reformer Blog

On Tuesday, James Slessor, Global Managing Director – Public Safety at Accenture, wrote a blog arguing that “responsible AI” offers great benefits for public safety.

On Wednesday, Luke Heselwood, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog on the potential of digital technology for the UK’s rail network.


Reform’s report Thinking on its own: AI in the NHS was covered by Digital Health Legal and DigiTimes.


On 21 FebruaryReform will host a roundtable, led by Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to discuss how technology can transform public transport. This event is in partnership with BAI Communications.