The Week

The Year, 2018

Good year for


Digital transformation in public services continued to gain pace, with digital initiatives rolled out across healthcare, education and criminal justice.  As we enter 2019, the Government will continue to focus on the digitisation of public services, tackling cyber-security threats, promoting digital skills, maximising the value of public sector data and developing strong local leadership to scale-up innovations.

Bad year for

Public service reform

In 2018 Brexit negotiations brought public service reform to a halt. The funding settlement for adult social care did not materialise, the NHS long-term plan was further delayed, and the pace of reform in education, defence, and policing slowed. While the Prime Minister announced that the austerity years are over, important questions about the government domestic agenda and public spending post-Brexit were left to the Spending Review 2019 to answer.

Quote of the year

“Austerity is coming to an end – but discipline will remain.” Philip Hammond MP, October 2018

“Long-drawn-out arguments over Brexit and delays in reaching an agreement on our future relationship with the EU are having a serious detrimental effect on the conduct of wider domestic policy” Letter from six committee chairs to the Prime Minister, December 2018

Reformer of The Year

Baroness Tessa Jowell for submitting her health data to the universal cancer databank and explaining to others the benefits of sharing health data to support research and develop better treatments for cancer.

Reform’s week

Imogen Farhan, researcher at Reform, commented on the homelessness statistics published by the ONS, arguing for a coordinated approach to homelessness prevention, which goes beyond building more houses.

On Monday 24 December we will be publishing our first ever Reformer Thoughts. This edition brings together opinions from leading experts on ‘Blockchain in the NHS’.