The Week, 11 December 2015

11 December 2015

This week the Home Secretary rightly argued that budget protection does not end the need for police reform. The Spending Review’s decisions to protect several departmental budgets did, however, send a message that the focus on delivering more for less has passed. Ministers in other ring-fenced departments — defence, health and international development — should also restate the case for reform.

Leo Ewbank, Researcher

Reformer of the week

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, who on Wednesday made a speech clearly stating that police reform must continue regardless of the Government’s decision to protect police spending.

Reactionary of the week

HM Government for delaying the decision on how to increase airport capacity in the south east of England until at least next summer.

Good week for…

Healthy old age

On Wednesday, a study showed that the proportion of life people are likely to spend in good health is increasing.

Prison reform

On Thursday, The Times reported that Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Justice, is planning a raft of reforms including offering prisons more autonomy over education and training and allowing prisoners to work in the community during their sentence.

Supply of council housing

Also on Thursday, amendments tabled to the Housing and Planning Bill indicated that the Government intends to phase out lifetime tenancies for council houses. New tenancies will instead be made for a fixed term.

Bad week for…

Procurement targets

On Saturday, data showed that the value of Government spend with SMEs grew one percentage point in 2014-15. This suggests the Government’s target of one third of public procurement spending going to SMEs may be difficult to achieve.

Effective regulation

On Friday, the Public Accounts Committee published a report on the health service regulator, the Care Quality Commission, in which it concluded the CQC, “is not yet an effective regulator of health and social care”.

The police funding formula

Also on Friday, the Home Affairs Select Committee published a report which found the current funding formula is “out-of-date” and “not fit for purpose”.

Quotes of the week

“…Neither I, nor the public, will have any sympathy for those who complain about budget cuts — as some of you have continued to do in the past couple of weeks. Because as I said two weeks before the Spending Review, it is not in spite of the need to find savings that we have been able to reform policing, but because of them. And to those who think the Spending Review gives you breathing space to relax the reforms we started five years ago, you could not be more wrong.”

Theresa May, Home Secretary, speaking on Tuesday at the Police Reform Summit

“This has gone on for half a century and it is not in the interests of most British people to keep delaying it. It always looks easier a little further in the future and it never is. The economic argument favours Heathrow. If the political argument cannot be won then make a decision and go for Gatwick, the second best option but perfectly viable. But make a decision fast, because it is once again nearly too late.”

William Hague, former Foreign Secretary, writing in The Telegraph on Tuesday

“…There is immense potential for doing things better… We have to improve the allocative efficiency of the system by providing the right care in the right place at the right time. This can be achieved through a mixture of prevention activities — targeting, for instance, the rise of obesity and diabetes — and better commissioning of services as well as through new, innovative models of care provision, the vanguards.”

Lord Prior of Brampton, Minister for NHS Productivity, writing in the Health Service Journal on Wednesday

Reform’s week

On Monday, Reform hosted a roundtable with Samantha Jones, Director of New Models of Care at NHS England, to discuss the role of pharmacy in a devolved NHS.

On Tuesday, Charlotte Pickles, Senior Research Director at Reform, appeared on BBC Breakfast arguing that the dramatic reduction in stop and search has contributed to the rise in stabbings.

On Thursday, Reform published its latest research paper Employment and Support Allowance: the case for change. This is the first of three research papers Reform will publish on disability benefits. It makes the case for reform of sickness and disability benefits, highlighting the trend of poor employment outcomes for out-of-work disabled people in the UK.

Also on Thursday, Hannah Titley, Researcher at Reform, wrote an article for Conservative Home outlining the need for reform of sickness and disability benefits in the UK.

The Reformer blog

On Monday, Andrew Haldenby, Director at Reform, appeared in a video blog in which he outlined the work of Reform over the past month and said that the 2015 Spending Review was more about public spending than reform.

On Tuesday, Alexander Hitchcock, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog detailing the Government’s spending on procurement from small and medium-sized enterprises, and arguing for greater competition and transparency in public-sector procurement markets.

On Wednesday, Elizabeth Crowhurst, Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog setting out the major challenges to realising the benefits of the “Transforming Rehabilitation” programme.

On Thursday, Ed Holmes, Senior Researcher at Reform, wrote a blog stating the need for reform of sickness and disability benefits in the UK. He also appeared in a video blog in which he outlined the key points of Reform’s new paper on Employment and Support Allowance.



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