The Week, 18 November 2016

18 November 2016

On Thursday, Michael Gove echoed Liz Truss’ recent Reform speech in calling on the Government to do better in collecting data and evidence on prison performanc and to, “if necessary, change course as a result of what the data shows.”

Andrew Haldenby, Director

Reformers of the week

Liz Truss and Michael Gove. The current and former Secretaries of State for Justice both argued against the prison status quo this week.

Reactionary of the week

The POA, whose members returned to negotiation after an unlawful strike on Tuesday.


Good week for

Parliamentary scrutiny

On Tuesday, the FT reported that, by mid-2017, MPs will gain the chance to debate and vote on the NHS budget, followed by those of other departments.

NHS reform I…

On Saturday, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that a UK pilot study of personal health budgets had saved £3,100 per patient, on average, for those with higher levels of need. Patients and caregivers had enjoyed improved quality of life.

… and II

On Friday, the Times reported that a trial video link between care home residents and nurses in Yorkshire had reduced ambulance callouts by about 30 per cent and GP referrals by around 40 per cent.

Bad week for

Commissioning and procurement I…

On Monday, the Public Accounts Committee found that the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Clinical Commissioning Group’s management of a contract for community services had been substandard: “The procurement exercise was undermined from the start by poor commercial expertise, a lack of realistic pricing, and weak oversight.”

… and II

… and on Tuesday, the National Audit Office came to a similar conclusion in regard to the Ministry of Defence’s organisation of a contract to manage its estate and infrastructure: “Roles and responsibilities are unclear, governance arrangements are confused and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation still does not have the skills and capabilities it needs.”

The status quo in criminal justice

On Thursday, Michael Gove supported Liz Truss’ prison reforms and called for further devolution of criminal justice decision-making covering policing, probation, courts and local government.

Quotes of the week

“Patients with personal budgets used fewer acute care services than their counterparts, instead increasing their personal expenditures on such social and well-being services as help from more flexible support workers, information technology, mobility equipment, physical activities, leisure, training and education. The evaluation was not designed to explain the observed relative reduction in acute care use, but the evaluators speculated that it might be attributable to a change in the mix of services and to patients’ increased control over their use.”

Report in the New England Journal of Medicine on Saturday.

“The lack of business sense on the part of the NHS ‘would embarrass a child in a sweet shop’, said Meg Hillier, the chair of the committee, adding that there had been ‘serious consequences’ from the failure. ‘It beggars belief that a contract of such vital importance to patients should be handled with such incompetence.’”

Meg Hillier, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, quoted in the FT on Wednesday

“If we give local areas a specific police, crime and justice budget and allow them to divide it as appropriate between community policing, youth services, social work, youth offending teams, probation, community sentencing, courts and custody then we could see communities make mature decisions about spending more on effective crime prevention measures that would reduce the need for expensive provision of more and more prison places.”

Michael Gove, speaking on Thursday

Reform’s Week


On Wednesday, Reform held a major conference ‘A welfare state that works for all’, at which the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, gave the keynote speech.

On Thursday, Reform published four blogs by speakers in the conference panel “Social Security in a changing labour market: big challenges, big opportunities”.

Charlotte Pickles Deputy Director and Head of Research at Reform

Jeremy Moore, Director General, Strategy, Policy and Analysis, Department for Work and Pensions

Iain Gravestock, Head of Human Services, KPMG

Will Tuckley, Chief Executive, Tower Hamlets Council

On Friday, Reform published four blogs by speakers in the conference panel “Digital welfare: transformation through technology”.

William Mosseri-Marlio, Researcher at Reform

Neil Couling, Director General for the Universal Credit Programme, Department for Work and Pensions

Dr Tiina Likki, Senior Advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team

Bea Karol Burks, Director of Delivery, Tinder Foundation


The Financial Times, The Independent, the Belfast Telegraph, The Mirror and The Guardian reported on the welfare conference.

The Reformer Blog

On Monday, Emilie Sundorph, Researcher at Reform, argued that increasing autonomy and teacher job satisfaction will help close the attainment gap more efficiently than allocating teachers with high qualifications to underperforming schools.

On Monday, Andrew Haldenby, Director at Reform, suggested that the NHS is in need of a “top down structural reorganization”.

On Tuesday, Elaine Fischer, Research Assistant at Reform, proposed possible solutions to cut social care costs, inspired by Dutch private care provider Buurtzorg.

Coming Weeks

On Wednesday, Reform is hosting a policy dinner on the theme of “challenges and opportunities for growth after Brexit” led by Crispin Blunt MP, Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.



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