The Week, 27 May 2016

27 May 2016

With the civil service shutting down on Friday in advance of the EU referendum, departments and agencies were in a frenetic mood this week, publishing major reports on social care quality, the health service and the criminal justice system. It was a busy week for Reform too. The Home Secretary delivered a landmark speech on fire reform, the first since gaining the portfolio from the Department for Communities and Local Government, and wrote a blog for The Reformer. Reform research on offender management services and digital patients was also well-received.

William Mosseri-Marlio, Researcher

Reformer of the week

Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary, who gave a speech to Reform calling for deeper collaboration between fire and rescue and other local services.

 

Good week for…

The Northern Powerhouse

On Tuesday, EY reported the north-west saw the largest growth in foreign direct invest investment last year.

Care quality

On Wednesday, the Care Quality Commission reported more than 12,000 people living in English care homes are receiving better quality services than two years ago.

Pension freedoms

On Thursday, the Financial Conduct Authority announced pension providers will be banned from applying exit charges on those who want to access their savings under recently introduced pension freedoms.

Bad week for…

Tax doesn’t have to be taxing

On Wednesday, the National Audit Office found the quality of service provided by HM Revenue & Customs for personal taxpayers collapsed in 2014-15.

Timely healthcare

On Thursday, the National Audit Office reported delays in acute hospital transfers have increased by 31 per cent between 2013 and 2015.

Swift and sure justice

On Friday, the Public Accounts Committee raised concerns the Government was not tackling inefficiencies in the criminal justice system with sufficient speed.

Quotes of the week

“Today’s debate is about ‘Defending Public Services’, but I am more interested in the reform of them. What was missing from this Queen’s Speech was what we were told was the guiding principle of this Parliament − productivity. Absolutely no mention was made of the kind of wealth creation and productivity we need to pay for the public services that we all rely on.”

Tristram Hunt MP, speaking in the House of Commons on Monday

“The problem is always that we have a fear in this House of the reaction to anything entitled ‘prison reform’, because it is seen to be dangerously wet. In recent decades, both parties have been subject to the fear of the right-wing tabloids every time they have looked at this subject. It is not wet; it is part of protecting people from harm in this society that everything should contribute to the reduction of crime. When people are rightly sent to prison for criminal offences, it is an achievement if most of them do not return to crime, but become honest citizens when they are released.
I think that we can get public support for these changes, so long as we emphasise the fact that at the moment 48 per cent of prisoners are convicted again − they return to crime − within 12 months of being released.”

Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP, speaking in the House of Commons on Monday

“Squeezed budgets can serve as a catalyst both for asking awkward, even existential, questions about practices and procedures, and taking a data-led approach to reviewing how services are designed and delivered. How, for example, would you plan a service if you were starting from scratch? Is there a better way to utilise existing resources?”

Steven Phillips, writing for City AM on Monday

Reform’s week

On Monday, Reform published Local commissioning, local solutions: devolving offender management. The report argues that locally designed and delivered offender management services would more effectively manage risk, develop positive offender engagement programmes, and reduce reoffending.

Following the launch, Charlotte Pickles, Deputy Director and Head of Research at Reform, wrote articles for Conservative Home and Policing Insight, arguing that the recent announcement of prison reforms should only be the first step in a more radical programme of change. The authors of the report, Kevin Lockyer and Richard Heys, wrote an article for Prospect Magazine, arguing that although prison reforms are welcome, they have to go further by devolving both prisons and probation locally.

On Tuesday, Reform hosted a landmark speech by Theresa May on fire reform. The event was covered by BBCs Radio 4’s The World at One, BBC News, The Daily Mail and The Guardian.

On Thursday, Reform published The future of public services: digital policing. The report is the third in a series, conducted in partnership with Accenture, and highlights the important role app and wearable technology will play in future healthcare provision. To mark the paper’s launch, William Mosseri-Marlio, Researcher at Reform, wrote an article for Prospect Magazine arguing the NHS should adopt a new approach to quality assuring apps and wearable devices.

The Reformer Blog

On Monday, Charlotte Pickles wrote a blog arguing that creating autonomous prisons is a welcome move, but not enough to create a step change in reoffending.

On Wednesday, Andrew Haldenby, Director at Reform, wrote a blog reflecting on the Home Secretary’s speech on fire reform and his own observations of good practice across fire services.

On Thursday, William Mosseri-Marlio wrote a blog linking the NHS’s ambition regarding patient engagement with the growth in digital health products.

Also on Thursday, David Champeaux, Managing Director of Healthcare Strategy at Accenture UK, wrote a blog highlighting some of the paradoxes of the digital patient movement, and set out three approaches to help the healthcare industry handle the flood of user-generated data.

On Friday, Theresa May wrote a blog for The Reformer, declaring her intention to deliver radical and ambitious reforms in the fire and rescue services.

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