The Week, 4 March 2016

4 March 2016

This week the Government launched the UK’s first independent review of the State Pension age. This review will apply the important principle that the pension age has to change in line with longevity.

Hannah Titley, Researcher

Reformer of the week

HM Treasury, for the above announcement.

Reactionary of the week

The criminal justice system which, as described by the National Audit Office (NAO) on Tuesday, is failing to address long-standing inefficiencies and lacks a coherent strategy to deliver value for money.

Good week for…

Independent oversight

On Tuesday, Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Justice, guaranteed the independence of prison inspectors through a new set of rules clarifying the relationship between the Chief Inspector of Prisons and the Ministry of Justice.

Innovation in healthcare

On Tuesday, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, announced plans to create 10 NHS-supported ‘healthy new towns’. The NHS will shape the development of these sites to tackle 21st-century health and care challenges, including obesity and dementia.

Sustainable public services

On Tuesday, the Government appointed Sir John Cridland CBE to lead the UK’s first formal review of the State Pension age. The review will consider changes in life expectancy and may also take into account the number of years in paid employment.

Bad week for…

Criminal justice efficiency

On Tuesday, the NAO found that the criminal justice system is not delivering value for money. The report found that the system is inefficient because its “individual parts have strong incentives to work in ways that create cost elsewhere.”

Value for money in childcare

On Wednesday, the NAO revealed that the Department for Education cannot track the effectiveness of its £2.7 billion investment in free childcare provision. Children’s outcomes at age five have improved since investment. However, the Department cannot link this data to the quality of childcare provision.

Effective procurement

On Friday, the Public Accounts Committee warned that the Home Office’s e-Borders contract had set unrealistic objectives. The national security programme is set to cost over a billion pounds, be delivered eight years late and not provide the expected benefits.

Quotes for the week

“Delays and aborted hearings create extra work, waste scarce resources, and undermine confidence in the system. Some of the challenges are longstanding and complex — others are the results of basic avoidable mistakes. The ambitious reform programme led by the Ministry, HMCTS, CPS and Judiciary has the potential to improve value for money by providing tools to help get things right first time, but will not in itself address all of the causes of inefficiency. It is essential that the criminal justice system pulls together and takes collective responsibility for sorting out the longstanding issues.”
Amyas Morse, Comptroller and Auditor General of the NAO, commenting on the report on Tuesday

“The much-needed push to kick start affordable housing across England creates a golden opportunity for the NHS to help promote health and keep people independent. As these new neighbourhoods and towns are built, we’ll kick ourselves if in ten years time we look back having missed the opportunity to ‘design out’ the obesogenic environment, and ‘design in’ health and wellbeing.

“We want children to have places where they want to play with friends and can safely walk or cycle to school — rather than just exercising their fingers on video games. We want to see neighbourhoods and adaptable home designs that make it easier for older people to continue to live independently wherever possible. And we want new ways of providing new types of digitally-enabled local health services that share physical infrastructure and staff with schools and community groups.”
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, announcing plans to create NHS-supported healthy towns on Tuesday

”Since 2010 the Major Projects Authority has issued seven warnings about these programmes. Former and current officials were worryingly dismissive that these warnings and concerns suggested fundamental problems and said that all recommendations had been implemented. It is difficult to understand where this confidence had come from, given the lengthy delays and continual warnings of ongoing management issues, which gives us cause for concern about the future prospects for this programme which is vital to national security.”
Public Accounts Committee, reporting on the Home Office’s e-Borders programme on Friday

Reform’s Week

On Monday, Reform held a roundtable, in partnership with the Association of British Insurers, entitled ‘Decision time: what will the pensions tax relief consultation mean for savers?’ The event was led by Helen Goodman MP, member of the Treasury Select Committee, and Julian Knight MP, a former personal finance journalist. It explored different options available ahead of the Budget where the Government will conclude its consultation on pensions tax relief.

On Monday, Reform held a policy dinner, in partnership with Baxter, on how new funding models could be able to deliver patient-centred care. Professor Sir Malcolm Grant CBE, Chair of NHS England, led the discussion.

On Wednesday, Reform held a policy dinner, in partnership with Alliance Medical, looking at integration and building capacity in the community to meet the vision laid out in the Five Year Forward View. Ian Dodge, National Director for Commissioning Strategy at NHS England, led the discussion.


On Wednesday, William Mosseri-Marlio, Researcher at Reform, appeared on BBC Three Counties Radio to discuss the Government’s review of the State Pension age. He argued that increases in the retirement age must be part of the Government’s response to an ageing population.

The Reformer Blog

On Monday, Jason Hall, Vice President, Central Government and Police for BT Group, wrote a blog on the role of technology in joining up justice services. He stated that investment in agile and scalable technologies, common data standards, and learning from international best practice will be crucial.



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