The Week, 7 March 2017

7 April 2017

This week, the Justice Select Committee published a report on empowering prison governors, measuring prison performance and enabling successful commissioning. The report quoted Reform research on the topic, and echoed themes at our annual criminal justice conference last week.

Emilie Sundorph, Researcher

Reformer of the week…

The Justice Select Committee, for focusing on the issues above.

Reactionary of the week…

The Opposition, for proposing to allocate a suggested tax revenue from VAT on independent school fees to universal free school meals, instead of targeting any additional funding at the most disadvantaged pupils.

Good week for…

Women’s history

On Sunday, the Government announced that Millicent Fawcett will be the first woman to be commemorated with a statue in Parliament Square.

National well-being

On Thursday, the Office for National Statistics published annual well-being statistics, which have improved on 15 indicators since last year, and only deteriorated on two.

Radical suggestions for social care reform

On Thursday, Sir Andrew Dilnot suggested that pensioner benefits can be reduced to provide funding for the social care system.

Bad week for…

A long-term strategy

On Wednesday, The House of Lords Select Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS concluded that a culture of short-termism seems to prevail in the NHS and adult social care.

Organisations with gender pay gaps

On Thursday, the Government’s requirement for employers of more than 250 people to report their gender pay gaps came into force.

Equality in prison

On Sunday, a report concluded that procedures for investigating discrimination allegations in prisons are not meeting the duties of the 2010 Equality Act.

Quotes of the Week

“It shames us all that children go to school hungry. But wasting money that could have fed them is nothing to be proud of either, which is why evidence matters. What cast-iron proof is there that free school meals for kids—even if they don’t need them—works better than less eye-catching targeted solutions, such as breakfast clubs, schemes that feed kids through the holidays when school meals stop, or automatically linking benefits to the free school meals system to scoop up parents who are entitled but don’t claim?”

Gaby Hinsliff, in The Guardian on Thursday

“Local government, for example, is ripe for renewal. It is often seen by voters as stagnant and irrelevant. In reality, councillors can often do more than MPs to effect change in people’s day-to-day lives. This misperception may be about to change. Next month, directly elected mayors will be voted into office for the first time, representing some of the country’s most significant regions. In Liverpool, Manchester and the West Midlands, the mayors will run combined local authorities with expanded spending powers. The election of these “metro mayors” is a chance to strengthen voters’ relationship with government.”

Financial Times leader on Sunday

“There is a worrying absence of a credible strategy to encourage the uptake of innovation and technology at scale across the NHS. It is not clear who is ultimately responsible for driving innovation and ensuring consistency in the assessment and the adoption of new technological approaches. The provision of appropriate training and development of strong leaders to support this agenda within the NHS will be critical to its success.”

The Long-term Sustainability of the NHS and Adult Social Care, published by The House of Lords Select Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS on Wednesday

Reform’s Week



Reform is delighted that Chris Skidmore MP, Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, is giving a major speech on tackling fraud and error in the public sector on the 11 May 2017. For more information, please click here.

If you wish to attend, please register your interest with


On Monday, Eleonora Harwich, Researcher, and Alexander Hitchcock, Senior Researcher at Reform, wrote an article in Pharmafocus discussing the increasing importance of big data in the future healthcare industry.

On Friday, Eleonora Harwich, Researcher at Reform, was quoted in the Justice Committee’s Twelfth Report of Session 2016-17 on prison reform.


On Monday, Reform published a number of blogs that were first featured in the brochure for our criminal justice conference:

  • Ian Blakeman, Executive Governor of Tees and Wear Reform Prisons, wrote on the changes happening in his prisons to support stronger and safer communities.
  • Joanne Drew, Director of Housing at Narco, wrote on how we can improve housing prospects for offenders.
  • Gary Monaghan, Digital Prisons Lead, argued that better access and use of technology is essential to greater security, order, control and rehabilitation.
  • Jerry Petherick, Managing Director of Custodial and Detention Services, G4S, wrote on how taking a whole family approach to successful rehabilitation needs to be at the heart of prison life.

On Monday, Charlotte Pickles, Deputy Director and Head of Research at Reform, argued that critics of the controversial reduction in the rate paid to someone in the Work Related Activity Group should instead focus on improving the quality of employment services.

Also on Monday, Andrew Haldenby, Director of Reform, wrote about some major events taking place in health and education reform, which were overshadowed by Brexit.

On Thursday, Louis Coiffait, Head of Education at Reform, argued that a reasonable debate about school funding would be an opportunity for the Department of Education and schools to ask what can be done differently to achieve better outcomes with fewer resources.

On Friday, Emilie Sundorph, Researcher at Reform, argued that efforts to improve the prison service should also look to improve the wellbeing of children affected by parental imprisonment.



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