Risky business

The following piece appeared in The Guardian on 22nd May 2013. It is banging a drum we have been beating on here repeatedly. The underspend on the Work Programme (as noted in the Select Committee’s newly published report) is a stark example of a key point we are trying to make about the relationship between … Continue reading

Endemic ‘creaming and parking’ on the Work Programme

(A version of the following piece first appeared on Guardian Comment on the 20th February 2013. In response to a recent research report, the piece returns to themes we have covered before regarding fundamental design flaws in the Work Programme contracts and procurement.) The Third Sector Research Council (TSRC), part-funded by the Cabinet Office, have … Continue reading

Built to Scale

This article first appeared on http://www.guerillapolicy.org Guerilla Policy is an independent social policy think tank that seeks to develop ways for public service practitioners and service users to conduct research and policy analysis. The argument for the benefits of user and staff involvement in policy making is considerably strengthened by numerous example of projects that … Continue reading

Buying a horse-drawn cart for the West Coast Main Line

It was a brave decision to terminate the franchising of the West Coast Main Line and is indicative of the integrity of our civil service. It is wrong to heap responsibility on the heads of three officials (now suspended from the Department for Transport), who were probably following, with utmost professionalism, a clear process. This … Continue reading

A new contracting language

Contracts across outsourced public services are generally evaluated on the basis of price and quality. This drives a limited and limiting approach from contractor and procurer. Adopting the language used to evaluate examinations could open up service design, facilitate more informed and holistic contract awarding, and enable ongoing service improvement – subsuming considerations of price … Continue reading