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

Selling tomorrow

In her last post, Jane talked about how an exclusive focus on cost in the reform of public services is to the detriment of the value of those services. Far from delivering ‘value for money’, a blinkered focus on short-term ‘savings’, and consequent loss of value, may ultimately drive up long-term cost. In the last … 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

The Council Catch 22

As the rioters circle parliament in Athens and national strikes bring Italy, Spain and Portugal to a standstill, the same glaring gap exists in Europe as Jane identified in her blog’s recent challenge to the US presidential candidates.  Belt-tightening may well be necessary, but where is the plan for jobs? Commissioning may hold the key. … Continue reading

Where’s the plan?

It is the half way point in the debate season and commentary on what was said, what should have been said and how much people care about what has been said is flowing thick and fast. Glaring by its absence in either the first presidential or the vice-presidential debate is a plan for jobs. Unemployment … Continue reading

Out of work but not unemployed – storing up the cost of future US unemployment

Friday 4th May saw the publication of April’s employment figures for the US. They show a slight, but welcome, decline in unemployment, from 8.2% to 8.1%[1], which is the lowest rate for three years, as well as jobs growth for the 26th month in a row. These represent a marked difference to similar measures in … Continue reading