LATEST ARTICLES
CV
Are Pickles’ pilots worth the hype? 23 December 2011 Having single-handedly almost derailed months of delicate negotiations to reform the local government pension scheme with one crassly worded letter, communities secretary Eric Pickles must have been relieved to return to the safer ground of community budgets. Confirmation that there will be four "whole place" pilot areas is another move in the right direction following the announcement that 12 major cities will be negotiating individual deals for more powers. One of the declared intentions of the pilot project is to accelerate work to reduce residents' dependency on the state, but for councils it is just as much about reducing their own dependency on central government. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Cowardice betrays social care reform 16 December 2011 There have been a clutch of reports in the last fortnight exposing the stresses in the adult care system, culminating in the revelation that the government is running away from funding reform. Two weeks ago the Audit Commission report, Joining Up Health and Social Care, claimed that over £132m was wasted each year as poor coordination between the two services led to avoidable hospital admissions, which drove up costs in the care system as well. The commission's interpretation of the data is conservative; much bigger gains are possible through preventative work to keep older people living independently. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ The real impact of NHS cash squeeze 12 December 2011 Drastic reform of clinical services is the only way the NHS can avoid being overwhelmed by falls in real funding and rising demand. According to the Department of Health, this means finding £20bn (€23bn; $31bn) of productivity gains by 2015. What became known as the Nicholson challenge was first articulated in the 2008-9 annual report of NHS chief executive, David Nicholson. It was already clear that the banking crisis would trigger sharp cuts in public spending, and Sir David knew he had to get the NHS to confront the reality that it would have to make huge changes to the way it worked if it was to avoid its second financial crisis in a decade and cope with rising demand from an ageing population. Read the full article at the British Medical Journal ____________________________________________________________________ City powers are a rare moment of hope 9 December 2011 Local government had momentary respite from the economic gloom with the announcement by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, of the powers ministers are prepared to hand over to cities to help them drive economic growth. As anticipated, the government is to negotiate individual deals with the eight largest regional cities to cede powers on transport, regeneration, skills and economic development. The opportunity for the eight cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – to negotiate powers is enshrined in the Localism Act and is aimed squarely at driving economic growth, so many of the new freedoms would go to the local economic partnership. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Chancellor piles on more years of agony 2 December 2011 It is a measure of the darkness of the long economic night we are now in that the prospect of a further cut in local government funding as a result of the new pay squeeze was not the worst news for councils in the autumn statement. Instead, it was the prospect of at least two more years of cuts after the next general election and a realisation that, for people across the country, there is no end in sight to the reduction in funding. True, there was a little good news in the announcement of extra capital investment for schools and local transport, but that does nothing to alter the overall picture. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Councils risk sidelining in post-riot panic 25 November 2011 In the moral panic which swept the political classes after the August riots, former Bullingdon Club gang member David Cameron identified the collapse of families as the underlying cause, and promised to turn round the lives of the 120,000 "most troubled families" within the lifetime of this parliament. Gordon Brown and Tony Blair previously made grandiose promises to tackle such families, without any obvious success. The tone of the government's approach to this issue was set the previous December when the prime minister appointed social entrepreneur Emma Harrison, chairman of firm A4E, to get families off benefits and into work with her Working Families Everywhere programme. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Financial stability comes at heavy price 18 November 2011 Tough Times, the Audit Commission's assessment of the impact of council spending cuts, provides convincing evidence that local government is coping well both politically and strategically. Plans are being put together to balance budgets while protecting vital services where possible, and politicians are driving them through. Local government is certainly coping better than the NHS, which is finding it much harder to deliver a far more benign financial settlement, or the Ministry of Defence, which according to the National Audit Office has pulled off the impressive feat of driving up costs on 15 of its biggest projects by £466m through cuts in spending. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ May’s attack shows management perils 11 November 2011 Two incidents in the last few days have demonstrated the perils that can face senior public sector managers from their two masters – the public and politicians. The first was the cowardly and unprincipled decision of home secretary Theresa May to wreck the career of one of her senior staff by naming and blaming him for the relaxation of border controls, knowing the civil service code denied him a right of reply. He has had to resign to defend his name. The other is a campaign by the Taxpayers' Alliance to get the salary of Bath and North-east Somerset council's chief executive cut. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ LGA in danger of becoming a regulator 4 November 2011 The news that the Local Government Association is considering setting minimum performance standards for membership throws into relief both the role of the LGA and the monitoring and control of councils once the Audit Commission is finally abolished. According to the Local Government Chronicle, talk has been revived at the LGA of expelling councils that persist in failing to address serious problems. Last year the association's Liberal Democrat group leader, Richard Kemp, publicly called for Doncaster to be expelled from the association for failing to take up repeated offers of help. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network Localism bill does little to shift power 28 October 2011 After almost 10 months edging its way through parliament the localism bill is on the brink of royal assent. Has it been worth the effort? Among its 487 pages are provisions rolling back some of the key local government innovations introduced under Tony Blair. Local government traditionalists – particularly long-standing backbench councillors who never forgave Blair for introducing council cabinets – will rejoice at the freedom to reintroduce the committee system. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ The chasm between councils and NHS 26 October 2011 Despite being 18 months away from taking over responsibility for public health, local government has already had its first clash with the NHS. It illustrates the cultural chasm the two will have to bridge if they are to make their new relationship a success. The spat with the NHS leadership at the Department of Health is over how much money the NHS will hand over locally for the public health budgets. Chief executive Sir David Nicholson asked councils to sign off their local primary care trust’s calculation of how much money should be transferred. Most have responded by deluging the DH with objections and concerns. Read the full article at the British Medical Journal ____________________________________________________________________ Political noise or democratic music? 21 October 2011 Is local democracy in crisis? This question posed at the recent summit of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers certainly stirred a lively debate on the local government network this week. As local power becomes more dispersed, the paltry turnout in many elections undermines local government's ability to lead its communities. As local politics starts to play a bigger role in the NHS, how long will it be before a GP tries to win an argument by claiming to have more patients than the councillor has votes? Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Growth comes locally, not in Whitehall 14 October 2011 Council chief executives are pushing for local government to be at the forefront of the public sectors' response to the economic crisis. They have been meeting in Edinburgh this week for the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers’ annual summit… At the end of the summit, the society published a communiqué setting out local government's role in "rebooting" the economy, based on a myriad insights and ideas from its members. I worked with the Solace team to draft it. The economy was centre-stage. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Exploiting digital for transformation 14 October 2011 Local government managers too often fall into the trap of describing efficiency gains and incremental improvement as "innovation" and "transformation". At the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers' summit in Edinburgh this week, delegates decided it was time for some linguistic honesty. Doing things a bit better is not transforming them. Read the full article on the Guardian public leaders’ network ____________________________________________________________________ What councils could learn from Jobs 7 October 2011 Steve Jobs's genius was to offer us products we didn't know we wanted, and design them not just to function well but to be a joy to use. Designing exceptional services means not just doing what your customers ask you to do, but developing deep insights into their lives so you can meet their needs in ways they would never have imagined. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Why hospital is no place for the elderly 3 October 2011 The debate over whether relatives of elderly hospital patients should be encouraged to help care for them is missing the point. The question is: does the patient need to be in hospital in the first place? Too many elderly people are admitted to hospital for the convenience of the NHS rather than their own health or quality of life, kept there too long, poorly cared for while they are there and discharged having lost their confidence and continence. Read the full article at the Huffington Post ____________________________________________________________________
October to December 2011
Public Policy Media Richard Vize
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
Are Pickles’ pilots worth the hype? 23 December 2011 Having single-handedly almost derailed months of delicate negotiations to reform the local government pension scheme with one crassly worded letter, communities secretary Eric Pickles must have been relieved to return to the safer ground of community budgets. Confirmation that there will be four "whole place" pilot areas is another move in the right direction following the announcement that 12 major cities will be negotiating individual deals for more powers. One of the declared intentions of the pilot project is to accelerate work to reduce residents' dependency on the state, but for councils it is just as much about reducing their own dependency on central government. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Cowardice betrays social care reform 16 December 2011 There have been a clutch of reports in the last fortnight exposing the stresses in the adult care system, culminating in the revelation that the government is running away from funding reform. Two weeks ago the Audit Commission report, Joining Up Health and Social Care, claimed that over £132m was wasted each year as poor coordination between the two services led to avoidable hospital admissions, which drove up costs in the care system as well. The commission's interpretation of the data is conservative; much bigger gains are possible through preventative work to keep older people living independently. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ The real impact of NHS cash squeeze 12 December 2011 Drastic reform of clinical services is the only way the NHS can avoid being overwhelmed by falls in real funding and rising demand. According to the Department of Health, this means finding £20bn (€23bn; $31bn) of productivity gains by 2015. What became known as the Nicholson challenge was first articulated in the 2008-9 annual report of NHS chief executive, David Nicholson. It was already clear that the banking crisis would trigger sharp cuts in public spending, and Sir David knew he had to get the NHS to confront the reality that it would have to make huge changes to the way it worked if it was to avoid its second financial crisis in a decade and cope with rising demand from an ageing population. Read the full article at the British Medical Journal ____________________________________________________________________ City powers are a rare moment of hope 9 December 2011 Local government had momentary respite from the economic gloom with the announcement by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, of the powers ministers are prepared to hand over to cities to help them drive economic growth. As anticipated, the government is to negotiate individual deals with the eight largest regional cities to cede powers on transport, regeneration, skills and economic development. The opportunity for the eight cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – to negotiate powers is enshrined in the Localism Act and is aimed squarely at driving economic growth, so many of the new freedoms would go to the local economic partnership. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Chancellor piles on more years of agony 2 December 2011 It is a measure of the darkness of the long economic night we are now in that the prospect of a further cut in local government funding as a result of the new pay squeeze was not the worst news for councils in the autumn statement. Instead, it was the prospect of at least two more years of cuts after the next general election and a realisation that, for people across the country, there is no end in sight to the reduction in funding. True, there was a little good news in the announcement of extra capital investment for schools and local transport, but that does nothing to alter the overall picture. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Councils risk sidelining in post- riot panic 25 November 2011 In the moral panic which swept the political classes after the August riots, former Bullingdon Club gang member David Cameron identified the collapse of families as the underlying cause, and promised to turn round the lives of the 120,000 "most troubled families" within the lifetime of this parliament. Gordon Brown and Tony Blair previously made grandiose promises to tackle such families, without any obvious success. The tone of the government's approach to this issue was set the previous December when the prime minister appointed social entrepreneur Emma Harrison, chairman of firm A4E, to get families off benefits and into work with her Working Families Everywhere programme. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Financial stability comes at heavy price 18 November 2011 Tough Times, the Audit Commission's assessment of the impact of council spending cuts, provides convincing evidence that local government is coping well both politically and strategically. Plans are being put together to balance budgets while protecting vital services where possible, and politicians are driving them through. Local government is certainly coping better than the NHS, which is finding it much harder to deliver a far more benign financial settlement, or the Ministry of Defence, which according to the National Audit Office has pulled off the impressive feat of driving up costs on 15 of its biggest projects by £466m through cuts in spending. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ May’s attack shows management perils 11 November 2011 Two incidents in the last few days have demonstrated the perils that can face senior public sector managers from their two masters – the public and politicians. The first was the cowardly and unprincipled decision of home secretary Theresa May to wreck the career of one of her senior staff by naming and blaming him for the relaxation of border controls, knowing the civil service code denied him a right of reply. He has had to resign to defend his name. The other is a campaign by the Taxpayers' Alliance to get the salary of Bath and North-east Somerset council's chief executive cut. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ LGA in danger of becoming a regulator 4 November 2011 The news that the Local Government Association is considering setting minimum performance standards for membership throws into relief both the role of the LGA and the monitoring and control of councils once the Audit Commission is finally abolished. According to the Local Government Chronicle, talk has been revived at the LGA of expelling councils that persist in failing to address serious problems. Last year the association's Liberal Democrat group leader, Richard Kemp, publicly called for Doncaster to be expelled from the association for failing to take up repeated offers of help. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network Localism bill does little to shift power 28 October 2011 After almost 10 months edging its way through parliament the localism bill is on the brink of royal assent. Has it been worth the effort? Among its 487 pages are provisions rolling back some of the key local government innovations introduced under Tony Blair. Local government traditionalists – particularly long- standing backbench councillors who never forgave Blair for introducing council cabinets – will rejoice at the freedom to reintroduce the committee system. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ The chasm between councils and NHS 26 October 2011 Despite being 18 months away from taking over responsibility for public health, local government has already had its first clash with the NHS. It illustrates the cultural chasm the two will have to bridge if they are to make their new relationship a success. The spat with the NHS leadership at the Department of Health is over how much money the NHS will hand over locally for the public health budgets. Chief executive Sir David Nicholson asked councils to sign off their local primary care trust’s calculation of how much money should be transferred. Most have responded by deluging the DH with objections and concerns. Read the full article at the British Medical Journal ____________________________________________________________________ Political noise or democratic music? 21 October 2011 Is local democracy in crisis? This question posed at the recent summit of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers certainly stirred a lively debate on the local government network this week. As local power becomes more dispersed, the paltry turnout in many elections undermines local government's ability to lead its communities. As local politics starts to play a bigger role in the NHS, how long will it be before a GP tries to win an argument by claiming to have more patients than the councillor has votes? Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Growth comes locally, not in Whitehall 14 October 2011 Council chief executives are pushing for local government to be at the forefront of the public sectors' response to the economic crisis. They have been meeting in Edinburgh this week for the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers’ annual summit… At the end of the summit, the society published a communiqué setting out local government's role in "rebooting" the economy, based on a myriad insights and ideas from its members. I worked with the Solace team to draft it. The economy was centre-stage. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Exploiting digital for transformation 14 October 2011 Local government managers too often fall into the trap of describing efficiency gains and incremental improvement as "innovation" and "transformation". At the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers' summit in Edinburgh this week, delegates decided it was time for some linguistic honesty. Doing things a bit better is not transforming them. Read the full article on the Guardian public leaders’ network ____________________________________________________________________ What councils could learn from Jobs 7 October 2011 Steve Jobs's genius was to offer us products we didn't know we wanted, and design them not just to function well but to be a joy to use. Designing exceptional services means not just doing what your customers ask you to do, but developing deep insights into their lives so you can meet their needs in ways they would never have imagined. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Why hospital is no place for the elderly 3 October 2011 The debate over whether relatives of elderly hospital patients should be encouraged to help care for them is missing the point. The question is: does the patient need to be in hospital in the first place? Too many elderly people are admitted to hospital for the convenience of the NHS rather than their own health or quality of life, kept there too long, poorly cared for while they are there and discharged having lost their confidence and continence. Read the full article at the Huffington Post ____________________________________________________________________
Public Policy Media Richard Vize