Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
The good, bad and ugly of local politics 24 August 2012 The big three parties are as dominant as ever in local politics. According to the Elections Centre at Plymouth University, independents and small parties such as the Greens and the UK Independence party have been putting up more candidates and therefore securing a bigger proportion of the vote, but the first-past-the-post voting system means they get scant reward in terms of seats. In 2011, for example, the Green party received 3.6% of the vote but only 0.8% of the seats. Councillors matter to the national parties both as a barometer of support and as the foot soldiers for the general election campaign; several years of being drubbed in local elections destroys morale and means many local activists and defeated councillors simply fail to turn up to do the hard work. But apart from a little lip service, national parties routinely wreck any notion that local elections are about local issues. Take Labour leader Ed Miliband's launch of his party's local election campaign in April – he promised to protect 6,000 nurses from government cuts. National sensitivities have also narrowed the ground over which local parties can fight. Labour, desperate to shed any hint of being a "tax and spend" party, long ago reined in council tax increases among its councils, and the tax controls are now such that little room for manoeuvre remains in any case. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ NHS overseas could be good for patients 23 August 2012 The government's announcement of a renewed push to market the NHS abroad could help improve patient care in the UK – but there are risks. The Department of Health (DH) and UK Trade and Investment want more leading hospitals to follow the example of world renowned institutions such as Moorfields eye hospital and Great Ormond Street children's hospital by establishing franchises abroad. The move was welcomed with unrestrained enthusiasm by the NHS Confederation, which believes the health service could secure a slice of the estimated £2.5 trillion global healthcare industry and reinvest the money at home. But the Patients Association fears it would be a distraction from implementing the government's health reforms and finding £20bn of productivity gains. International work is not a luxury for the good times; it is key to the future of the NHS. Healthcare can mount a strong claim to be the most global of industries. New techniques spread with extraordinary speed. While technology firms and pharmaceutical companies hoard their inventions behind walls of patents, doctors and other healthcare practitioners shout their research results and clinical trials (the successful ones, at least) from the pages of peer-reviewed journals and the platforms of international symposia. This global network drives progress in the best NHS hospitals. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ The tough lessons from Winterbourne 9 August 2012 The serious case review of the Winterbourne View hospital scandal has powerful messages for commissioners and providers of care in the reformed NHS. The findings of the independent review conducted for South Gloucestershire council's adult safeguarding board are reminiscent of child abuse investigations in the 1980s and 1990s – overlapping authorities failing to spot warning signs or share evidence. Even without witnessing the abuse taking place in the hospital, there were warning signs of poor care in NHS records. For example, patients ended up in A&E on 78 occasions, but there was no alert system in place to tell clinical staff about previous visits, so any evidence of a pattern of poor care was lost. Over three years there were 29 police contacts with the hospital and they successfully prosecuted a member of staff, while the council had received 40 safeguarding alerts. NHS South of England's own investigation highlighted the absence of processes for commissioners to be told about safeguarding alerts – some commissioners were aware of concerns – and failures to follow up concerns when commissioners did become aware of them. Meanwhile strategic health authority oversight of primary care trust commissioning simply "did not work for Winterbourne View hospital patients", the serious case review concludes. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Is a Frome flash mob localism’s future? 3 August 2012 A flash mob? Soaring election turnout? Guerrilla tactics? Welcome to local democracy, Frome style. It has important lessons for other councils. Frome in Somerset is one of those west country market towns whose attractiveness to the passing visitor masks significant disparities in wealth and opportunity. In January 2011 five locals, frustrated with the town council, set up Independents for Frome. They put a letter in a local newspaper announcing a meeting in a pub and were stunned when 86 people turned up. Their leader is Mel Usher, former chief executive of South Somerset district council and the first executive director of the Improvement and Development Agency (which was an autonomous arm of the Local Government Association) from 1998 until 2002. Usher has always been known for ideas. If councils had adopted his vision for a national e-purchasing consortium, England's councils could now be several billion pounds better off. So Independents for Frome (IfF) characteristically decided to rebel against the prevailing local government orthodoxy and promised to do "more with more" through "intelligent risk- taking". Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Are junior doctors a burden or asset? 26 July 2012 Junior doctors are often more associated with increasing death rates than raising standards in the public's mind, and have seemed more tolerated than embraced. But attitudes towards this vital and substantial section of the NHS workforce are changing. As the next intake of junior doctors prepare to take their first steps on the ward in August, the General Medical Council has published its annual survey of UK doctors in postgraduate training. With more than 51,000 of the 54,000 eligible doctors responding, it could hardly be more authoritative. While there was a high degree of satisfaction with much of their training, around one in 20 raised concerns about patient safety. Acute services accounted for many of these problems, which the GMC said may indicate "some significant issues across the UK". Overall 5.4% reported receiving at least some training from someone they did not regard as competent to do so. One in seven said they were forced to cope with clinical issues beyond their abilities, and for more than 400 doctors this was a daily problem. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ True impact of spending cuts revealed 20 July 2012 Government figures published this week reveal the true impact on local government services of two years of cuts. On Wednesday, the Department for Communities and Local Government and public sector accountancy body, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, which seems to have a remarkably low profile considering the intensity of debate around the management of public money, revealed that local authority spending this year will fall below that for 2007-08. Total service expenditure by local authorities in England is estimated to fall by 4.8% this year to £94.7bn. Last year, spending fell by 5.7% to £99.5bn. Average spending for each person this year will be £1,814, a reduction of £238 a person compared with the spending peak in 2010-11 of £2,052. Planning and development has been clobbered the hardest, down almost a third last year and almost 8% this year. Highways and transport is not far behind, down 20.7% last year and another 5.9% this year – figures which need to be seen in the context of increasing damage from extreme weather and a worrying rise in road deaths after several years of decline. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Mandate balances control and freedom 12 July 2012 The publication of the government's draft mandate for the NHS is big news for managers and clinicians. It sets out the priorities for the NHS Commissioning Board for the next two years and beyond. What is in the final version and how the board delivers it will have a profound impact on the culture and practice of the new NHS. Until now the key NHS document has been the annual operating framework, the embodiment of the command and control culture which spells out the targets, priorities and rules NHS bodies must follow. The mandate is intended to be more long-term than the operating framework has been, promising stability rather than lurching from priority to priority as the political winds change. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Councils are doomed, so what do we do? 6 July 2012 We're doomed. It's official. The Local Government Association's dryly titled Funding Outlook for Councils from 2010/11 to 2019/20, launched last week, shows that eight years from now there will be little money to spend on anything apart from social care and waste. So what is to be done? The LGA paper should be read by all local government managers and politicians. It is an impressive analysis of both the prognosis for long-term funding and the implications for public policy. The response to the document by communities secretary Eric Pickles is noteworthy for what he did not say as well as what he did. In his speech to the LGA's annual conference he did not accuse the LGA of shroud-waving – the optimistic assumptions on efficiency savings and income underpinning the projections rendered such an accusation untenable. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network
July to August 2012
Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
The good, bad and ugly of local politics 24 August 2012 The big three parties are as dominant as ever in local politics. According to the Elections Centre at Plymouth University, independents and small parties such as the Greens and the UK Independence party have been putting up more candidates and therefore securing a bigger proportion of the vote, but the first-past-the-post voting system means they get scant reward in terms of seats. In 2011, for example, the Green party received 3.6% of the vote but only 0.8% of the seats. Councillors matter to the national parties both as a barometer of support and as the foot soldiers for the general election campaign; several years of being drubbed in local elections destroys morale and means many local activists and defeated councillors simply fail to turn up to do the hard work. But apart from a little lip service, national parties routinely wreck any notion that local elections are about local issues. Take Labour leader Ed Miliband's launch of his party's local election campaign in April – he promised to protect 6,000 nurses from government cuts. National sensitivities have also narrowed the ground over which local parties can fight. Labour, desperate to shed any hint of being a "tax and spend" party, long ago reined in council tax increases among its councils, and the tax controls are now such that little room for manoeuvre remains in any case. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ NHS overseas could be good for patients 23 August 2012 The government's announcement of a renewed push to market the NHS abroad could help improve patient care in the UK – but there are risks. The Department of Health (DH) and UK Trade and Investment want more leading hospitals to follow the example of world renowned institutions such as Moorfields eye hospital and Great Ormond Street children's hospital by establishing franchises abroad. The move was welcomed with unrestrained enthusiasm by the NHS Confederation, which believes the health service could secure a slice of the estimated £2.5 trillion global healthcare industry and reinvest the money at home. But the Patients Association fears it would be a distraction from implementing the government's health reforms and finding £20bn of productivity gains. International work is not a luxury for the good times; it is key to the future of the NHS. Healthcare can mount a strong claim to be the most global of industries. New techniques spread with extraordinary speed. While technology firms and pharmaceutical companies hoard their inventions behind walls of patents, doctors and other healthcare practitioners shout their research results and clinical trials (the successful ones, at least) from the pages of peer-reviewed journals and the platforms of international symposia. This global network drives progress in the best NHS hospitals. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ The tough lessons from Winterbourne 9 August 2012 The serious case review of the Winterbourne View hospital scandal has powerful messages for commissioners and providers of care in the reformed NHS. The findings of the independent review conducted for South Gloucestershire council's adult safeguarding board are reminiscent of child abuse investigations in the 1980s and 1990s – overlapping authorities failing to spot warning signs or share evidence. Even without witnessing the abuse taking place in the hospital, there were warning signs of poor care in NHS records. For example, patients ended up in A&E on 78 occasions, but there was no alert system in place to tell clinical staff about previous visits, so any evidence of a pattern of poor care was lost. Over three years there were 29 police contacts with the hospital and they successfully prosecuted a member of staff, while the council had received 40 safeguarding alerts. NHS South of England's own investigation highlighted the absence of processes for commissioners to be told about safeguarding alerts – some commissioners were aware of concerns – and failures to follow up concerns when commissioners did become aware of them. Meanwhile strategic health authority oversight of primary care trust commissioning simply "did not work for Winterbourne View hospital patients", the serious case review concludes. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Is a Frome flash mob localism’s future? 3 August 2012 A flash mob? Soaring election turnout? Guerrilla tactics? Welcome to local democracy, Frome style. It has important lessons for other councils. Frome in Somerset is one of those west country market towns whose attractiveness to the passing visitor masks significant disparities in wealth and opportunity. In January 2011 five locals, frustrated with the town council, set up Independents for Frome. They put a letter in a local newspaper announcing a meeting in a pub and were stunned when 86 people turned up. Their leader is Mel Usher, former chief executive of South Somerset district council and the first executive director of the Improvement and Development Agency (which was an autonomous arm of the Local Government Association) from 1998 until 2002. Usher has always been known for ideas. If councils had adopted his vision for a national e-purchasing consortium, England's councils could now be several billion pounds better off. So Independents for Frome (IfF) characteristically decided to rebel against the prevailing local government orthodoxy and promised to do "more with more" through "intelligent risk-taking". Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Are junior doctors a burden or asset? 26 July 2012 Junior doctors are often more associated with increasing death rates than raising standards in the public's mind, and have seemed more tolerated than embraced. But attitudes towards this vital and substantial section of the NHS workforce are changing. As the next intake of junior doctors prepare to take their first steps on the ward in August, the General Medical Council has published its annual survey of UK doctors in postgraduate training. With more than 51,000 of the 54,000 eligible doctors responding, it could hardly be more authoritative. While there was a high degree of satisfaction with much of their training, around one in 20 raised concerns about patient safety. Acute services accounted for many of these problems, which the GMC said may indicate "some significant issues across the UK". Overall 5.4% reported receiving at least some training from someone they did not regard as competent to do so. One in seven said they were forced to cope with clinical issues beyond their abilities, and for more than 400 doctors this was a daily problem. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ True impact of spending cuts revealed 20 July 2012 Government figures published this week reveal the true impact on local government services of two years of cuts. On Wednesday, the Department for Communities and Local Government and public sector accountancy body, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, which seems to have a remarkably low profile considering the intensity of debate around the management of public money, revealed that local authority spending this year will fall below that for 2007-08. Total service expenditure by local authorities in England is estimated to fall by 4.8% this year to £94.7bn. Last year, spending fell by 5.7% to £99.5bn. Average spending for each person this year will be £1,814, a reduction of £238 a person compared with the spending peak in 2010-11 of £2,052. Planning and development has been clobbered the hardest, down almost a third last year and almost 8% this year. Highways and transport is not far behind, down 20.7% last year and another 5.9% this year – figures which need to be seen in the context of increasing damage from extreme weather and a worrying rise in road deaths after several years of decline. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Mandate balances control and freedom 12 July 2012 The publication of the government's draft mandate for the NHS is big news for managers and clinicians. It sets out the priorities for the NHS Commissioning Board for the next two years and beyond. What is in the final version and how the board delivers it will have a profound impact on the culture and practice of the new NHS. Until now the key NHS document has been the annual operating framework, the embodiment of the command and control culture which spells out the targets, priorities and rules NHS bodies must follow. The mandate is intended to be more long-term than the operating framework has been, promising stability rather than lurching from priority to priority as the political winds change. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Councils are doomed, so what do we do? 6 July 2012 We're doomed. It's official. The Local Government Association's dryly titled Funding Outlook for Councils from 2010/11 to 2019/20, launched last week, shows that eight years from now there will be little money to spend on anything apart from social care and waste. So what is to be done? The LGA paper should be read by all local government managers and politicians. It is an impressive analysis of both the prognosis for long-term funding and the implications for public policy. The response to the document by communities secretary Eric Pickles is noteworthy for what he did not say as well as what he did. In his speech to the LGA's annual conference he did not accuse the LGA of shroud-waving – the optimistic assumptions on efficiency savings and income underpinning the projections rendered such an accusation untenable. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network