Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
The private sector role in innovation 29 July 2013 Innovation and the transformation are much abused words in the public sector. While councils frequently talk about “transforming” services, more often than not they are really talking about making things a little better and a little more efficient. But with some councils expecting to be as much as 40% smaller in 2018 than they were in 2010, true innovation – radically different solutions to existing problems and demands – is becoming essential. Think tank the New Local Government Network, in its study The shock of the new: can councils innovate their way out of austerity?, shows that councils see innovation as the alternative to relentless attrition, but are finding it difficult to do. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Confusion reigns over urgent care 25 July 2013 Who is in charge? Hidden among the predictable dissection of urgent and emergency care woes in the health select committee report, published on Wednesday, are serious concerns about whether the myriad of new NHS bodies are capable of sorting the problems out. Few people would look at the new NHS structure – which bears more than a passing resemblance to the piping diagram for a gas works – and conclude that what the NHS needs is yet more organisations. But that was indeed what NHS England decided when faced with growing problems in A&E. Ignoring the primacy of clinical commissioning groups, it imposed urgent care boards across the country, under the auspices of its local area teams, charged with rapidly producing plans to sort out A&E. But it then seemed to lose its nerve. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Making public service markets work 19 July 2013 More than 40 years after the market began to play a prominent role in public services, there is still far too little understanding among those who design and implement market-based policies of how to ensure they succeed. Making public services markets work, the study published by the Institute or Government last week, aims to help fill this void. It examined the Work Programme, secondary education, care for older people and probation services. It uncovered significant weaknesses. Opportunities for users to make informed choices were limited, while providers gamed the system to maximise profits – failing to care properly for social care clients with complex needs while creaming off those who were cheapest to serve. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Gove’s flawed solution for Doncaster 19 July 2013 The education secretary's decision to strip Doncaster council of its children's services is a turning point in relations between central and local government in the leadership of child protection. On Tuesday, Michael Gove ordered that all the council's children's services apart from education be run by an independent trust for at least five years. This means that, from next April, the secretary of state will be responsible for the safety of Doncaster children. The decision follows the recommendations of a government commissioned review led by professor Julian Le Grand. It is, as the report acknowledges, a major development in children's services. The government was not short of excuses to intervene in Doncaster, where local people have endured more than six years of failed attempts at sustained improvement, punctuated by a long line of inspections and reviews and frequent changes in senior staff. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ UK’s wasteful procurement costs 15 July 2013 An investigation by the Centre for Economic and Business Research has exposed the excessive cost of UK procurement, compared with Europe. The research put the size of UK public sector procurement in 2011 at £230 billion. The average cost of a competitive public sector bidding process was almost double that in the EU – £45,200 compared with an EU average of £23,900. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ When will Hunt fall through the ice? 11 July 2013 So far, Jeremy Hunt has been skating over the NHS ice with the practised ease of an impressive communicator. When will he fall through? In the wake of the Francis inquiry, the health secretary has shrewdly positioned himself as the patients' champion against the vested interests of the healthcare system. He moves quickly to condemn failure, even if, as in the case of the Care Quality Commission's recent convulsions over the Morecambe Bay maternity failures, he is not in possession of all the facts. (The unravelling of the Grant Thornton report into the CQC's supposed cover-up means there is now the prospect of an investigation into the investigation into the investigation into the investigation. I can't help thinking there must be a better way of doing things.) Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Will SMEs win public IT contracts? 8 July 2013 Can the government ever open up its IT outsourcing to small companies? While all the talk is of promoting competition and letting in SMEs, the same old big players almost always seem to win. Two days before the National Audit Office panned the rollout of rural broadband, complaining that BT was likely to secure £1.2bn of public funding by winning every contract, the Office of Fair Trading has announced an investigation into the government’s outsourcing of IT. It wants suppliers and buyers to tell it about their experiences. The market for government IT is vast. The OFT says the top 20 software and IT services providers earn about £10.4bn a year from the public sector. The OFT will examine issues such as market structure and the operation of supply chains. It is keen to hear from small companies about whether they face prohibitive barriers to competing for work. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Cockell takes the fight to ministers 5 July 2013 Calibrating a Cockell is a delicate science. Cockells are not instruments given to wild swings between boundless joy and rage, but nuanced fluctuations between cautious optimism and irritation. And on Tuesday it was clear Local Government Association leader Sir Merrick Cockell, opening its annual conference in Manchester, was very irritated. The result? The best speech he has given as LGA leader. In measured but firm, often edgy tones he took the fight to both the government and the opposition. He threw at them not demands for more money or a wishlist for a localist Utopia but hard-edged, practical policies to allow councils to help local businesses grow and to redesign public services for a future short of cash but enriched by technological and community resources. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Meet the new public health masters 4 July 2013 How is public health run now? Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 most public health functions carried out by primary care trusts moved to 152 local authorities—unitary, metropolitan, and county councils and London boroughs. These authorities are responsible for promoting population health and reducing inequalities. Councils now run a diverse range of programmes such as smoking cessation, drug and alcohol services, obesity prevention, and prevention and treatment of violence. The 2012 act created an executive agency, Public Health England, which is part of the Department of Health rather than NHS England. Its responsibilities include health protection, providing information and data, and developing the workforce. NHS England commissions the national immunisation and routine screening programmes, children’s public health services up to the age of 5 years, children’s health information systems, public health services for prisons, and sexual assault referral centres. How is it funded? At least for the first two years, local government public health funding—around £2.7bn (€3.2bn; $4.2bn)) for 2013-14—is ringfenced to ensure it isn’t consumed by other council departments facing cuts. Virginia Pearson, director of public health at Devon County Council, points out that the ringfence has a disadvantage: “Working alongside colleagues who are making cuts when you are sitting in a bubble is quite difficult. It could strain relationships . . . It doesn’t sit well with being a locally accountable structure.” Read the full article at the British Medical Journal ____________________________________________________________________ Lords imposes limit on privatisation 1 July 2013 The House of Lords’ little-reported vote last Tuesday to block the government’s plans to privatise part of the probation service illuminates the scrutiny that such proposals are given in Parliament. The vote came at the Report Stage of the Offender Rehabilitation Bill. It was bought by Crossbench peer Lord Ramsbotham, a former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales who supports the principles behind the bill but is “deeply alarmed” at the absence of detail about the costs and whether the reforms can be delivered safely in the time envisaged. The Ministry of Justice wants to privatise around three quarters of the probation service, supervising medium and low-risk prisoners. It will be packaged into 21 companies and tendered out under payment by results contracts. Justice secretary Chris Grayling wants it all to be running by the 2015 general election. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye
July 2013
Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
The private sector role in innovation 29 July 2013 Innovation and the transformation are much abused words in the public sector. While councils frequently talk about “transforming” services, more often than not they are really talking about making things a little better and a little more efficient. But with some councils expecting to be as much as 40% smaller in 2018 than they were in 2010, true innovation – radically different solutions to existing problems and demands – is becoming essential. Think tank the New Local Government Network, in its study The shock of the new: can councils innovate their way out of austerity?, shows that councils see innovation as the alternative to relentless attrition, but are finding it difficult to do. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Confusion reigns over urgent care 25 July 2013 Who is in charge? Hidden among the predictable dissection of urgent and emergency care woes in the health select committee report, published on Wednesday, are serious concerns about whether the myriad of new NHS bodies are capable of sorting the problems out. Few people would look at the new NHS structure – which bears more than a passing resemblance to the piping diagram for a gas works – and conclude that what the NHS needs is yet more organisations. But that was indeed what NHS England decided when faced with growing problems in A&E. Ignoring the primacy of clinical commissioning groups, it imposed urgent care boards across the country, under the auspices of its local area teams, charged with rapidly producing plans to sort out A&E. But it then seemed to lose its nerve. Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Making public service markets work 19 July 2013 More than 40 years after the market began to play a prominent role in public services, there is still far too little understanding among those who design and implement market-based policies of how to ensure they succeed. Making public services markets work, the study published by the Institute or Government last week, aims to help fill this void. It examined the Work Programme, secondary education, care for older people and probation services. It uncovered significant weaknesses. Opportunities for users to make informed choices were limited, while providers gamed the system to maximise profits – failing to care properly for social care clients with complex needs while creaming off those who were cheapest to serve. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Gove’s flawed solution for Doncaster 19 July 2013 The education secretary's decision to strip Doncaster council of its children's services is a turning point in relations between central and local government in the leadership of child protection. On Tuesday, Michael Gove ordered that all the council's children's services apart from education be run by an independent trust for at least five years. This means that, from next April, the secretary of state will be responsible for the safety of Doncaster children. The decision follows the recommendations of a government commissioned review led by professor Julian Le Grand. It is, as the report acknowledges, a major development in children's services. The government was not short of excuses to intervene in Doncaster, where local people have endured more than six years of failed attempts at sustained improvement, punctuated by a long line of inspections and reviews and frequent changes in senior staff. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ UK’s wasteful procurement costs 15 July 2013 An investigation by the Centre for Economic and Business Research has exposed the excessive cost of UK procurement, compared with Europe. The research put the size of UK public sector procurement in 2011 at £230 billion. The average cost of a competitive public sector bidding process was almost double that in the EU – £45,200 compared with an EU average of £23,900. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ When will Hunt fall through the ice? 11 July 2013 So far, Jeremy Hunt has been skating over the NHS ice with the practised ease of an impressive communicator. When will he fall through? In the wake of the Francis inquiry, the health secretary has shrewdly positioned himself as the patients' champion against the vested interests of the healthcare system. He moves quickly to condemn failure, even if, as in the case of the Care Quality Commission's recent convulsions over the Morecambe Bay maternity failures, he is not in possession of all the facts. (The unravelling of the Grant Thornton report into the CQC's supposed cover-up means there is now the prospect of an investigation into the investigation into the investigation into the investigation. I can't help thinking there must be a better way of doing things.) Read the full article on the Guardian healthcare network ____________________________________________________________________ Will SMEs win public IT contracts? 8 July 2013 Can the government ever open up its IT outsourcing to small companies? While all the talk is of promoting competition and letting in SMEs, the same old big players almost always seem to win. Two days before the National Audit Office panned the rollout of rural broadband, complaining that BT was likely to secure £1.2bn of public funding by winning every contract, the Office of Fair Trading has announced an investigation into the government’s outsourcing of IT. It wants suppliers and buyers to tell it about their experiences. The market for government IT is vast. The OFT says the top 20 software and IT services providers earn about £10.4bn a year from the public sector. The OFT will examine issues such as market structure and the operation of supply chains. It is keen to hear from small companies about whether they face prohibitive barriers to competing for work. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye ____________________________________________________________________ Cockell takes the fight to ministers 5 July 2013 Calibrating a Cockell is a delicate science. Cockells are not instruments given to wild swings between boundless joy and rage, but nuanced fluctuations between cautious optimism and irritation. And on Tuesday it was clear Local Government Association leader Sir Merrick Cockell, opening its annual conference in Manchester, was very irritated. The result? The best speech he has given as LGA leader. In measured but firm, often edgy tones he took the fight to both the government and the opposition. He threw at them not demands for more money or a wishlist for a localist Utopia but hard-edged, practical policies to allow councils to help local businesses grow and to redesign public services for a future short of cash but enriched by technological and community resources. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Meet the new public health masters 4 July 2013 How is public health run now? Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 most public health functions carried out by primary care trusts moved to 152 local authorities—unitary, metropolitan, and county councils and London boroughs. These authorities are responsible for promoting population health and reducing inequalities. Councils now run a diverse range of programmes such as smoking cessation, drug and alcohol services, obesity prevention, and prevention and treatment of violence. The 2012 act created an executive agency, Public Health England, which is part of the Department of Health rather than NHS England. Its responsibilities include health protection, providing information and data, and developing the workforce. NHS England commissions the national immunisation and routine screening programmes, children’s public health services up to the age of 5 years, children’s health information systems, public health services for prisons, and sexual assault referral centres. How is it funded? At least for the first two years, local government public health funding—around £2.7bn (€3.2bn; $4.2bn)) for 2013-14—is ringfenced to ensure it isn’t consumed by other council departments facing cuts. Virginia Pearson, director of public health at Devon County Council, points out that the ringfence has a disadvantage: “Working alongside colleagues who are making cuts when you are sitting in a bubble is quite difficult. It could strain relationships . . . It doesn’t sit well with being a locally accountable structure.” Read the full article at the British Medical Journal ____________________________________________________________________ Lords imposes limit on privatisation 1 July 2013 The House of Lords’ little-reported vote last Tuesday to block the government’s plans to privatise part of the probation service illuminates the scrutiny that such proposals are given in Parliament. The vote came at the Report Stage of the Offender Rehabilitation Bill. It was bought by Crossbench peer Lord Ramsbotham, a former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales who supports the principles behind the bill but is “deeply alarmed” at the absence of detail about the costs and whether the reforms can be delivered safely in the time envisaged. The Ministry of Justice wants to privatise around three quarters of the probation service, supervising medium and low-risk prisoners. It will be packaged into 21 companies and tendered out under payment by results contracts. Justice secretary Chris Grayling wants it all to be running by the 2015 general election. Read the full article on Outsourcer Eye