Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
How procurement can plug welfare gaps 30 April 2014 The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has driven home the huge potential of procurement to achieve wider social goals. Its report Tackling Poverty Through Public Procurement, published yesterday, stresses that cuts in welfare budgets and services makes it essential that procurement is used to reduce unemployment, poverty and welfare dependency. The foundation believes that training and recruitment opportunities should be targeted at disadvantaged people as a key part of a sustainable procurement policy, and that they can be provided at little or no extra cost. When Birmingham City Council was signing contracts for its £193 million library it negotiated a target of 250 jobs for local unemployed people, including 25 apprenticeships. By the end of the project 306 jobs had been created including 82 apprenticeships, over half of which were taken by residents from areas prioritised for support. Read the full article on Public Procurement Insider ____________________________________________________________________ Who can step in when councils implode? 25 April 2014 When a council hits serious difficulties the response is drawn out, muddled and overseen by central government. A better answer is urgently needed before a growing numbers of councils slip into financial crisis. Problems with children's services in Birmingham and Doncaster and the political travails of Tower Hamlets all stretch back many years. Governments and local politicians have come and gone while long-term solutions and new beginnings have proved elusive. But soon these local authorities will be joined by new councils – some but not all of them districts – which are much less culpable for their problems. They are simply going to run out of money. Local government needs an effective system for spotting an impending crisis and dealing with it before ministers step in. The move of local government towards collective responsibility for weak councils dates back to the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) established in the early years of the New Labour government. Built around a programme of knowledge-sharing, peer review and support, the agency saw off an explicit threat from Tony Blair of government intervention if councils couldn't sort out their own problems. Read the full article on the Guardian Local Government Network ____________________________________________________________________ NHS funding hopes are a delusion 15 April 2014 There is a dangerous delusion taking hold of some parts of the NHS – that if the service shouts loudly enough, and often enough, that it needs more money, it will get what it wants. It won't. Clinicians and managers will have to work out the solutions themselves. As the finances of a growing number of trusts slide out of control, the prospects for the NHS in 2015 are increasingly being debated in capital letters, the word CRISIS being brandished like a Daily Mail headline. Realising the rhetoric stakes were getting higher, the Royal College of General Practitioners overreached themselves with the preposterous claim  that GP practices were at risk of "extinction". The King's Fund's quarterly monitoring report this month revealed that just 16% of NHS trust finance directors are confident of achieving financial balance in the coming financial year. There is anecdotal evidence of a belief on some boards that if enough providers get into enough difficulty the government will be forced to bail them out. Arguing that "we're going into deficit because we won't compromise on quality" may sound like the moral high ground but it can quickly turn into a clinical performance hole. Read the full article at the Guardian Healthcare Network ____________________________________________________________________ Austerity must not push price obsession 15 April 2014 Public sector austerity is undermining attempts to secure wider social value from procurement contracts, whether with private providers or charities. Austerity is hitting charities hard. The charity lobby group NCVO has revealed that charities income from government fell by nearly 9% – or £1.3 billion in real terms – between 2010-11 and 2011-12. While everyone is suffering from the cuts, it appears the charity income from government, which is overwhelmingly for running public services, is falling faster than the overall reductions in spending. Charities are losing out to big service providers in three ways. Government is lumping work into ever bigger contracts to make them easier to manage, which too often leaves major firms as the only providers with a realistic chance of winning. The shift towards payment by results increases the risk of bidding for public contracts and requires providers to hold levels of reserves which charities find difficult. And finally, the time and expense required to participate in excessively bureaucratic bidding processes is easier for the big firms to bear. Read the full article on Public Procurement Insider ____________________________________________________________________ Heseltine is localist radical, not Miliband 10 April 2014 Labour leader Ed Miliband's proposals for empowering cities are far from the revolution he pretends. The real revolutionary is still Tory grandee and former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine. In his speech in Birmingham on Tuesday, Miliband billed his plans for local government as the biggest shift of power and money to towns and cities "in living memory". In reality, he is offering just another few steps down the well-trodden track of councils bidding for central government largesse. This approach can be traced back at least as far as the City Challenge programme launched by then environment secretary Michael Heseltine in 1990, which brought together local government and the private sector in bids for economic and environmental projects. Indeed, Miliband substantially positioned his "revolution" as delivering ideas proposed byHeseltine in his 2012 report, No Stone Unturned,on stimulating economic growth. Read the full article on the Guardian Local Government Network ____________________________________________________________________ Digital revolution leaves councils behind 8 April 2014 Local government’s digital development has stalled. After a period of innovation, councils lack the skills, organisational culture and leadership to exploit the potential for digital transformation of its services. Those are the conclusions of Smart people, smart places, a study by the New Local Government Network. But the problems it describes run deeper than just digital. It is a window on wider local government weaknesses. It describes a world in which digital development is still peripheral, with councils failing to exploit the potential of digital to deliver integrated and personalised services, engage and empower citizens and create greener, more economically vibrant places. Perhaps the most damning criticism is that councils are failing to create a culture where staff and councillors feel trusted to innovate with technology and have the confidence to invest in it and use it. These barriers to exploiting the potential of digital are undoubtedly exacerbated by the dearth of young councillors – being 40 is youthful in many authorities – and the lack of movement of staff between the public and private sectors. Read the full article on Public Procurement Insider ____________________________________________________________________ Stevens sets out a radical NHS vision 3 April 2014 In his first speech as NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens prepared the ground for radical change in the way health service staff think and work. Speaking at Shotley Bridge hospital in County Durham, where he began his NHS career as a trainee manager 26 years ago, Stevens encouraged staff to "think like a patient, act like a taxpayer" as he gave the first indications of what he would – and would not – be doing. He will not be getting into a trial of strength with the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt. He stressed the need for the national leadership of the NHS to work "in coherent and purposeful partnership", and in highlighting that the NHS England board is operationally independent, he implicitly recognised the legitimacy of political influence on its objectives. He and Hunt are too politically astute to fall out. He also made clear that he would not be debating how many clinical commissioning groups there should be; his only interest is in making clinical commissioning work. There were strong themes in his speech of breaking down barriers and driving innovation from both inside and outside the NHS. Read the full article at the Guardian Healthcare Network ____________________________________________________________________ Sector must share procurement data 1 April 2014 In its death throes before handing over to the Competition and Markets Authority this week, the Office of Fair Trading lambasted the way the public’s sector manages its annual expenditure of around £14 billion on ICT. In its study of the supply of information and communications technology to the public sector, the OFT focused on two areas which account for about half the total figure – outsourced IT and off-the-shelf software. It found companies face significant barriers to entering the market or expanding. These included prohibitively costly and time-consuming processes, difficulties in gaining security clearance for carrying out public sector ICT work and the ability of some big incumbents to ramp up the cost of switching supplier such as through training people on bespoke products. Predictably, procurement practices which made tendering time-consuming and expensive are also undermining competition. Despite the huge costs involved, public sector organisations frequently lack the right information to make their procurement decision, then fail to collect data to judge how well the supplier is performing. This means that the next time the contract is tendered they will fall back on a subjective assessment. Read the full article on Public Procurement Insider
April 2014
Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
How procurement can plug welfare gaps 30 April 2014 The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has driven home the huge potential of procurement to achieve wider social goals. Its report Tackling Poverty Through Public Procurement,  published yesterday, stresses that cuts in welfare budgets and services makes it essential that procurement is used to reduce unemployment, poverty and welfare dependency. The foundation believes that training and recruitment opportunities should be targeted at disadvantaged people as a key part of a sustainable procurement policy, and that they can be provided at little or no extra cost. When Birmingham City Council was signing contracts for its £193 million library it negotiated a target of 250 jobs for local unemployed people, including 25 apprenticeships. By the end of the project 306 jobs had been created including 82 apprenticeships, over half of which were taken by residents from areas prioritised for support. Read the full article on Public Procurement Insider ____________________________________________________________________ Who can step in when councils implode? 25 April 2014 When a council hits serious difficulties the response is drawn out, muddled and overseen by central government. A better answer is urgently needed before a growing numbers of councils slip into financial crisis. Problems with children's services in Birmingham and Doncaster and the political travails of Tower Hamlets all stretch back many years. Governments and local politicians have come and gone while long-term solutions and new beginnings have proved elusive. But soon these local authorities will be joined by new councils – some but not all of them districts – which are much less culpable for their problems. They are simply going to run out of money. Local government needs an effective system for spotting an impending crisis and dealing with it before ministers step in. The move of local government towards collective responsibility for weak councils dates back to the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) established in the early years of the New Labour government. Built around a programme of knowledge-sharing, peer review and support, the agency saw off an explicit threat from Tony Blair of government intervention if councils couldn't sort out their own problems. Read the full article on the Guardian Local Government Network ____________________________________________________________________ NHS funding hopes are a delusion 15 April 2014 There is a dangerous delusion taking hold of some parts of the NHS – that if the service shouts loudly enough, and often enough, that it needs more money, it will get what it wants. It won't. Clinicians and managers will have to work out the solutions themselves. As the finances of a growing number of trusts slide out of control, the prospects for the NHS in 2015 are increasingly being debated in capital letters, the word CRISIS being brandished like a Daily Mail headline. Realising the rhetoric stakes were getting higher, the Royal College of General Practitioners overreached themselves with the preposterous claim that GP practices were at risk of "extinction". The King's Fund's quarterly monitoring report this month  revealed that just 16% of NHS trust finance directors are confident of achieving financial balance in the coming financial year. There is anecdotal evidence of a belief on some boards that if enough providers get into enough difficulty the government will be forced to bail them out. Arguing that "we're going into deficit because we won't compromise on quality" may sound like the moral high ground but it can quickly turn into a clinical performance hole. Read the full article at the Guardian Healthcare Network ____________________________________________________________________ Austerity must not push price obsession 15 April 2014 Public sector austerity is undermining attempts to secure wider social value from procurement contracts, whether with private providers or charities. Austerity is hitting charities hard. The charity lobby group NCVO has revealed that charities income from government fell by nearly 9% – or £1.3 billion in real terms – between 2010-11 and 2011-12. While everyone is suffering from the cuts, it appears the charity income from government, which is overwhelmingly for running public services, is falling faster than the overall reductions in spending. Charities are losing out to big service providers in three ways. Government is lumping work into ever bigger contracts to make them easier to manage, which too often leaves major firms as the only providers with a realistic chance of winning. The shift towards payment by results increases the risk of bidding for public contracts and requires providers to hold levels of reserves which charities find difficult. And finally, the time and expense required to participate in excessively bureaucratic bidding processes is easier for the big firms to bear. Read the full article on Public Procurement Insider ____________________________________________________________________ Heseltine is localist radical, not Miliband 10 April 2014 Labour leader Ed Miliband's proposals for empowering cities are far from the revolution he pretends. The real revolutionary is still Tory grandee and former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine. In his speech in Birmingham on Tuesday, Miliband billed his plans for local government as the biggest shift of power and money to towns and cities "in living memory". In reality, he is offering just another few steps down the well-trodden track of councils bidding for central government largesse. This approach can be traced back at least as far as the City Challenge programme launched by then environment secretary Michael Heseltine in 1990, which brought together local government and the private sector in bids for economic and environmental projects. Indeed, Miliband substantially positioned his "revolution" as delivering ideas proposed byHeseltine in his 2012 report, No Stone Unturned,on stimulating economic growth. Read the full article on the Guardian Local Government Network ____________________________________________________________________ Digital revolution leaves councils behind 8 April 2014 Local government’s digital development has stalled. After a period of innovation, councils lack the skills, organisational culture and leadership to exploit the potential for digital transformation of its services. Those are the conclusions of Smart people, smart places, a study by the New Local Government Network. But the problems it describes run deeper than just digital. It is a window on wider local government weaknesses. It describes a world in which digital development is still peripheral, with councils failing to exploit the potential of digital to deliver integrated and personalised services, engage and empower citizens and create greener, more economically vibrant places. Perhaps the most damning criticism is that councils are failing to create a culture where staff and councillors feel trusted to innovate with technology and have the confidence to invest in it and use it. These barriers to exploiting the potential of digital are undoubtedly exacerbated by the dearth of young councillors – being 40 is youthful in many authorities – and the lack of movement of staff between the public and private sectors. Read the full article on Public Procurement Insider ____________________________________________________________________ Stevens sets out a radical NHS vision 3 April 2014 In his first speech as NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens prepared the ground for radical change in the way health service staff think and work. Speaking at Shotley Bridge hospital in County Durham, where he began his NHS career as a trainee manager 26 years ago, Stevens encouraged staff to "think like a patient, act like a taxpayer" as he gave the first indications of what he would – and would not – be doing. He will not be getting into a trial of strength with the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt. He stressed the need for the national leadership of the NHS to work "in coherent and purposeful partnership", and in highlighting that the NHS England board is operationally independent, he implicitly recognised the legitimacy of political influence on its objectives. He and Hunt are too politically astute to fall out. He also made clear that he would not be debating how many clinical commissioning groups there should be; his only interest is in making clinical commissioning work. There were strong themes in his speech of breaking down barriers and driving innovation from both inside and outside the NHS. Read the full article at the Guardian Healthcare Network ____________________________________________________________________ Sector must share procurement data 1 April 2014 In its death throes before handing over to the Competition and Markets Authority this week, the Office of Fair Trading lambasted the way the public’s sector manages its annual expenditure of around £14 billion on ICT. In its study of the supply of information and communications technology to the public sector, the OFT focused on two areas which account for about half the total figure – outsourced IT and off-the-shelf software. It found companies face significant barriers to entering the market or expanding. These included prohibitively costly and time-consuming processes, difficulties in gaining security clearance for carrying out public sector ICT work and the ability of some big incumbents to ramp up the cost of switching supplier such as through training people on bespoke products. Predictably, procurement practices which made tendering time-consuming and expensive are also undermining competition. Despite the huge costs involved, public sector organisations frequently lack the right information to make their procurement decision, then fail to collect data to judge how well the supplier is performing. This means that the next time the contract is tendered they will fall back on a subjective assessment. Read the full article on Public Procurement Insider