Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
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 ____________________________________________________________________ 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 ____________________________________________________________________ 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 ____________________________________________________________________
April 2014
Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
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 ____________________________________________________________________ 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 ____________________________________________________________________ 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 ____________________________________________________________________