LATEST ARTICLES
CV
Rough sleepers are dying decades early 6 March 2020 People living on the streets are dying three decades early, but NHS  intransigence is undermining attempts to improve services. Official statistics reveal a shocking story of early, avoidable death. In 2018 the average age of people who died while homeless in England and Wales was around 44. In other words, these 726 souls typically died more than three decades too soon, losing 22,000 years of life between them. A third of these deaths were caused by treatable conditions such as respiratory illnesses and HIV. Homeless people are 14 times more likely to die by suicide compared with the general population, 20 times more as a result of drug use and seven times more from falls. Hospital admissions in England relating to homelessness, meanwhile, leapt 130% in the five years to 2018-19. To understand why healthcare is failing people who sleep rough on this industrial scale, the government commissioned independent research from the King’s Fund. The results reveal services are too inflexible to meet their needs, and are so rigid they thwart attempts by committed staff to make improvements. Bearing in mind that even people who work for the NHS often find it difficult to navigate as a patient, it is no surprise that homeless people find multiple barriers getting into and around the health service. Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________ Don’t give planning power to developers 21 February 2020 Boris Johnson’s “smash the system” approach to public policy is about to reach every street, town, village and field in the country. The government is preparing to dynamite development controls and unleash market forces on our physical world, moving power from councils to developers and inflicting great harm on the built and natural environments. While No 10 adviser Dominic Cummings and eugenics aficionado Andrew Sabisky grab the headlines, it is Jack Airey who may well have the more lasting impact on our lives. As Johnson’s new adviser on housing and planning, Airey is leading the charge to strip local councils of meaningful control over local development. Just last month, in his role as head of housing at influential right-wing thinktank Policy Exchange, he published his manifesto, Rethinking the planning system for the 21st century. Airey is undoubtedly right that the planning system is not fit for modern times. Fertile land is being gobbled up for ugly, sprawling, car-dependent, amenity-free housing developments. Poorly planned building is exacerbating the menace of floods. Too few new buildings minimise their carbon footprint. Developers constantly dodge their obligations to build social housing. Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________ Terror medics should not be held back 7 February 2020 The Streatham terrorist attack has again highlighted one of the most difficult decisions the emergency services face – deciding when it is safe to treat wounded people. In the aftermath of the stabbings by Sudesh Amman, a passer-by who helped a man lying on the pavement bleeding claimed ambulance crews took 30 minutes to arrive. The London Ambulance Service (LAS) said the first medics arrived in four minutes, but waited at the assigned rendezvous point until the Metropolitan police confirmed it was safe to move in. Like the perpetrators of the London Bridge attacks in both 2017 and 2019, Amman was wearing a hoax suicide vest. There is a long, brutal history, from Baghdad to the Warrenpoint ambush in 1979 , of using secondary attacks to slay those who rush to terror scenes. The inevitable chaos of a bomb or an attack by several people, such as the 2017 attacks in London Bridge and Borough market, means it can take a long time to be sure all the perpetrators are accounted for. But last summer, the London Bridge inquest heard it took three hours for paramedics to reach some of the wounded. Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________ Ministers threaten our right to know 24 January 2020 Freedom of information and scrutiny of government decisions are under attack. Through obstruction and neglect, ministers and civil servants are choking off our right to know what they are doing and how they spend our money. Meanwhile Boris Johnson and his cabinet are replacing rigorous journalistic questioning with shallow social media stunts, creating a mirage of openness and accountability while hiding away from any real interrogation. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gave UK citizens the right to request data from public authorities, and obliged them to publish financial and other routine reports. It transformed the relationship between the public and the state, with campaigners and journalists soon pushing its boundaries. Since 2005 the number of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to government has doubled but, as the Institute for Government revealed this week in its Whitehall Monitor 2020 report, adherence to the act is on the verge of collapse, with departments ignoring their legal duties to supply information. The report points out that in the early years of the act, departments were routinely approving more than half of FoI requests (although the Foreign Office and Cabinet Office have almost always refused 60% or more). Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________ Cummings plan will fail deprived areas 10 January 2020 The obsessive focus of Boris Johnson’s advisers on shaking up Whitehall reinforces the failed belief that all the answers lie in better central government. If they really want the UK to be the most dynamic state in the world and to “level up” the most deprived areas, they need to devolve power away from London. There is good evidence that decentralised countries have stronger growth and better public services – and even the Treasury recognises that the UK is one of the most centralised states in the world. Instead of poking at the problem with a few grudging concessions negotiated through city deals, ministers need to give local government the decision-making and tax-raising powers it needs to make a difference. That would be the fastest route to “levelling up” and beginning to tackle endemic problems such as skills shortages, low productivity and poor public transport. The signals about how Whitehall will be reformed have been mixed. The growing expectation that the cabinet secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, will be staying for the foreseeable future rather than becoming ambassador to Washington provides experience and continuity at the top. Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________
Public Policy Media Richard Vize
January to March 2020
Public Policy Media Richard Vize
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
Rough sleepers are dying decades early 6 March 2020 People living on the streets are dying three decades early, but NHS intransigence is undermining attempts to improve services. Official statistics reveal a shocking story of early, avoidable death. In 2018 the average age of people who died while homeless in England and Wales was around 44. In other words, these 726 souls typically died more than three decades too soon, losing 22,000 years of life between them. A third of these deaths were caused by treatable conditions such as respiratory illnesses and HIV. Homeless people are 14 times more likely to die by suicide compared with the general population, 20 times more as a result of drug use and seven times more from falls. Hospital admissions in England relating to homelessness, meanwhile, leapt 130% in the five years to 2018-19. To understand why healthcare is failing people who sleep rough on this industrial scale, the government commissioned independent research from the King’s Fund. The results reveal services are too inflexible to meet their needs, and are so rigid they thwart attempts by committed staff to make improvements. Bearing in mind that even people who work for the NHS often find it difficult to navigate as a patient, it is no surprise that homeless people find multiple barriers getting into and around the health service. Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________ Don’t give planning power to developers 21 February 2020 Boris Johnson’s “smash the system” approach to public policy is about to reach every street, town, village and field in the country. The government is preparing to dynamite development controls and unleash market forces on our physical world, moving power from councils to developers and inflicting great harm on the built and natural environments. While No 10 adviser Dominic Cummings and eugenics aficionado Andrew Sabisky grab the headlines, it is Jack Airey who may well have the more lasting impact on our lives. As Johnson’s new adviser on housing and planning, Airey is leading the charge to strip local councils of meaningful control over local development. Just last month, in his role as head of housing at influential right-wing thinktank Policy Exchange, he published his manifesto, Rethinking the planning system for the 21st century. Airey is undoubtedly right that the planning system is not fit for modern times. Fertile land is being gobbled up for ugly, sprawling, car-dependent, amenity-free housing developments. Poorly planned building is exacerbating the menace of floods. Too few new buildings minimise their carbon footprint. Developers constantly dodge their obligations to build social housing. Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________ Terror medics should not be held back 7 February 2020 The Streatham terrorist attack has again highlighted one of the most difficult decisions the emergency services face – deciding when it is safe to treat wounded people. In the aftermath of the stabbings by Sudesh Amman, a passer- by who helped a man lying on the pavement bleeding claimed ambulance crews took 30 minutes to arrive. The London Ambulance Service (LAS) said the first medics arrived in four minutes, but waited at the assigned rendezvous point until the Metropolitan police confirmed it was safe to move in. Like the perpetrators of the London Bridge attacks in both 2017 and 2019, Amman was wearing a hoax suicide vest. There is a long, brutal history, from Baghdad to the Warrenpoint ambush in 1979 , of using secondary attacks to slay those who rush to terror scenes. The inevitable chaos of a bomb or an attack by several people, such as the 2017 attacks in London Bridge and Borough market, means it can take a long time to be sure all the perpetrators are accounted for. But last summer, the London Bridge inquest heard it took three hours for paramedics to reach some of the wounded. Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________ Ministers threaten our right to know 24 January 2020 Freedom of information and scrutiny of government decisions are under attack. Through obstruction and neglect, ministers and civil servants are choking off our right to know what they are doing and how they spend our money. Meanwhile Boris Johnson and his cabinet are replacing rigorous journalistic questioning with shallow social media stunts, creating a mirage of openness and accountability while hiding away from any real interrogation. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gave UK citizens the right to request data from public authorities, and obliged them to publish financial and other routine reports. It transformed the relationship between the public and the state, with campaigners and journalists soon pushing its boundaries. Since 2005 the number of Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to government has doubled but, as the Institute for Government revealed this week in its Whitehall Monitor 2020 report, adherence to the act is on the verge of collapse, with departments ignoring their legal duties to supply information. The report points out that in the early years of the act, departments were routinely approving more than half of FoI requests (although the Foreign Office and Cabinet Office have almost always refused 60% or more). Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________ Cummings plan will fail deprived areas 10 January 2020 The obsessive focus of Boris Johnson’s advisers on shaking up Whitehall reinforces the failed belief that all the answers lie in better central government. If they really want the UK to be the most dynamic state in the world and to “level up” the most deprived areas, they need to devolve power away from London. There is good evidence that decentralised countries have stronger growth and better public services – and even the Treasury recognises that the UK is one of the most centralised states in the world. Instead of poking at the problem with a few grudging concessions negotiated through city deals, ministers need to give local government the decision-making and tax-raising powers it needs to make a difference. That would be the fastest route to “levelling up” and beginning to tackle endemic problems such as skills shortages, low productivity and poor public transport. The signals about how Whitehall will be reformed have been mixed. The growing expectation that the cabinet secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, will be staying for the foreseeable future rather than becoming ambassador to Washington provides experience and continuity at the top. Read the full article at Guardian Society __________________________________________________________________