The idea of ‘tsars’ in Whitehall is a recent name for an old practice; bringing in outside actors to advise, and sometimes to act, on a specific issue. Although not all tsars hit the headlines, Dr Ruth Levitt and Bill Solesbury argue that these appointments are a bigger phenomenon than is often supposed and incumbents […]
The NHS is seen as a fundamentally British institution and even a symbol of national identity. But, writes Dr Julian Simpson, it might make more sense to call it an ‘International’ Health Service. And while ‘health tourism’ and migrant doctors’ language skills make headlines, the real issue is whether it should remain dependent on an […]
As expected, David Cameron has boosted the number of women in his Government. But this strategy is problematic, argue Professors Claire Annesley and Francesca Gains, and may not address the lack of women’s policy input in decision making. Earlier this spring Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s former spin doctor, suggested that ‘Sam Cam’ was the Conservatives’ ‘secret […]
Whether it be young people selling sports shoes, or carers looking after the elderly, workers in the UK are increasingly being forced into zero-hour contract, writes Prof Jill Rubery. But this hasn’t happened by accident: it is a product of many years of moving towards a ‘flexible’ labour market, one that in practice means more […]
Today’s nurses have been accused of being “too posh to wash” and lacking compassion, writes Stuart Butler. But unless policymakers are willing to free up their time through further recruitment, or abandon their obsession with targets, they should learn to live with the professionalized work-force that is entirely of their own making. Rather uniquely […]
Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, has declared he’d like the Office of Budget Responsibility to assess Labour’s tax and spend policies before the next election. Robert Chote, the head of the OBR, and Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative chair of the Treasury select committee, have both said they think this could be a good thing. Others […]
Probably the most important role of Whitehall departments is giving policy advice to Ministers. It is therefore curious that policy-making did not figure directly in the Capability Reviews that central government departments have been going through in the past few years.
A new book has been causing a bit of a stir in policy circles in the UK – ‘The Spirit Level’ is not another diatribe for or against God, as the name might suggest, but a book about equality.
Geoff Mulgan’s new book on ‘The Art of Public Strategy’ is an riveting read, fizzing with insights and ideas. Mulgan played a big role in the Blair government, as a policy adviser and Head of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. He also has a strong history as a think-tanker and author, so his writing is […]
The influential new book “Nudge” (Thaler and Sunstein 2008) comes from the emerging field of behavioral economics, which investigates the non-rational ways in which people make decisions.