Peter Hoskin

The Cameroons are fleshing out the agenda which may come to define them

The Cameroons are fleshing out the agenda which may come to define them
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If you were going to craft The Most Exciting Speech Ever, then there's a good chance it wouldn't contain the phrase "Post-Bureaucratic Age," and wouldn't be delivered at the Technology-Entertainment-Design conference.  But – as James Crabtree points out in an great post over at Prospect – there are quite a few reasons to take David Cameron's speech on post-bureacracy to the, erm, Technology-Entertainment-Design conference, last night, very seriously indeed.  Not least of which is this announcement:

"A Conservative government will publish all government contracts worth over £25,000 for goods and services in full, including all performance indicators, break clauses and penalty measures. This will enable the public to root out wasteful spending and poorly negotiated contracts, and open up the procurement system to more small businesses."

This is, as James says, a radical bit of policy.  Not only will the public – you, me, businesses, and campaign groups like the Taxpayers' Alliance – find it easier to influence the framework of government contracts, but we'll also be able to see whether that framework is holding in place.  Any delays, overruns, fiddles, or the like, and we'll know about them without having to wait for a minister to shuffle forward and 'fess up.  And, crucially, the heightened threat of exposure should make such errors less likely in the first place.  Good stuff all round.

Sure, as I've written before (with Neil O'Brien of Policy Exchange), these post-bureaucratic policies will probably be more difficult to implement than expected.  But it's still encouraging to see the Tories flesh out an agenda which, until recently, was almost as nebulous as it is promising.