Andrew Haldenby

The government has found new momentum for NHS reform

The PM’s first policy speech in this Parliament was devoted to the NHS and marked a big shift in tone compared to the election.  The campaign message was somewhat defensive, majoring on the extra spending that the Conservatives would provide (and leading some to ask where the extra £8 billion a year was coming from). 

Private companies can deliver exactly what the NHS needs

The end of the private management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital is not a dagger in the heart of NHS competition and reform. It does not mean, as the BBC’s business editor wrote today, that a private business cannot run an acute hospital (which is an extraordinary statement given that such businesses routinely do so in other

The government has been the author of its troubles

In his Spectator column this week, James Forsyth painted a picture of a government taken by surprise by enemies who have, in effect, ambushed them – the civil service, the civil service’s lawyers and the European Union in particular. Clearly the government is frustrated by the “forces of conservatism” and the “enemies of enterprise”, but

Reforming government: the Cabinet Office

Last week Reform published its 2011 scorecard of the Coalition Government’s public service reform programme. Following the articles on the health, welfare  and education reforms, Andrew Haldenby, Reform’s Director, discusses the Cabinet Office.   The Prime Minister has put the Cabinet Office in the vanguard of his efforts to reform public services.  The Cabinet Office

Hutton points the way forward on pensions

John Hutton’s interim report on public sector pensions today will go down as one of the most important moments in the public service reform story.  John Hutton doesn’t just set out the principles for putting public services on a sustainable footing, although he does do that (by explaining the inadequate levels of contributions into these

How the unions oppose the achievement of more for less

The TUC’s attack on a leading public sector reformer, reported today, was designed to embarrass him and discredit the idea of reforming the public sector.  In fact, it has shown that they will oppose any change to the public sector workforce, even if it results in a better service for the public.   According to

A lesson from New Zealand

This is the next of our posts with REFORM looking ahead to the Spending Review. Earlier posts were on health, education, the first hundred days, welfare, the Civil Service and international experiences (New Zealand, Canada, Ireland). Ruth Richardson, the former reforming Finance Minister of New Zealand, set the benchmark for the Spending Review in a

What you need know ahead of the Spending Review – Health

With this autumn’s Spending Review set to be one of the most important moments in the life of the coalition government, Coffee House has linked up with the think-tank Reform to investigate what could – and should – be in the final document. This first post, by Reform’s director Andrew Haldenby, is the first in

Slice not structure

Two weeks ago, when launching the Spending Review, George Osborne called for a once-in-a-lifetime debate about the shape of government in the UK.  He implied that there is a right and a wrong way to cut the deficit.  It would be right to cut spending by addressing the structural causes of the deficit – i.e.

What to do if you can’t tax or borrow out of trouble

Today one Finance Minister in the British Isles cut spending, cut borrowing by 1 per cent of GDP compared to his last Budget and cut the national debt by 5 per cent.  It wasn’t Alistair Darling. Brian Lenihan cut Irish public spending by 7 per cent (equivalent to a £40 billion cut in the UK). 

Tackling the deficit

Reform’s report, The Front Line, focused on the how of the public finance question – how to get the deficit down in practice.  We pointed out that since the public sector workforce accounts for around a third of the total government deficit, it should contribute a third of the reduction in the structural deficit.  That

A Budget diary

On Monday, Reform published its latest report – Back to black – showing that the crisis in the public finances demanded actual spending cuts, in 2010-11. The right cuts would kick start a programme of reform in the big spending areas of health, benefits, education and defence. In the Budget, the Chancellor revealed that the

Is this Government finally talking small government?

I’ve just got back from the launch of The Lab, a new initiative by NESTA to increase innovation in public services (which I’m helping). Gordon Brown turned up, with John Denham and Liam Byrne, to give his blessing and to bang the drum for his own contribution today, the new White Paper by the Cabinet