Localism: ‘It’s like letting go of your toddler’s bike’ says Mandarin

Dame Helen Ghosh DCB is, I’m sure, a very fine civil servant in may ways, but sensitive to others perspectives she’s clearly not.

Speaking at the NAO Conference on Performance yesterday (22 Feb 2012) Dame Helen was explaining how the Home office was attempting to devolve more powers to police forces, when she came up with an interesting insight into how Whitehall sees ‘localism’ Continue reading

Re(Dis)Organization of Britain’s Border Agencies

Theresa May, Home Secretary, has announced the dismantling of the UK Borders Agency just a few months before the London Olympics. This is just the latest twist in a saga that goes back years during which Ministers (and senior civil servants) have tinkered with the organization of Britain’s border controls without ever solving the underlying problems. Continue reading

Lies, Damned Lies, and Government ‘Efficiency’ Savings (Again)

It is nice to see that the new lot are just the same as the old lot, at least when it comes to reporting so-called “efficiency” or “waste” savings. Today Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude was telling anyone who would listen that the Government anticipates £5 billion in cash savings this year.

Despite the spin, these are of course not efficiency savings and the official documents are careful to just refer to them as “cash savings” and “waste” – which anyone would be justified in thinking meant ‘efficiency’ savings. And indeed it all comes under the programme called “Efficiency” on the Cabinet Office website. Continue reading

No Way to Run a Railway: HS2 and Policy-Making (Michael Ward)

Michael Ward kindly sent me this short paper about HS2 and the “policy-making” process surrounding it. Whilst I personally do not agree with his conclusions, his critique of the process is well worth reading. CT 

The case for High Speed Rail: a regional, social and economic perspective Continue reading