NYT Excerpt: Radical Accounting And The Value Of Ideas

I thought this as interesting enough to share….. especially as an awful lot of public management reform is predicated on trying to replicate in the public sector the sort of outmoded private sector practices discussed below….

July 30, 201312:49 PM

In his New York Times Magazine column this week, Adam Davidson writes about the challenges of measuring productivity in today’s economy. Here’s an excerpt. Continue reading

Whitehall Watch is changing

Hi all,

I thought I should give you a quick update. Over the summer Whitehall Watch will be changing.

First of all, Whitehall Watch will slowly become more of a multi-author blog, drawing on our community of “Whitehall Watchers” at Manchester, and, we hope more widely. We will be inviting anyone who shares our interest in Whitehall, and public administration and public management more widely, to send us posts (for now you can send them to policy@manchester.ac.uk but we will have dedicated email shortly). I’ll still be here, blogging away, but hopefully the voices you hear here will become a bit more diverse. Continue reading

It’s Purely Academic…..

This was something I wrote on Whitehall Watch 4 years ago, but it says something useful, I hope, about my approach to applied social sciences.

Whitehall Watch

This is a fairly common derogatory phrase in the UK – meaning whatever is being talked about is somehow irrelevant to real life and of no real consequence. ( I am not sure how current it is in other countries).

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BT: To Infinity and Beyond, or not

We, as a country, are failing dismally to provide a proper broadband infrastructure.  While debate rages around whether or not we’ll have HS2 sometime in the dim and distant future, right here right now we are lagging behind in our 21st century cyber infrastructure.

I suppose I ought to declare an interest. I used to work for BT. As a telephone engineer, from 1979 to 1986. And for part of that time I was a full-time Branch Secretary for Westminster branch of the old POEU (Post Office Engineering Union) – long since merged into the CWU. Continue reading

Save the Census – Save Our Stats

FROM: Beyond 2011 Independent Working Group – Save Our Statistics?
This is an appeal by the Beyond 2011 independent working group to those who use official population and social statistics in the UK, particularly those concerned with area-based statistics. We are here referring to the rich range of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics which are currently available from national to census output area levels. The statistical system is currently under scrutiny and review. Key to this review is the search for alternatives to the census of population and housing, a core element of UK statistics held each decade since 1801. The UK’s system of area-based population statistics from national to local levels may be lost unless it is justified loudly and clearly. We are concerned that many users of these statistics are insufficiently aware of the potential changes and their implications and have not been engaged in this debate. Continue reading

Engaging with Policy: Whitehall, Westminster and the Academy

Many of us who study public policy academically often discuss just what impact our work has – do we influence anything?

With the Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise fast approaching, academics across Britain are busily putting together ‘impact’ statements to show just how much impact they have had. And one crucial area of ‘impact’ is on public policy. Everyone has been thrashing around for metrics.

So it was with great interest that I started playing around with the ‘Who’s Lobbying’ database (after my colleague at Manchester, Alex Waddington, spotted it). Continue reading

Prison, Parliament or Professor?

My Mum always used to say, when I was a teenager, I’d end up either in prison or in parliament. Little did she realise that they were not mutually exclusive categories these days! Or that I’d end up avoiding both (just) and finding a third, alternative, “P” – being a Professor. Continue reading