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As we move rapidly towards the next general election, all eyes are on ideas that will emerge to deliver good growth, reform government and public services and help lift standards of living. Our blog explores the most pressing challenges being faced in the public sector today, towards 2015 and beyond.

28 May 2015

As the momentum behind devolution grows, are local areas ready to deliver?

By Jonathan House Following hot on the heels of yesterday’s Queen’s Speech, tomorrow the interim mayor for Greater Manchester is expected to be appointed. With a powerful trio of ministers in place –architect of the City Deals Greg Clark MP as Secretary of State at the Department for Communities, James...

High skilled and resilient: how a strong skills base enables city growth

By Jonathan Bruce and Rebecca Macdonald In the first of a series of blogs exploring which factors lead to good growth, we look at the relationship between skills and the local economy. Since 2012, the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities index has scored a range of UK cities on their...

27 May 2015

How productive will the Queen’s speech prove?

By Nick C Jones This year’s Queen’s Speech not only sets the scene for this Parliamentary term but for 2015 and beyond. And what a pace that has been set! As expected for any new government with a manifesto to implement, the legislative programme is heavy. But will they give...

The Superhead is dead: Long live the Transformational Leader

By Chris Kirk Eric McNulty's fascinating review of new research into the link between charismatic CEO's and company performance has interesting resonance in education systems. As Eric argues, in the business world the link between charisma and performance had already been firmly challenged by the 2002 book, Searching for a...

26 May 2015

Securing the future: where next for public services?

By Nick C Jones So what have we learnt so far about the new government’s approach to public services? With a new minister driving the efficiency and civil service reform agenda, there is sure to be a new momentum but also more difficult choices ahead with £13bn of cuts to...

20 May 2015

The coherence principle: How England’s school system can develop and grow

By Chris Kirk Follow @chrisjameskirk Nicky Morgan’s announcement that ‘coasting’ schools will be put on notice to improve, and then face conversion to an Academy, has met with the expected howls of pain from the left and cries of acclaim from the right. What will really matter in the end...

14 May 2015

Delivering on decentralisation

By Jonathan House With today seeing the Chancellor’s announcement on the City Devolution Bill together with the Core Cities' ‘Devolution Declaration’, it seems that the momentum established behind devolution looks set to continue through this parliament. The appointment of Greg Clark has CLG Secretary of State has largely been met...

22 April 2015

Redefining local government revisited

By Chris Buttress Local authorities are facing challenges on all fronts, with little let up likely over the course of the next parliament. So, how can councils prepare themselves for the road ahead? In 2014, we published ‘Redefining local government’, setting out a six step approach for councils to respond...

21 April 2015

Building a healthcare workforce for 2015 and beyond

By Jane McCarthy, Luisa Bramao Ramos & Shamela Kylassum The scale of the challenge confronting health and social care means that 2015 and beyond must be a time for bold thinking on the NHS, not least when it comes to its workforce. However, workforce challenges are not unique to the...

14 April 2015

Skilled for the future. Simplifying the UK skills system

By Michael Kane The skills system in the UK has been the subject of significant change over the last 10 years, with new funding agencies and policies, new qualifications and a greater focus on employers’ needs. However, the UK is still facing a shortage of skills - a fifth of...

Transforming health and social care in the Midlands: next steps on integration

By Andy Ford & Mike Wallace The devolution of Greater Manchester’s £6bn health and social care budget has re-ignited the debate on integrated care. However, integration alone will not lead to the transformational change that’s needed in our health and care services. We recently hosted chief executives from four local...

13 April 2015

Local State We're In: plugging the digital gap

By Jonathan House Local government increasingly recognises that digital can play a transformative role in reshaping services and redefining the relationship between council and citizen. However, our annual survey, the Local State We're In, highlights a significant gap between digital rhetoric and a reality that councils must work to plug....

07 April 2015

Are local enterprise partnerships ready to deliver?

By Ray Mills With the election fast approaching, I recently chaired a discussion on the future of one of the 2010 government’s delivery vehicles – Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). This was held on the fringes of the LEP annual conference in London. Since their inception, LEPs have emerged as a...

31 March 2015

Local State We’re In: spotlight on Governance

By Claire Halstead The findings of our recent Local State We’re In 2015 survey highlight that local authorities are facing continued pressure and a challenging and uncertain longer term outlook. In our experience, this will have a significant impact on the ability of authorities to maintain control over services and...

Full-speed ahead: Leeds - Leading not pleading

By Clement Walsh Against the backdrop of a cross-party commitment to further devolution and the prospect of new investment in major national infrastructure projects - such as HS2 and new airport and road capacity – we’re hosting a series of roundtables across the UK with the Smith Institute to discuss...

30 March 2015

Starting with what already works: shaping an enabling culture in the NHS

By Raj Bhamber and Dame Carol Black The Five Year Forward View should shape a culture that appreciates what works, says Dame Carol Black and Raj Bhamber The media spotlight on the NHS Five Year Forward View when published in October brought a welcome cheer. Too often the NHS has...

26 March 2015

Managing public pay: challenges for the next parliament

By John Hawksworth Despite cuts of around half a million central and local government jobs over the past five years, the public sector still employs more than 5 million people, or just over a sixth of the total UK workforce. The public sector paybill accounts for around half of general...

Thinking differently about youth unemployment

By Damian Riley and James Langford Over the past three months, we have explored how reducing youth unemployment could contribute to improving living standards in the UK, analysing both the issues for the UK and the four key principles for intervention design, drawn from international comparison: personalising interventions to target...

24 March 2015

The politics of aid in the run-up to the General Election

By Tom Pedrick Follow @thomas_pedrick At our recent international development conference we convened a panel of think-tanks, to compare the aid-related priorities of the three main political parties. The topic of overseas aid may not be a vote-winner, but it can still arouse strong reactions - according to PwC’s Citizens’...

23 March 2015

Five tests for the future government

By Nick C Jones As we head into the formal election campaign, what challenges will the next government face, whatever its complexion? And how might this impact on voters as they exercise real power when putting their cross on the ballot paper? Firstly, while there’s cross-party agreement on the need...