On reinventing the wheel

“If you wait around long enough, the old ideas come around again presented as new ones, largely because the current civil servants weren’t around when this was tried last time”, I remember my former Director of Public Health lamenting, “after a while you realise that everything goes in cycles”. I used to look at him […]

On local government in Covid19

Despite a decade of financial emasculation, Local Government has stepped up in the wake of Covid19. Those of us who have ever worked in local government never doubted it would, despite resourcing and capacity already being stretched thin. Not only does local government tend to attract people who want to support others and help make […]

On levelling up

This blog is an initial response to the recent publication ‘Levelling up our communities: a new social covenant’ by Danny Kruger MP. Let me start by saying that, on the surface, anything that raises the debate around the importance of community is a good thing. On this measure, the recent report by Danny Kruger MP […]

On pandemic foresight

These are tumultuous times, as I am now closing out my second month of working form home in a Covid19-driven lockdown. Times during which the pandemic has already upended our individual and collective anticipation for what a good life holds in store and one in which global warming continues to cast a darkening shadow over […]

On public and private sector innovation

Financial innovation in the public sector might come as a surprise. We normally don’t think of the public sector as an innovative place. If there is a cliché that comes to mind, it’s probably a creaking bureaucracy, struggling to keep up with the modern world. The reality is different. The RSA recently partnered with the global […]

On civic models of basic income

How can new models of Basic Income provide not only a safety net for those who need it but also a springboard to a better life? Talk about the concept of universal basic income (UBI) and the various models that are emerging in different parts of the world is becoming increasingly mainstream. The pressures of […]

On (dis)investing in prevention

The recent review into Sure Start children’s centres offers a window into a complex system: early years services. They were designed to bring a range of such service sunder one roof and improve access, often in the more disadvantages communities in the UK. Indeed, in my local government role I sat on a board for a […]

On commissioning in complexity

“Probation is a complex social service, and it has proved well-nigh impossible to reduce it to a set of contractual requirements.” Such was the conclusion of HM Chief Inspector of Probation when the government announced this week that they were re-nationalising the delivery of some probation services. If outsourcing led to improved outcomes at lower […]

On basic income as a means to an end

How can we change the welfare system to help people solve their individual challenges? We’ve been exploring how a basic income could change the way welfare works. We wanted to see how a basic income could be designed in way that helps create a community that supports people.  This needed us to hear people’s voices […]