openDemocracyUK

Delivering effective change

Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
25 November 2010

It's all go at OurKingdom even though it is not yet showing up on the page. Guy Aitchison has started his PhD at UCL and is now taking part in the occupation there, you can follow it on twitter #ucloccupation. I have just come back from listening to Andrew Adonis talking about the delivery of public service reform, at ippr. He talked us through three reforms: Labour's second go at tuition fees, the creation of Teach First and the establishment of Academy Schools (that, he thinks, stopped Tory calls for Grammar Schools).

He sees six lessons for effective reforms:

  1. Being preceded by and learning from failure
  2. Not attempting 'whole-system' change but focusing on the 'next big step'
  3. Drawing on successful examples that can be transplanted or scaled
  4. Having utterly determined political backing
  5. Ensuring that there is deep support amongst those who have to deliver the change, whatever they may say in public
  6. Quickly forming a consensus around their initial success

With this combination, such reforms can then become "transformative". The contrast with the wholesale approach of the Coalition, as it seeks to change everything as fast as possible, is striking. Adonis reminded me of the passage where Burke talks about the need for caution, experience and how all plans can be improved.

I have been re-reading Burke in preparation for a seminar discussion with David Marquand this evening - where I will be holding up the banner of Paine. This too, I hope to report back on.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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