Category Archives: Spending

Local Government Strategies in an Age of Austerity

by Colin R. Talbot and Carole L. Talbot[1] University of Manchester Originally published in a CIPFA/PMPA pamphlet here (April 2011). Some of the data may be slightly dated, but the thrust of the argument remains valid and even more topical as a … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Lord O’Donnell Suggests …. that someone rather like him should be put in charge of vetting government policy. Seriously?

Lord O’Donnell, former head of the civil service, has put forward some ideas for better scrutiny of proposed government policies. According to a report in Civil Service World: Among ideas to prevent “bad policies” from being introduced, [O’Donnell] said a … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Parliament, Public Administration, Spending, Whitehall | 2 Comments

The Scrutiny of Public Spending: Margaret Hodge, Robert Chote, and Amyas Morse, amongst others, to discuss how Britain manages public money.

We are organising a series of debates and discussions about how Britain manages public money.

Posted in Accountability, Parliament, Public Administration, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

Top Twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts

Here’s the top twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts (so far) and the number of views. This doesn’t include numbers for posts that have been republished by Public Finance, Public Servant, LSE Policy and Politics and the Huffington Post.

Posted in Accountability, Communities, Development, Education, International, Local government, NHS, Parliament, Performance, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Riots, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Dave says we’re headed in the right direction, what do you think?

PM David Cameron claims we are ‘headed in the right direction’. Below are the latest headline figures from the Office of National Statistics website on the state of our national finances (so all their words, not mine, I’ve just added a … Continue reading

Posted in Accountability, Political Economy, Politics, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

’You Can’t Borrow Your Way Out of a Debt Crisis’. Er, actually you can Mr Osborne. It depends….

One of George Osborne’s favourite mantra’s is the above one. Unfortunately it’s based on a rather school-boy understanding of economics. Of course everyone is familiar with the personal debt spiral. Adam and Eve enjoy the good life. They spend a … Continue reading

Posted in Political Economy, Politics, Spending, Whitehall | 3 Comments

#London2012: Private Schools and Public Sports (or how I got humiliated at rugby)

  The disproportionate representation of UK private schools (confusingly called ‘public schools’) amongst Britain’s Olympians has been causing some controversy. For some on the right this highlights the superiority of private sector schooling over state provision – especially as a … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Education, Politics, Spending | 4 Comments

policy@manchester launches

Public policy community comes together 12 Jul 2012 The University of Manchester has established Policy@Manchester as a network bringing together a range of academics working in a variety of public policy areas.

Posted in Accountability, International, NHS, Parliament, Performance, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Surpluses, Budgets, Parliament, and Accountability Down Under (Australia): some random thoughts

I am in Australia as “Accenture-Crawford School Distinguished Visiting Professor” at Australian National University in Canberra. Many thanks to both Accenture and the excellent Crawford School of Public Policy. I’ve been doing a fascinating series of meetings, seminars and lectures … Continue reading

Posted in International, Political Economy, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

The Public Government of Public Money – not yet, not by a long way

  Three decades ago two American academics published a superb analysis of the way in which British government’s made finance decisions provocatively entitled “The Private Government of Public Money” (Heclo and Wildavsky, 1981). Has the Coalition accidentally given birth to … Continue reading

Posted in Parliament, Politics, Public Administration, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Performance, Public Administration, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

The Work Programme: individual versus systemic outcomes

The government is very proud of its Work Programme. It is especially proud of the fact that the WPs private sector providers are only paid on the basis of individual outcomes – do the participants get a “long term” job.

Posted in Public Administration, Spending, Whitehall | 8 Comments

My Top Ten (most read) WhitehallWatch posts of 2011 (so far)

Posted in International, Performance, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Academy Schools Funding System Fails – quelle surprise

I have been predicting for some time that some of the big structural changes to public services are likely to destabilise the financial systems in health, education and local government. So it comes as no surprise that tens of millions … Continue reading

Posted in Public Administration, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | Leave a comment

Greek Deficit and Tax Evasion

One issue that keeps coming up around the Greek crisis is the degree of tax evasion. In the slide below I report the average Greek budget deficit per year on a decade by decade basis since the 1960s (figures on … Continue reading

Posted in International, Political Economy, Politics, Public Administration, Spending | 4 Comments

My Big Fat Greek Government?

The Greek crisis has given neo-liberals a a great opportunity to criticize ‘big government’ Hellenic style – they see the problem as a Big Fat Greek Government (apologies to the film of nearly that name). But as usual the truth … Continue reading

Posted in International, Politics, Public Administration, Public Management, Spending | 2 Comments

Universities and the logic of public interest

  My trade union, UCU, is campaigning against the establishment of “private” universities in the UK. They have a point about the way in which this is being done, which is in my view with reckless disregard for quality and … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

Why Greece is a Basket Case?

An excellent analysis over @ flipchartfairlytales which shows that the root of the Greek crisis is the failure of tax collection and the size of the shadow economy. My comment was:

Posted in International, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | 1 Comment

Mis-Placing NHS Funds?

The NHS has traditionally been organized, like most public services, on the basis of place. This has been both a control and a planning mechanism. It is a planning mechanism because it uses available information about the demographic and health … Continue reading

Posted in Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | 7 Comments

NHS Reform: Who’s Gonna Count the Beans?

Here’s a simple question about the NHS reforms – who’s going to count the beans? Bean counting gets a bad press, but as soon as someone fails to count the public sector beans – for which read “the taxpayers money” … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Public Management, Spending, Whitehall | 4 Comments