The Coalition government has embarked on a wide-ranging and far-reaching programme of change to the UK welfare system. Several components of the agenda have already been implemented. Some are still to come. The Coalition is pursuing policies on welfare benefits, rents and social housing development that have potentially significant implications both for household poverty and the future of housing providers. [Read more...]
Yesterday I scooted over to Newport to the Office of National Statistics to give a presentation as part of a lunchtime seminar on Universal Credit.
The text accompanying my presentation is available on my page at Scribd.com. You can access it below the fold. [Read more...]
The publication of Statutory Instruments is not, if I’m absolutely honest, the sort of thing to which I pay much attention. However, this week The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012 was published. It comes into effect early next month. And it is going to be of considerable significance.
Following the Localism Act local authorities are now allowed, for the first time, to discharge their homelessness duty into the private rented sector without the applicant’s consent. This change brought the Government under pressure to lay down some conditions regarding the nature of the accommodation that can be used for this purpose. And that’s what the SI does. [Read more...]
The Information Tribunal delivered its decision last week on the release of the risk registers associated with the Health & Social Care Bill. The Information Tribunal concluded that the Information Commissioner was correct in the initial decision that the release of the transitional risk register (TRR) – but not the strategic risk register – was in the public interest. And the Government was wrong to refuse to release it. I’m surprised that this decision did not attract more attention. Perhaps there’s a sense that the battle has already been lost. I understand the Department of Health is considering whether there are any legal grounds for challenging the Tribunal’s decision.
The IT’s report is not perhaps the most engaging of documents, but there is quite a bit of interest in it, beyond the fact that the Tribunal found against the Government. [Read more...]
It would appear that Coalition 2.0 is heading for the scrapheap. At least that is what Matt Chorley reported in yesterday’s Independent on Sunday. Last year the Coalition partners were talking about needing a mid-term document to set out a further joint agenda for the second half of this Parliament. They were expecting to have dealt with all the measures in the original coalition agreement. They anticipated being at a bit of a loose end during 2013-15. It looks like that will no longer be necessary. [Read more...]
The central question in the current debate over the Government’s NHS reforms is whether the “listening” exercise taking place during the recently discovered “natural pause” in the legislative process is genuine or symbolic. Concerns that the exercise is cosmetic will only be fuelled by an article in yesterday’s Guardian which cites a letter from David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of the NHS, who suggests that the implementation process should press ahead and that there is a need to “maintain momentum on the ground”.
The article includes a quote from Hamish Meldrum from the BMA who states that the BMA has:
… always maintained that changes in the NHS must not anticipate the legislative process and lead to irreversible decisions.
I’ve no idea whether the BMA have always maintained this position. But this quote highlights something very significant about the way policy is currently developing in this field. [Read more...]