News & views

We collate and provide links to news and views from around the world to help share ideas and thinking for policy makers, procurers, providers, and any other organisations working in the public sector sphere to deliver better public services.

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Policy News: France to make public procurement of food more sustainable
Didier Guillaume, French minister of Agriculture and Food, has established the National Council for Collective Catering, with a focus on organic, sustainable and nutritional food. At a time when problems caused by unhealthy eating and unsustainable food production are high on governmental agendas, it will be interesting to see if this initiative is picked up internationally (source:
10th May 2019
New Thinking: Crowdsourced data to help air pollution, traffic congestion and infrastructure use
Consumers give away a vast amount of data for free to the apps they use. has thought to harness this to improve air pollution, traffic congestion and other city infrastructure. Data collection is of course voluntary and can be crowdsourced on a very local level to make travel more efficient and the air cleaner. They have received EU funding and are looking to expand and implement new technologies (source:
9th May 2019
Policy News: Australian Government publishes Digital Transformation Strategy
The Australian Government has published a Digital Transformation Strategy aimed at allowing citizens digital access to all government services by 2025. The aim is not only to provide Australian citizens with one easy login to all services but also to encourage more interaction at both national and local levels. Will this be more successful than previous ambitions? Only time will tell. (source:
8th May 2019
New Thinking: Developing a Smart City playbook
The concept of 'smart cities' is becoming ever more widespread, with governments and private organisations using the latest technology to manage urban infrastructure more effectively. A coalition of these organisations has been set up to bring to measure global smart city performance and return on investment, allowing for the creation of a playbook for what an effective smart city looks like; available for free in November 2019 (source:
7th May 2019
Policy News: Canadian Public Services and Procurement unveils modernisation plans
As Public Services and Procurement Canada and Shared Services Canada handle more than 75% of the Canadian government's yearly $22bn worth of purchases, their procurement processes need to be modern, responsive and as simple as possible. The new 'Better Buying' initiatives seek to bring these services fully up to date while also increasing competition, innovation and sustainability. Industry seems to have had a valuable input and early outcomes of several programmes look very positive (source:
6th May 2019
News: UK Space Agency makes archive satellite images available
The UK Space Agency has made its archive of satellite data available to all those working in, or connected to, the public sector. Previously used to study such things as the thickness of polar ice, ocean salinity, and cloud properties, the agency hopes its detailed maps will enable SMEs and others to research and innovate to help the UK public sector overcome the challenges it faces (source:
2nd May 2019
What does a renaissance in public service delivery look like, asks Reform..
The UK govt, if it can un-distract itself from Brexit, is in a unique place to reform the way public services are bought and delivered by the private and third sectors (particularly given a third of public expenditure is spent with them says Reform). Properly considering whether to 'make or buy' services, ensure Social Value outcomes are embedded in service design, up-skilling contracting authorities with technical expertise, and ensuring clarity over the lifetime of a contract - key pillars for good public service (source:
18th April 2019
How big should government really be?
How much money is government wasting on public sector spend? What is the optimal % of GDP that governments can afford to get away with to deliver effective public service? How much tax are we as citizens overspending in reality? This insightful paper lays out some ideas around optimal govt size as a % of GDP (30%) across education, health, administration & posits the key question: 'Is it worth spending 10% of GDP more for limited gain given that it needs to be financed through higher taxes or spending elsewhere?' (source:
3rd April 2019
What it takes to deliver good public service according to New Zealand's State Service Commissioner
Peter Hughes says putting the citizen at the fore, humility, & being driven by a higher purpose is what it takes (plus managerial efficiency & tight commercial acumen). Collaboration between agencies to solve complex problems is also key & this will require greater flexibility in data sharing, budget setting, & staffing. Attitudinal change & a focused public service esprit de corps is what it takes (source:
27th March 2019
World Health Organisation's 2016 Review of Integrated Care is still relevant & a useful source for those mapping the landscape with a view to developing solutions
As populations age, putting stress on healthcare services, the onus for developing scalable integrated models of health & care that enable the elderly to live more independently for longer increases. This WHO review sets out key definitions & possible models that we need to build on further (source:
22nd March 2019
UK government seeks consultation on Social Value in public procurement
UK govt goes to suppliers, public bodies & others involved in procurement to consult on initial Social Value framework through which govt depts will evaluate bids on themes around; diverse supply chains, skills & employment, inclusion & wellbeing, environmental sustainability, & safe supply chains (source:
12th March 2019
The OECD's Observatory of Innovation in the Public Sector
Amongst many things, this provides a fascinating global map of innovation in the public sector: SociaLab in Holland looks at ageing populations; Waterdeep in Portugal optimises water consumption; an Open Data Portal in Spain allows citizen analysis of public sector data; E-residency for location-independent businesses in Estonia builds online trust; a Flood Warning system in Finland builds citizen resilience (source:
5th March 2019
UK Government releases 'The Outsourcing Playbook'
Carillion's collapse provoked a (high-time) outsourcing renaissance to redefine the relationship between supplier & buyer of public services. This 'Playbook' is the charter that sets out key new policies for commercial, finance, & delivery professionals across central govt depts that aim to ensure; projects are comfortable from the start for both sides; robust procurement strategies exist; healthy markets are engaged with; contracts are made with suppliers who want to work with govt; and safety mechanisms are in place for the event of failure (source:
21st February 2019
Report: Institute for Fiscal Studies publishes outlook for UK Government's 2019 Spending Review
Key findings: Departmental spending for 2018-19 is +£40 billion lower than in 2009-10, roughly at 2006-7 levels; DFID experience an increase of 25%, whilst the MOJ and DEFRA a reduction of 40%; borrowing is back to pre financial crisis levels; the NHS will recieve £20.5bn increase by 2023; disorderly Brexit does not necessarily mean a decrease in govt spending, but will mean slower economic growth (source:
20th February 2019
Policy: The UK Justice Secretary gives speech on providing a 'smarter' justice system and a shift towards investing in probation services
The Rt Hon David Gauke questioned the effectiveness of 6 month sentencing over using more modern tech-based interventions in the community (source:
18th February 2019
Blog: Bringing local agencies to work together for shared outcomes
How local agencies can work together to reduce harm and vulnerability in communities
7th February 2019
Innovation: The German Public Value Atlas develops a framework for measuring Social Value
Can other governments look to German private sector best practice for how the public purchase of services could measure Social Value? (source:
1st February 2019
Public Policy: The UK govt announced in November 2018 it will now measure & evaluate Social Value in its procurement of public services, yet Social Value remains undefined
It is one thing to demonstrate Social Value qualitatively. But how should it get measured in competitive environments? Should governments look to develop metrics for Social Value so they can rank the competition? (source:
1st February 2019
Opinion: Food for thought from Arup on what Social Value could mean
In light of the government’s move to evaluate ‘Social Value’ in procurement of public services, the public sector can look to businesses that literally build societal and economic benefit through design (source:
1st February 2019
News: Rupert Soames OBE gives speech introducing the Serco Institute
The purpose of the Institute is to be a forum where academics, civil servants, practitioners, companies small, medium and large, including our competitors, both in this country and abroad, can contribute their ideas.
10th January 2019
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