This is a familiar theme over the years

The Public Accounts Committee report raises new concerns about Government spending on consultants & temporary staff, as it is disappointed issues identified in 2010 "have not been properly addressed".  The Report highlights that departments' overall spending on temporary staff has increased by up to 90% since 2011–12 "and specialist temporary staff often cost twice as much as permanent staff".

The Committee is ‘not convinced’ the Cabinet Office has a clear strategy to reduce the skills gap across government, and is concerned deficiencies in departments' workforce planning "means they do not know their future resource needs and will have to resort more often to using consultants and temporary staff".

It calls for clarity on skills development and recommends that, by December 2016, all government departments should produce a strategic workforce plan to cover the next 5 years.  They should also adopt new measures to better ensure temporary staff pay the correct tax.

Filling permanent roles with temporary staff is short-sighted and does nothing to address underlying skills shortages in the civil service, nor to develop its expertise.  However, these resources can cost twice as much as permanent staff and the valuable experience in service delivery they gain during the assignment is lost once the assignment ends and they leave.

Consultants & temporary staff can be a flexible and cost-effective part of the government workforce, for example to provide specialist skills that a department requires for a short period only.   Their use is therefore justified only when it is not feasible for departments to maintain the necessary skills in-house or to borrow those skills from elsewhere within the civil service.

Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Government must bridge skills gap to cut staffing costs

HMRC 'Aspire' to unachievable transformation

Measuring Resource Skills in a Public Sector Organisation

Timing is everything when it comes to successful projects

Time for employers to accept that most professional, technical & managerial jobs need ‘Brains not Brawn’

Want to help change society for the better?

NHS clampdown on staffing agencies saves £ms

NAO:  Use of consultants and temporary staff

PX:  Whitehall Rules! Improving pay & performance in the Civil Service

Clampdown on staffing agencies charging NHS extortionate rates

New measures to help NHS foundation trusts adopt best financial practice

AXELOS:  The universal value of project & programme management skills

Outsource UK:  2016 Budget Impacts on Engagement of Public Sector Temporary Workers


Protecting the Cloud:

How Government Can Secure its Critical Data from the Customer to the Cloud and Back

Cloud adoption is on the increase in the public sector but continues to be hindered by the high risk associated with moving data to the cloud.

Government organisations of all sizes and sectors are seeking solutions to address their cloud computing challenges. Securing the cloud requires a variety of technologies, and no single technology can address every challenge.

This latest guide discusses the unique challenges government faces when moving to the cloud, how these challenges can be overcome and how to protect your critical data from the customer to the cloud and back.

Click here to access this latest White Paper.

As the Bard would put it; ‘To be Traditional or Academy, that is the Question!’

New analysis published recently by the Local Government Association shows that local authority maintained schools continue to perform more highly in Ofsted inspections than academies.   Council leaders are now calling on the Government to withdraw plans to force all schools to become academies by 2022, and allow schools to choose for themselves the most appropriate ways to improve education for their pupils.

Analysis of the grades achieved by all schools under only the current, more rigorous, Ofsted inspection framework – launched in September 2012 – shows that 81% of council-maintained schools are rated as "good" or "outstanding", compared to 73% of academies and 79% of free schools.

Researched Links:

LGA:  New figures reveal council maintained schools continue to outperform academies

LGA responds to academy school reports about plans to convert all schools to academy status

The IPPR describes it as ‘A Bold Decision’, which is usually Civil Service ‘speak’ for ‘unwise’

Academies Show 2016: educational excellence everywhere

Turbocharged academies programme gives better education for 350,000 children

10 facts you need to know about academies

LGA:  Councils call for powers to provide all children with secondary school places

LGA:  Academies should also expand to meet demand for school places

LGA:  Councils warn a lack of academy sponsors could hinder education standards

New school proposals

LGA:  School standards, not structures – say councils

PX:  New research shows Free Schools boost performance of local schools

Academy model may be driving improvement in English schools

Invitation to ‘tool-up’ for better care

People with long-term conditions will be supported to better manage their own health and care needs, thanks to the roll-out of an evidence-based tool over the next 5 years.  NHS England has agreed a deal which will grant nearly 2m people access to more person-centred care as part of its developing Self Care programme.

Local NHS organisations and their partners are being invited to apply for free access to patient activation licences, which will help them assess & build their patients’ knowledge, skills & confidence, empowering people to make decisions about their own health & care.

The Patient Activation Measure (PAM) is a validated tool which captures the extent to which people feel engaged & confident in taking care of their health & wellbeing.  By measuring people’s activation levels through PAM, organisations can ‘meet people where they are’ and tailor support & services to the individual’s needs.

Researched Links:

Nearly 2m patients to receive person-centred support to manage their own care

The Patient Activation Measure: as easy as learning to Salsa

Our role in patient activation – Dr Alf Collins

NHS England:  More time to have your say

NHS England:  Recognising excellence in continence care

When it’s your own care it gets very personal

NAO:  The commissioning of specialised services in the NHS

Some personal care problems can be resolved quickly & cheaply using common sense

NHS England and local councils announce radical power shift as first 10,000 high-need services users gain control of their own integrated health & social care budgets

New measures will hopefully ‘knock them out cold’

Cold callers will no longer be able to hide or disguise their phone numbers as Government continues to crack down on nuisance calls.  From 16 May 2016, direct marketing companies registered in the UK will need to display their phone numbers when making unsolicited phone calls - even if their call centres are based abroad.

This latest move by Government follows news that a substantial number of fines totalling £895,000 have been issued by the ICO.  In 2015, this Government made it easier to fine nuisance callers by removing the need for consumers to prove that unwanted marketing calls were causing substantial distress & damage.   Companies can risk fines of up to £2m from Ofcom and a further £500,000 from the ICO if they continue to bombard consumers with unwanted calls.

Researched Links:

DCMS:  Cold callers to be forced to display phone numbers under new Government plans

Crackdown, collaboration & court action: how we’re working to stop nuisance calls

Firm fined for cold calling people registered with the TPS

Nuisance call companies warned to expect more fines in 2016

ICO issues fines totalling £170,000 to cold call blocking companies

Clampdown on rogue claims management companies

Cold calling company fined for marketing products designed to block its own cold calls

ICO continues crackdown on nuisance calls as energy company fined £45,000

SME Supplier Locator update...

UK Government and public sector spend with SME’s is continually on the increase and by 2020, it is the stated intent of Cabinet Office that £1 of every £3 spent on government contracts goes to SME’s. The past 5 years have seen government make a priority of getting money through its supply chain into the hands of SMEs, by both setting targets and introducing new procurement mechanisms.

Against this backdrop, the WiredGov Supplier Locator service has been developed specifically to embrace the SME Agenda and provide the ideal platform for SME’s to promote their services, solutions, accreditation and success stories directly to our ever increasing audience across all government and public sector verticals and Tier 1 suppliers.

Click here to find out more and view this week’s new arrivals to the SME Supplier Locator service. 

Doing more with the same or less
A microsite showcasing examples where councils in England have saved money & improved services for residents by managing demand has been launched by the LGA.  Councils are facing the twin challenge of funding reductions and increasing demand on their services.  This resource equips councils with the knowledge & tools they need to manage demand effectively.  It demonstrates how councils are changing their relationship with residents to better understand & manage demand.
Researched Links:

LGA - Demand management microsite for councils launched

Better behaviour costs less

LGA:  Managing customer demand

Demand Management - Good Practice Wales

A New Model for Public Services - University of Birmingham

Socitm briefing: ICT and the demand management response to funding cuts

Socitm briefing: reduce demand, don't just manage it efficiently

Public Finance:  How to manage rising demand for local public services ...

Guardian:  By 2020, public services will be about managing demand not supply

Managing Demand - Collaborate

Managing Demand: Building Future Public Services - RSA

Why Demand Management is important to local government ...

Changing the Game - iMPOWER

The Yanks have come
The 2016 Transatlantic Practice Exchange started recently, with the arrival of Rachel Yoder to learn about youth homelessness in England from Depaul UK.
Researched Links:

Homeless Link:  Transatlantic Practice Exchange 2016: let the learning begin...

Different countries, similar problems, transferable solutions

How better’ is often the unasked question when ‘tonight’s homeless’ is the immediate problem

Overcoming entrenched or repeat homelessness

Good intentions being duplicated?

Can you help stop the endless repeats?
Performance Live (working title) is a partnership between Arts Council England and BBC Arts in association with Battersea Arts Centre. They want to hear ideas for live performance – including theatre, dance, comedy, spoken word, live art & everything in between for BBC television.  Sound like something you could apply for?  The deadline for submissions is 10am Thursday 19 May 2016.

ACE:  Callout for creative live performance ideas for BBC television

We have to have it, so better it is done in ‘best’ way

The Institute for Government (IfG), Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) are launching a project to look at how they can improve the process around budgets and tax policy-making.  The IfG will contribute its understanding of policy-making and Whitehall processes, the CIOT its extensive practitioner expertise and the IFS its deep knowledge and analysis of fiscal policy.

The aim is to work together to produce a clear set of recommendations to the Treasury, Opposition and stakeholders on how to improve the UK tax-policy making process. The project will report around the time of the 2016 Autumn Statement.  They are keen to draw on as wide a range of views as possible.  If you would like to contribute thought/ideas, please email tax@instituteforgovernment.org.uk by 30 May.

Researched Links:

IFG:  New project on tax policy-making

IPPR Scotland: Fresh figures reveal how much tax parties' plans will raise

Most taxpayers unaware of important changes to the tax system

IFS - Time for tax reform

Tax Advisory Group discusses emerging tax policy ideas

Welsh Tax Powers - Purpose, Principles & Priorities published

Taxation of the Digital Economy: High-level Expert Group presents final report

UK plans major boost to tax collection in developing countries

IEA:  Britain should embrace tax havens, new research shows

Start-Ups ‘all in a twitter’ about free tickets
techUK is holding a Twitter competition for start-ups to win 1 of 10 tickets to our flagship public sector event, #techUKPS2030. The winners will gain free access to the event, which offers the opportunity to meet potential partners & customers and learn about the potential for tech to drive innovation in public services.  To apply, retweet this techUK Tweet before midnight on Wednesday 4 May:

techUK:  Free tickets to #techUKPS2030 for start-ups


 More contributions to the EU Referendum

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;

Researched Links:

Vote Leave - the campaign for a Leave vote in the EU referendum

Britain Stronger In Europe

Open Europe

Home Secretary’s speech on the UK, EU and our place in the world

BIS:  TTIP: Separating myth from fact

PC&PE:  Committee unanimously agrees EU referendum analysis

EU News:  Dijsselbloem wants simpler budget rules for eurozone

PC&PE:  Government must act now to reduce EU penalties

Migration Watch:  Net migration from the EU may have been undercounted by 50,000 a year

RUSI:  Northern Ireland’s Delicate Peace Process at Risk Should the UK Leave the EU

TUC: Brexit could put millions of people at greater risk of accident or injury at work

10DS:  On Europe even we can agree: for British workers it’s better in - article by David Cameron and Brendan Barber

EU News:  Markets in financial instruments: Negotiations to start on one-year delay

Editor’s Note:  We suggest readers monitor the ‘News’ sections of the 2 campaign sites for the 2 differing views.  The WGPlus newsletter will mainly limit itself to highlighting ‘normal’ EU-related news, plus Think Tank items, PC&PE reports, etc.


Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the

Newsletter Archive

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:

Manchester and Sheffield quadrupled in size between 1801 and 1851, during Britain's rail revolution, and Bradford grew eightfold. Kicking off our new series, Connecting Britain, Lord Adonis explains how the arrival of HS3 could be similarly transformative.
Journalist Susanna Rustin analyses the scepticism surrounding government's transport plans in the north, and on Tuesday 28 June we'll be hosting a seminar in Manchester about how far economic growth in the north depends on transport. Register for the event here.

Connecting Britain
Lord Adonis: HS3 could be the rail revolution of the 20th century

Lord Adonis: HS3 could be the rail revolution of the 20th century
During the 1800s, Manchester and Sheffield quadrupled. High-speed rail could bring similar results

Transport for the north: cutting through the scepticism

Transport for the north: cutting through the scepticism
People may doubt Osborne’s ‘northern power sham’, but the north still needs to make its voice heard

Does economic growth in the north depend on transport? Join our free seminar

Does economic growth in the north depend on transport? Join our free seminar
On 28 June the Guardian will be hosting a debate at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry

Also on the network
Devolution will decide the future of the civil service

Devolution will decide the future of the civil service
A new civil service inquiry doesn’t even mention devolution – yet it will determine the shape of Whitehall

Anyone with a problem they can’t solve heads for my library

Anyone with a problem they can’t solve heads for my library
In a world where services and spaces are privatised, what libraries offer seems too good to be true

News in brief
• Whitehall has fewer female bosses under Cameron, says Labour
• Civil servant accused of misleading MPs over Sheffield office closure
• Local authority schools outperform academies, research suggests
• Cameron hints at concession over councils working with schools
• Fire deaths rise by 21% as chiefs issue cuts warning