Analysis and factual trends

Using the UK research base to make better policy

Cover image from CSQ 11

Gareth Davies, Director-General for Business and Science in the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, discuss how academic research can inform better policy-making. The UK’s world-class science and research …

The Spending Review in 1,000 words

Graphic of a hand holding a tablet showing a graph going up

The Chancellor announced the outcome of the Spending Review on 25 November, following months of work by officials and ministers across government. It marks the next phase in the Government’s plans for this Parliament, building on its manifesto commitments. It will be rounded off with the publication of departments’ business plans (Single Departmental Plans) in January.

Improving public sector efficiency to deliver a smarter state

Graphic showing a number of white piggy banks in th shape of pigs, with a larger blue piggy bank behind them all

Stephen Aldridge, Director for Analysis and Data, Angus Hawkins, Assistant Economist, and Cody Xuereb, Economic Adviser, from the Department for Communities and Local Government, write about the Public Sector Efficiency Group’s focus on improving the understanding of public sector efficiency across departments, looking at the trends in and drivers of efficiency and evidence of the scope for improving desired outcomes further.

New Year, new motivation for health changes

Blackboard with lots of new year resolutions written on

We are all too familiar with New Year’s resolutions to stop smoking, drink less alcohol, or exercise more. Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, discusses some of the techniques used to help motivate people to make the healthy changes they need and turn them into longer lasting habits.

Finding out what works in preventing reoffending

Photo of a prisoner in his cell

If you run a rehabilitation programme for people who have committed criminal offences, how do you decide whether it is successful? It seems a simple question, but suppose that you are an organisation with limited resources, working with a specific group of individuals. How can you find the data to compare them to a similar group who have not been through your programme? How can you be confident that the results are not down to chance? In this article, Mark Purver and Helen Williams, from the Ministry of Justice, describe how the Justice Data Lab can provide the necessary expertise to help these organisations measure their success.

Understanding costs to unlock opportunities

Photo of a graph showing decreasing values over the top of a tablet

How do we build a ‘smarter state’, alongside delivering £20 billion worth of consolidation measures? David Allen, Director of Public Spending at HM Treasury and Deputy Head of the Finance Function, and Johannes Wolff, Deputy Director, explain how HM Government Finance is helping the Civil Service rise to the challenge, developing a new way to break down departmental silos, unlock opportunities and put financial management at the heart of decision making.

The Productivity Plan: a route map to a more prosperous nation

The Prime Minister and Chancellor speaking to staff at the Hanson Brickworks

If Britain was to match US levels of productivity, our GDP would be boosted by 31% - equivalent to £21,000 a year for every household in the country. Susan Acland-Hood, Director of the Enterprise & Growth Unit, HM Treasury explains why productivity matters and how the government plans to raise productivity and thus boost our economy by ‘Fixing the Foundations’.

How good are we?

The Civil Service is committed to developing transparent and accountable indicators

In the Civil Service we are constantly trying to improve our performance and the services that we offer to the public. We often use data or research to help measure and improve our own team's or our Department’s performance, but how would we go about measuring the performance of the Civil Service as a whole? The Analysis & Insight team in the Cabinet Office have been exploring this question.