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Thousands of patients dying thanks to poor management in the NHS

The Times reported yesterday that the National Patient Safety Agency has found that thousands are dying every year thanks to poor communication between hospital staff, faulty equipment and a lack of skills. Politicians managing from Whitehall without proper management experience and subject knowledge cannot understand what is really going on... Read more...

Public service reform to stall - what public service reform?

An interesting article by Nicholas Timmins in the Financial Times today looks at whether public service reform will stall under Gordon Brown: "The odd straw in the wind has been spotted, captured and analysed to death for any sign of a repudiation of the previous administration's approach.Does Alan Johnson's declaration... Read more...

ID Cards: Already Burning Money

The memory- and the cost- linger on... You may have thought that the £19bn ID cards project (see BOM's cost primer here) was safely asleep in the long stinging nettles, but it isn't. It's alive and well and already costing us plenty.Computing reports:"The government has spent £53m on consultants for... Read more...

Teaching To The Test

Teaching to the test: getting better all the time Before you read this blog, you need to click here and watch the video.ResultsPlus. Glossy? Certainly. Slick? Yup. Blood boiling? Arrrrgggghhhh.We're all surely aware by now that the government's regime of school management via tests and tables has some serious shortcomings.In... Read more...

Splish Splash Splosh!

Does anyone have a clue where we're heading? Halfway across a severely swollen river is not a good time to let the tiller go. But that of course is precisely what Cap'n Alan Johnson is doing on the good ship NHS. Whereas Commissar Hewitt had it hard about, Cap'n Al... Read more...

Red Tape Industry

Quite apart from taxes, government imposes a further huge burden on us in the form of regulation.One part of this- although only one part- is red tape. Successive governments routinely promise to slash it, but somehow the slashing never seems to inflict much more than a mild scratch. Even worse,... Read more...

Non-job of the week

This week we turn our gaze away from Tower Shamlets and the other one party states of East London and cast our watchful eye on the South West for our non-job of the week.  Gloucestershire County Council has applied for a spin doctor for their waste department.  Yes, rubbish needs... Read more...

Encouraging words from Cameron on trade

For far too long the language and rhetoric of international trade agreements has been depressingly mercantilist.  If one country agrees to reduce its protectionist measures it is talked of as a "concession" and a "sell-out", whilst politicians and diplomats who dogmatically cling onto their ridiculous trade policies are saluted and commended for defending their... Read more...

Worthless government pledges to cut red tape

Last year, Gordon Brown committed the Government to reduce the total cost to businesses and charities of regulation from £20 billion a year to £16 billion a year by 2010. In response, Whitehall departments have drawn up plans to abolish unnecessary regulations and reform others. But a National Audit Office... Read more...

Whitehall paying over the odds for outsiders

An interesting piece by Sue Cameron in today's Financial Times reveals how outsiders recruited into the top ranks of the civil service are being paid up to £100,000 more than the advertised top rate for the job, and that £6 million a year is being spent on commercial headhunters whose... Read more...

Postman Pat-ernalism needs reform

News broke this morning in the Daily Mirror that Royal Mail had agreed to alter its pension’s policy; forcing workers to put in five years more graft in order to claim their pension. Despite this being taken from a ‘company document’ seen by the Mirror, Royal Mail this afternoon denied... Read more...

More congestion...

The future may look a little brighter today for those in the West Midlands who are in opposition to costly road pricing proposals (Birmingham Post, 24.07.07), as the region will now not be amongst the first to pioneer the plans. However, we mustn’t be fooled into thinking that this was... Read more...

Government doesn't have a magic wand

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and last book in the Harry Potter series, has just become Britain’s fastest selling book in history, beating the record held by the previous Harry Potter book. Given that level of market penetration, it is perhaps not surprising that commentators, reviewers and... Read more...

A Night At The Fag Packet Olympics

As we've blogged many times, the 2012 London Olympics is a classic of fag packet planning. And that original £2.375bn budget was almost certainly dreamed up over an evening playing the Withnail drinking game down at the Stoat and Weasel.Last week the National Audit Office produced its second report on... Read more...

Temping Docs

Hands up anyone who'd like to try a brain op We've blogged before about how the NHS wastes vast amounts of money through employing expensive- and quite possibly poorly qualified- temps (eg here).Now it turns out that hospitals are having to employ hundreds of locums to cover for shortages caused... Read more...

Cost of Government Day: Monday 23 July

The TPA has extended the concept of Tax Freedom Day, long championed by the Adam Smith Institute and now an established part of the political calendar (in 2007 it fell on 1 June) and can now provide an estimate of the Cost of Government Day.  This is the date in... Read more...

Weekly Waste Round-Up 68

Hope you guys are insured... In the news this week:Hull Council's insurance fiasco cost £200m- "Taxpayers face a massive bill to repair flood damage in Hull after the local council admitted that its properties were not insured. Officials at Kingston-upon-Hull City Council revealed that most of the city's 28,500 council... Read more...

Police (In)Efficiency

On Burning our Money we have always doubted claims that our £17bn pa police are efficient. The latest report into police funding from the Home Affairs Select Committee spells out precisely why we are right to be sceptical. Read more...

Spinning Crime

Aide memoire for crime stats This week the Home Office published its latest annual crime statistics. The question is whether anyone takes them seriously.The reality is that hardly any of us believe all those government claims that crime is plummeting, or even this year's more measured assurance that "crime is... Read more...

Delays for road pricing

Councils in the West Midlands have failed to come to any agreement on the prospect of a road pricing scheme for the region and, according to today’s newspapers (Express & Star, 20th July), are set to miss their deadline. Proposals have already cost £4 million to draft and look set... Read more...

Audit warns of more Olympic Overspend

A report form the National Audit Office today warns that the costs of the already over-budget Olympic Games could increase further.  Funding of Olympic venues, construction price inflation and the Olympic Park were areas the NAO highlighted as leading to possible increasing costs.  At £9.3 billion, the 2012 Olympics is... Read more...

Ambulances for the obese

West Midlanders who live in fear of ill health, not because of hesitations about local treatment, but due to worrying if their sheer weight will thwart their transit to hospital, needn’t fear any longer. The West Midlands Ambulance Service is now fully equipped for those who weigh in at 19... Read more...

A Viking revolt over indirect taxes?

In 787 AD, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Britain experienced its first ever Viking raid when a group of warriors sailed from Norway to Devon. On arriving in Devon, they were mistaken for merchants by a royal official, and so asked to pay a tax on their goods. The Vikings... Read more...

We're all going to get sent to Climate Camp...

...if we don't sign up to big new taxes on hard-up manufacturing industry and good old family holidays. I saw this flyer at the Prince Charles cinema off London's Leicester Square; at first I thought it was a macabre joke: Looking at the reverse it appears it is a protest... Read more...

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