Skip to site navigation

Press Release: Inaugural Lecture by the former Cabinet Secretary Lord (Gus) O’Donnell

23 April 2013

Building a Better Government: the Political and Constitutional Reforms necessary to build Better Government

After a lifetime in government ending up at its apex as Cabinet Secretary, Gus O’Donnell has come to the sobering conclusion that Britain suffers from deep rooted bad policies and bad ways of governing.  In his inaugural lecture as a Visiting Professor for University College London’s department of political science on Wednesday 24 April, Lord O’Donnell presents his radical critique. Among his reforms:

· A new Office of Taxpayer Responsibility (OTR) would join the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) in costing and evaluating new policies and each major party’s election manifesto.

· A smarter bureaucracy would make greater use of the behavioural sciences to assess the needs and responses of the public for better services.

· A new agency, along the lines of the Canadian Public Tenders, is needed  to ensure the taxpayer doesn't miss out commercially in negotiations with the private sector.

· An emphasis on improving wellbeing, rather than just meeting targets, could lead to better policies in areas like health and welfare, while living within budget constraints.

· Politicians should turn their mind to reform of the political decision making process. Should we improve training and development opportunities for backbenchers to prepare them for ministerial office?  Should there be a way for the centre of government to assess the performance of departments at the political as well as the policy level?

· We need to encourage people into politics who reflect better our society. More diversity would lead to policies more suited to our diverse society. Is there a way of releasing the stranglehold of the main parties in, for example, elections for local mayors?

· To implement his incisive critique Gus O’Donnell declares: “We need to build a consensus for change that will be embraced across the political spectrum. The goal is a noble one: to increase wellbeing sustainably and reduce inequality. Better politics for a better Britain.”

Lord O’Donnell will deliver his lecture at  6pm on  Wednesday  24 April in UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, Gower Street London WC1E 6BT.

Please register for this event at: http://lordodonnell.eventbrite.co.uk

Join the Debate

Blog

News

What follows the referendum: negotiating Scottish independence, or delivering Devo More

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:00:37 +0000

Earlier this year Alan Trench gave a lecture at the University of Ulster’s Belfast campus about what might follow the vote in the Scottish referendum. In this article, he picks out the key points. The full speech is available on the Social Science Research Network here, or can be downloaded directly here.  Perhaps the most important and novel part of […]

Read more...

The latest Special Advisers reshuffle

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 09:00:59 +0000

A new book Special Advisers: Who they are, what they do and why they matter by Ben Yong and Robert Hazell is to be launched tonight at the Institute for Government. In this post, Ben Yong draws on the research conducted for the book to analyse the latest Spads reshuffle. ‘Won’t somebody think of the spads?!’ said […]

Read more...

10 things you need to know about what will happen if Scotland votes Yes

Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:00:13 +0000

As the Scottish independence referendum draws closer the outcome is hard to predict. Both Westminster politicians and the wider public are asking what – in practical terms – would happen if the Scots were to vote Yes. Robert Hazell offers a 10-point overview of what the road to independence might look like.   The timetable 1. Scotland […]

Read more...
Mailing List

Connect with us

RSSFlickr

Footer menu