How DLUHC and DWP mark their homeworkPosted: October 29, 2021 Filed under: Civil service, Fire safety, Homelessness, Housebuilding, Rough sleeping | Tags: DLUHC, DWP, Spending Review 2021 Leave a comment
With a new secretary of state, a new department and a new name, what are the government’s real priorities when it comes to housing?
Some big clues dropped in an intriguing supplementary document published alongside the Budget and Spending Review this week.
Spending Review 2021 – Policy outcomes and metrics is meant to tie spending and performance together. Each department has an Outcome Delivery Plan that sets out their priority outcomes and the metrics they will use to measure their performance against them. Effectively, this is their homework how they want it to be marked and the measures used are highly revealing.Read the rest of this entry »
Return of the housing ministryPosted: January 9, 2018 Filed under: Civil service, Housebuilding | Tags: Alok Sharma, Reshuffle, Said Javid Leave a comment
Originally published as a column for Inside Housing on January 10.
What’s in a name? Only time will tell how important the change of departmental moniker will be but it was surely the minimum that Theresa May needed to do to show that housing now ranks as a top priority for her government.
The man in charge may still be the same (Sajid Javid) but both the creation of the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the order of the words in the title are significant.
By my reckoning this is the first time since 1970 that the word ‘housing’ has appeared in the title of the organisation and the secretary of state responsible for it.
In the 38 years since the Ministry of Housing and Local Government was abolished to create the Department of the Environment the name has been changed again and again to reflect different briefs and priorities.
Between Peter Walker back in 1970 and Sajid Javid in 2018 we’ve had 28 different housing ministers of middle and junior rank, a handful of them with the right to attend Cabinet but not vote in it.
Helping handPosted: February 9, 2015 Filed under: Affordable housing, Civil service, Help to Buy, Housebuilding | Tags: George Osborne Leave a comment
So it turns out that subsidising housebuilders may not have been the best way to boost housebuilding after all.
It’s bad enough that even developers are now arguing that the government has made too many concessions to them. Now it turns out that George Osborne was warned by his own civil servants that Help to Buy could end up going to homes that would have been built anyway.
I’m catching up on a week’s worth of news that shakes the twin pillars of government policy on housebuilding and home ownership: cutting ‘red tape’ to make sites more viable for new homes and funding equity loan and guarantee schemes to persuade people to buy them.
-> Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge 2, my blog for Inside Housing
Keeping it in the familyPosted: November 1, 2014 Filed under: Civil service, Welfare reform | Tags: family, Iain Duncan Smith 2 Comments
How would the government’s own policies fare under the new families test?
The test published by Iain Duncan Smith will apply to all new laws and policies ‘to make sure they support strong and stable families’. It follows a speech by David Cameron in August promising family impact assessments of all domestic policies as part of a wider speech about family-friendly policy.
As I blogged at the time, Cameron was careful to avoid giving the impression that he only meant traditional families. However, his speech exposed a huge gap between rhetoric and reality on everything from the benefit cap to the bedroom tax, out-of-area homelessness placements to the private rented sector and troubled families to wider welfare reform.
So who better to set out the detail than a secretary of state famed for his ability to believe he is right regardless of the inconvenient facts?
-> Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing
Shuffling the deckPosted: July 16, 2014 Filed under: Bedroom tax, Civil service, Housebuilding, Planning, Universal credit | Tags: Brandon Lewis, Eric Pickles, Iain Duncan Smith Leave a comment
So housing seems to have kept the politicians who should have gone and lost the one who was making a difference.
Speculation ahead of the reshuffle suggested that Eric Pickles and Iain Duncan Smith would leave their posts as part of the cull of middle aged men in the Cabinet. True, some of the stories seemed a bit thin (a woman with a posh accent overheard talking on the phone didn’t seem like much to go on) but I lived in hope. I also looked forward to the DWP press release arguing that it proved that universal credit is ‘on track and on schedule’.
Instead it’s business as usual at the top of their two departments with a shake-up lower down the ministerial scale. After just over nine months in the job, Kris Hopkins is now the former housing minister and is shunted sideways into local government. Brandon Lewis moves from that job and gets a promotion to minister of state for housing and planning. Penny Mordaunt comes in as junior minister responsible for coastal communities.
-> Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing
Out of creditPosted: September 5, 2013 Filed under: Civil service, Universal credit Leave a comment
Take your pick of today’s official criticisms of the universal credit. It was over-ambitious and high risk, it had no clear plan and it has offered poor value for money.
Has the National Audit Office (NA0) ever delivered a more damning verdict on a key government policy than the one it has just published?
Think of just about every rumour you’ve heard about the IT system, every assumption about the chaos behind the scenes and every time you reacted sceptically to DWP assurances that the latest changes to the timetable were all part of the original plan, and you will find them all in the report published today.
Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing
Never knowingly undernudgedPosted: May 1, 2013 Filed under: Civil service, Economics, History, Labour market 3 Comments
So-called ‘John Lewis-style mutuals’ are (depending on your point of view) the future of the public sector or a euphemism for privatisation. However, the expression may have some unexpected implications for the government.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude launched a competition today to find a commercial partner for the government’s Behavioural Insights Team – or Nudge Unit. He described the move as ‘employee-led’ as the 12 Nudge staff have led the process and will continue to run the organisation. Reports suggest that private companies will be invited to bid for a stake of up to 50 per cent in the new business in return for the government guaranteeing long-term contracts. The staff and the government would also own stakes.
The Nudge Unit is claimed to have already saved the government millions of pounds although it not quite clear how. It hit the headlines for different reasons today when it was revealed to be behind bogus psychometric tests for jobseekers. It is best known to me as the unit that the DCLG failed to consult when it introduced the New Homes Bonus in a bid to change the behaviour of local authorities and I wonder what, if anything, it had to say about the behavioural impacts of welfare reform that the DWP found impossible to quantity.