Public services news round-up: October 2017

Ever so slightly belatedly, here’s October’s news in the public services sphere.

Living Wage Foundation report on low pay in the sector

It’s Living Wage Week, and the Living Wage Foundation has launched its report into low pay in the sector. NCVO provided the data on the current state of low pay in the report, and its findings have implications for funders, commissioners, and the wider sector.

Grants and procurement

The government has published grants data from two departments as part of its grants register. While this is welcome progress, there are problems with the consistency of the data and the availability of company and charity numbers that make it harder to use, as Civil Society’s Kirsty Weakley points out. Meanwhile, DFID have introduced a new code of conduct for its suppliers to try to reduce instances of charities being used as ‘bid candy’ during its procurement processes.

The European Commission has also published a new public procurement initiative intended to ensure that procurements are carried out more efficiently and allows more room for innovation. The overall aim of the initiative is that member states and stakeholders focus on the overall benefit to society of public procurements rather than solely considering the lowest priced tender, and is likely to take the form of further guidance within existing EU procurement frameworks and legislation.

Storytelling in the health sector

NHS England and Keele University are running a research project looking at storytelling and the use of narrative across all health and social care related sectors and organisations including voluntary and charitable sectors. They’re particularly interested in existing approaches – if you want to share your organisation’s view, you can contact Keele University or Rachel White at the NHS.

On a similar note, the Kings Fund have published a short video explaining how the NHS works in England, which is a great way of getting up to speed with how powers and funding have been devolved in recent years.

Looking for trouble

Children England have published a blog by Stephen Crossley of Northumbria University, summarising his PhD research into the troubled Troubled Families programme, with some interesting insights into how not to design public service interventions and payment by results programmes.

Safeguarding consultation

The Department for Education have published a consultation about proposed changes to statutory guidance on child safeguarding (PDF, 1.7MB), which will be relevant to all charities running children’s services. The main changes are around the way in which multi-agency safeguarding ‘partners’ (eg local authorities, chief officers of police, and clinical commissioning groups) will replace local safeguarding children’s boards (LSCBs).


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Michael was our senior policy officer until January 2019, covering issues around charity tax and finance (including social investment) and the impact of the economy on the sector.

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