Smarter State launch - PwC and ippr

25 Mar 2009 by Karl Hallam

The launch of PwC and ippr's new Smarter State programme this week pitched Michael Gove (Conservative, Shadow DCSF) against Liam Byrne (Cabinet Office) against each other in the Institute of Materials, in London. There was plenty of light hearted banter about these two being the big brains, but rather a disappointing lack of materials material, considering the location. One clear point of agreement was that a smarter state would be smaller. Another shared view was that more power to innovate should go to the front line.

There was more stress and strain (materials pun 1) when it came to the role of targets. Byrne was using the term guarantee for those targets that will remain, but Gove was suggesting that this was suggestive of less devolution of power than was being suggested in the Government's wider narrative. The split between the two hardened (pun 2) when they got onto Gove's education brief, when he talked about recovering a sense of moral purpose in the education system.

There were interesting questions about innovation (Su Maddock, Whitehall Innovation Hub), democratic accountability and the contradictions in public opinion on de-centralisation (Ben Page of Mori, from the floor. Overall it was an interesting event and a good start to the PwC/ippr programme of work under PwC's Forward Thinking project, lead by Dame Julie Mellor.

Other Cadence posts on innovation.

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