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Institutions and performance






  A framework for understanding the social impacts of policy and their effects on wellbeing  
Gemma Harper and Richard Price, April 2011

The UK's Social Impacts Taskforce has developed a conceptual framework for guiding work on understanding the relationships between  the social impacts of policies, their effects on a country's underlying manufactures, human, environmental and social capital, and implications for wellbeing.

Harper and Price paper adopt a ‘capitals approach’ to assess sustainability in terms of whether the stock of assets we pass on to future generations is better or worse that than what is available to us today, an important analytical component of mainstreaming sustainable development.  They use a flows and stocks model to set out the relationships between the different forms of capital (human, natural, manufactured and social) and the flows of goods and services which people use and enjoy (market, non-market, social and environmental), and whcih in turn contribute to overall utility and wellbeing.

Link:  Paper available from the website - follow this link. (270 kb)

Link:  Two-page summary of the Social Impacts Taskforce's work on Defra's website. (200 kb)


Inside Defra: how the renewed department works
Defra, November 2009

This document sets out the business model adopted by the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  Based on a portfolio of policy programmes and 'ongoing activities', and with all staff working in a flexible resourcing system, Defra's model marks a radical break with traditional government structures, with improved value for the public at its heart.  

Produced for Defra's staff, and free of jargon, Inside Defra
explains flexible staff resourcing, career homes, the policy cycle, portfolio and performance management, policy programmes, the role of the Board and directors/SROs, and other key parts of the department's 'Renew' business model.

Download: Inside Defra (2 MB)

he Multi-tasking Methodology
Ruth Keeling, Civil Service World, 10 September 2009

Download: see link below

Defra has taken a leap into the unknown and abandoned the directorate structure that characterises Whitehall. The impetus for this rethink, says performance programme director Richard Price (also Defra’s chief economist), was the struggle to deliver the “rising expectations of ministers, the public and customers” in the face of a “steadily reducing headcount” - Gershon’s efficiency review recommended the loss of 2,400 staff). Ruth Keeling finds out about flexible staff resourcing – and its potential to cull consultants and short-term contracts.

See the full article at:

Renewing Defra - reforming a major government department
Helen Ghosh, March 2008

Download: Helen Ghosh: 'Renewing Defra', Whitehall and Westminster World, 28 March 2008

Setting a benchmark for management of a government department, the UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has adopted a new business model embodying flexibility, programme management and a portfolio approach to assessing how best to use its resources and develop its people to deliver outcomes that matter to the public. In this article, Helen Ghosh, Defra's Permanent Secretary, explains the new approach and how it works in practice.



Increasing competition and improving long-term capacity planning in markets supplying to government (The Kelly Review)                                                          Sir Christopher Kelly, December 2003. Office of Government Commerce, London

Download: Click here to download this paper

In 2003, the Government asked Sir Christopher Kelly to consider what could be done to increase competition and long term planning in markets where government possesses significant purchasing power. The Kelly Review identified ways in which the public sector could get better at planning its procurements and communicating its needs to industry in a way that best uses available capacity within markets and enables industry to respond effectively, innovatively, and ensuring value for money.    


As well as links to work published elsewhere, you can download selected papers from this site.   Downloadable papers
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