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A Report Card for Britain

What public policy choices should we make for the future?

What are the major strategic choices to be faced in the provision of public services in Britain over the next decade, and how can the research of the Public Services Programme and other studies in the UK and overseas, help us to identify and assess the policy alternatives? Replicating a similar study carried in 1995, the Options for Britain II project will bring together evidence of what has worked,  what hasn’t, why and for whom, to set out key choices both for the electorate and a potential incoming government, regardless of its political complexion. A series of reports by leading thinkers will spell out policy options for the future in key areas.  For instance, do ASBOs curb anti-social behaviour? Is patient choice the best way to drive improvements in health care? What’s the best way to measure and incentivise public service performance? The project runs through 2008 and 2009 with the intention of providing a portfolio of policy choices will be available in time for the likely date of the next UK general election.

What does the research mean for policy-makers and the wider community

Research Methods

In 1995, a leading group of academics and policy experts came together to assess the key economic, social and constitutional policy options for Britain. The Conservative government had been in power for over 15 years, and the team behind the ‘Options for Britain’ projects recognised the need for a forward looking audit of public policy. In 2008, the same team have brought about ‘Options for Britain II’ as a means of reviewing what the Labour government has achieved in public service performance in 1997 and what the future may hold for public policy. A series of papers on key areas of public policy have been commissioned and contributors to the project have been drawn from across the political spectrum, including those who must draft their Parties’ next manifestos. As well as the individual papers, results will be available in a Special Issue of Political Quarterly  and a book entitled  Options for a New Britain (Palgrave March, 2009).

Project Outputs

Project Poster 2009

Options for a New Britain (Palgrave March, 2009).

Options for Britain II: Cross Cutting Policy Issues – Changes and Challenges, Political Quarterly Special Issue, (February 2010)

Research Team

Iain McLean

Iain McLean

Iain is Professor of Politics and Director of the Public Policy Unit, Department of Politics & International Relations, University of Oxford. He frequently gives evidence to parliamentary select committees and is currently a specialist adviser to the Commons Treasury Committee. His recent applied research has concentrated on the spatial distribution of public expenditure around the UK, including the controversial Barnett Formula and the formulas for distributing grant to local authorities and health authorities.

Email: iain.mclean@politics.ox.ac.uk

David Halpern

David Halpern

David is senior policy advisor in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (PMSU) and an affiliated lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge. For the duration of this project he is on unpaid leave from the PMSU

Varun Uberoi

Varun Uberoi

Varun is a post-doctoral research fellow and senior research officer in the Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford.

Email: varun.uberoi@politics.ox.ac.uk

Adam Coutts

Adam Coutts

Adam is also a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford.

Email: adam.coutts@politics.ox.ac.uk