Reform (think tank)
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Reform is a British think tank based in London, whose declared mission is to set out a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity. Reform describes itself as independent and non-partisan with an aim "to produce research of outstanding quality on the core issues of the economy, health, education and law and order and on the right balance between government and individual."
The Reform Research Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee founded in 2001 by Nick Herbert (now a Conservative MP) and Andrew Haldenby. The organisation, a London Living Wage employer, had an income of £1.3m in 2013 and was awarded a Transparency Rating of B on the whofundsyou.org website. Writing in The Guardian in September 2011, George Monbiot praised Reform for its transparency:
“The only rightwing think tank that did well was Reform, which sent me a list of its biggest corporate donors. Reform lists its other corporate sponsors in its annual review (14), and earns 4 points. If they can do it, why can’t the others?”
As well as publishing its own research, Reform also publishes papers by external authors. According to its website, recent authors have included Norman Warner, the Labour Peer and former Health Minister; Paul Corrigan, health adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair; the Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills; Jeremy Browne MP, the former Liberal Democrat Minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office; and Stephen Greenhalgh, (Conservative) Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in London.
Speakers at Reform events have included:
- Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP and Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP (Labour);
- Rt Hon Theresa May MP and Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP (Conservative);
- Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP and Norman Lamb MP (Liberal Democrat).
Research and publications
Reform believes that "there has been policy failure in relation to public services over a period of years under all governments" and that, by reforming the public sector and extending choice, high quality services can be made available for everyone. Describing itself as "determinedly independent and strictly non-party", Reform says that none of its research is funded by either companies or individuals.
Reform publishes reports on a variety of different issues, adopting what it considers to be an evidence-based approach to public policy. It says that its key finding is that "the UK's public services and economy have structural problems which demand structural solutions" and that "those most in need of the support of public services lose out most from current provision." It has published reports on health and education reform, Britain's regional economic performance, the economic position of young people, and on the tax and welfare system. It has also produced research that claims to show that the extra spending on public services between 2000 and 2006 has not shifted the trend performance of those services.
Reform states that its vision is of a Britain with 21st-century healthcare, high standards in schools, a modern and efficient transport system, safe streets and a free, dynamic and competitive economy. Reform argues that in the longer term public spending should be reduced to the levels of Ireland and Australia (around 35% of GDP), and tax reduced so individuals can invest in themselves providing for their own and their families’ welfare needs, so more efficiently obtaining high quality services.
Other proposed cuts in public spending that Reform are very keen on implementing is what they call "pensioner gimmicks" such as the winter fuel payment and free TV licensing for the over 75s. Cutting both these "gimmicks" would, they say, save the economy £3.2 billion.
Reform's director is Andrew Haldenby (a former head of the Political Section in the Conservative Research Department). Previous deputy directors include Elizabeth Truss, elected as a Conservative MP in 2010, and Nick Seddon, appointed as a Senior Policy Advisor for Health and Social Care to Number 10 Downing Street. Consultant directors are Rupert Darwell, Nick Bosanquet and Nicholas Boys Smith.
- Chris Gibson-Smith, Chairman of the London Stock Exchange and Partnership
- Jeremy Sillem, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Spencer House Partners
- Professor Nick Bosanquet, Emeritus Professor of Health Policy, Imperial College, London
- Tim Parker, CVC Capital Partners
- Oliver Pawle, Partner, Korn/Ferry Whitehead Mann
- Sir Steve Robson CB (former second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury)
- Lord Warner of Brockley
- Jeremy Browne MP, Liberal Democrat MP for Taunton Deane
- Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Labour MP for Birkenhead
- Julian Smith MP, Conservative MP for Skipton and Ripon
- Andrew Haldenby, Director, Reform
- Richard Harries, Deputy Director, Reform
- Stephen Hargrave (Chairman), Partner, Cigala LLP
- James Palmer, Partner, Herbert Smith LLP
- Jeremy Sillem (Honorary Treasurer), Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Spencer House Partners
- BBC, 8 December 2009, Huge public sector job cuts urged to ease debt
- Reform Research Trust, Registered Charity no. 1103739 at the Charity Commission
- Annual Review, Reform, 2014
- Annual Review, Reform, June 2012
- Key policy lessons of the "Blair years" for future governments (PDF) (Report). Reform. June 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007.
- Back to Black, Reform, April 2009
- Nick Seddon, guardian.co.uk, 16 June 2010, Getting value out of the health budget
- Health Service Journal (HSJ Live), 8 May 2013