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Internal News - 24 March 2005

Education Department researchers meet Prime Minister's adviser

Professor Mike Wallace and Dr Stephen Gough from the University’s Department of Education took part in a productive ‘think-tank’ session at the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit last week.

They and two other academics met with Professor Michael Barber, the Prime Minister’s Chief Adviser for Delivery, and his colleagues at the Unit’s offices in the Treasury building in Westminster. Their purpose was to create an opportunity for confidential exchange of ideas and to consider the practical implications of academics’ research on managing change for the Unit’s strategy on public service reform. The discussion proved so mutually beneficial that Unit staff and the academics are planning to hold a further exchange at the University of Bath this summer.

The think-tank session was organised as part of Professor Wallace’s prestigious Advanced Institute of Management Research Public Services Fellowship. It was a follow-up to an international expert seminar held last December, which included a think-tank exercise involving Kieran Brett from the Unit and the four academics. There, participants explored how change embodied in public service reforms is managed at central government level.

Professor Wallace’s fellowship activity includes developing an aide-memoire to inform the planning of complex and programmatic change in the public services, which was presented at the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit think-tank as a potential planning tool. Dr Gough spoke about general lessons of an ongoing policy-delivery experiment in sustainable procurement funded by the National Health Service. The discussion converged on issues of public value, which is a prime concern for the Unit at present.