Friday, 30 July 2010

IDS talks tough on benefit reforms

Ian Duncan Smith has published a public consultation on welfare and benefit reform calling it, '21st Century Welfare'. IDS said, "We are proposing to change forever how the system works. Not tinkering around the edges but a fundamental change from the top to bottom."

The DWP hopes that the consultation could reform tax credits and benefits by:
  • Supplementing monthly household earnings through credit payments reflecting circumstances (including children, housing and disability).
  • Combining elements of the current income-related benefits and Tax Credit systems.
  • Bringing out-of-work and in-work support together in a far simpler system.
IDS's reforms are to play a role in reducing benefit fraud.

The consultation refers to introducing 'a Single Unified Taper' for benefits, and in essence this is designed to ensure that people can, 'enter work by a consistent, reasonable, rate of withdrawal of benefits as earnings increase...' A 'tapered' approach.

The overall message is to incentivise people back to work, reducing what IDS calls a 'benefits culture', and a press release can be found here.

On a much lighter note, Vicki Howe found an amusing blog about Mr Duncan Smith's proposals, which describes his ideas as 'the political equivalent of asking "wouldn’t be good if we all had ponies?" ' Why? Because there is apparently no mention of how much all this will cost...

Let's get granular! A push towards transparency

The Coalition wants to see local authorities publish their spending data on a 'granular' level, and they recently - in June 2010 - set up the Public Sector Transparency Board (PSTB) to push this ahead. The Board's remit is to:
  • make the transparency agenda a core part of all government business
  • ensure that Whitehall departments meet new deadlines set for releasing key public datasets
  • set up open data standards across the whole public sector
The Prime Minister wants local authorities to publish every single item of spend over £500, and in practice this will happen online. David Cameron has already written to Government departments about this.

The push to publish data is from January 2011 onwards, and we know that transparency is a key plank of the Coalition Government's Big Society agenda. Data on salaries is already in the public domain.

Who is already publishing spend data?

Coalition Watch knows that some local authorities are already publishing their spend data online, and so far we have identified 17 authorities who are doing this. They commonly produce this as 'Payments to suppliers', listing every item of expenditure by organisation and overall cost.

Councils are certainly not following a single set of criteria, and data is frequently published in either PDF or Excel formats - sometimes both. In a very few cases we found data uploaded as CSV files. Splitting hairs perhaps, but this may not be exactly what the PSTB is calling for. They say:

'Publishing raw data quickly is an immediate priority, but in the medium term local authorities should work towards structured, regularly updated data published on the Web using open standards.'

Can Excel or PDF really be described as 'open'? Both are proprietary formats, though it is likely that there will be more standardisation over time. Open formats ensure accessiblity and creative applications.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

'Time out' for ASBOs

The Home Secretary Theresa May has called 'time out' for ASBOs, pointing to statistics which show that they were often breached. For example: 

forty-nine percent of individuals aged 18 or over breached their ASBO at least once; 65 percent of individuals aged between 10 and 17 breached theirs

The Home Secretary wants to see a much more localistic approach to dealing with anti-social behaviour saying:

'The solutions to each community's problems will not come from the Home Office or any national action plan, but from local people, police, councils and housing associations.'

The Home Secretary also stressed that the Coalition will address the underlying causes of ASB, and she mentioned a range of approaches to this:
  • incentives for unemployed people to make work pay
  • a work programme offering targeted help for those who need it
  • putting teachers back in control of the classroom
  • overhauling the Licencing Act to put vendors back in control
  • ensuring police officers are empowered to tackle ASB
Here is the full text of Theresa May's speech.

Pickles gives LGA the green light for 'community budgets'

CLG supremo Eric Pickles has responded positively to an offer from the Local Government Association (LGA) to implement what he has christened 'community budgets'. This is a shift in terminology, as the LGA consistently called them 'Place-based budgets' in their offer document.

The LGA claim their proposed budgetary model will allow:
  1. a multi-billion pound reduction in the overheads of the existing arrangements for oversight, performance management, regulation and policy development
     
  2. powerful, enhanced local accountability to local people for services delivered locally
     
  3. continuing full accountability to Parliament for money raised through Parliamentary taxation
In short, Mr Pickles is very enthusiastic about the LGA's fiscal proposals, and he wants them to go ahead as soon as possible.

He said, "I'm not the only one who loves the idea of community budgets, by the way. The Prime Minister loves them. The DPM loves them. The Chancellor loves them. There's huge interest right across Whitehall."

Our Eric is much less enthusiastic about 'Total Place', perhaps seeing it as too New Labour-esque. He said:

"'Total Place' may have been a step in the right direction, but it was the smallest, most begrudging step possible." He went on to say:

"It was a bit like local government was a fifteen year old girl with really strict parents. They let you go down the dance for the first time."

"But then totally cramped your style by parking round the corner to watch what you were up to and made you go home at half past nine. Not so much 'total place'. More like 'know your place'."

"I don't want to be the Dad hanging round the corner. You can get yourselves down the dance. You can stay out all night if you want. Let your hair down - before it all goes like mine."

Very good Eric!

Monday, 26 July 2010

The impact of housing benefit reforms

Debates on the Coalition Government's proposed housing benefit cuts are heavily featured in the housing press at the moment. To keep you informed on what's happening, we have summarised the latest developments.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published a detailed housing benefit impact assessment on 23 July, looking at 3 key areas:
  1. The impact of the measures which were contained in the March 2010 Budget compared to now.
  2. The impact of changes to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to be introduced in 2011-12 compared to now.
  3. The impact of the measures contained in the June 2010 Budget compared to those contained in the March 2010 Budget.
The DWP's report weighs in at just over 100 pages, so it is not an easy read. However, Citizens Advice's policy officer Liz Phelps has responded to it saying:

'The government's own assessment confirms many of our worst fears about the impact these cuts to housing benefit will have, and the dangers of rushing through fundamental changes on this scale without consultation or any pilot schemes to test the effects.'

'We would urge the government to reconsider these changes to ensure it meets its own test of ensuring fairness and protecting the most vulnerable, at the very least applying the proposed cap to new claims only.'

The Chartered Institute of Housing has produced a members' briefing outlining what the reforms are and how their effects can be mitigated by social landlords.

The National Housing Federation says that future caps on housing benefit, to be introduced from April 2011, will put more than 750,000 people at risk of losing their homes in London and the south east. They further claim that, 'the impact of the housing benefit cuts was likely to lead to the highest number of people ending up homeless in Britain for more than thirty years.'

Crisis - a national charity for single homeless people - has written a policy briefing in response to the cuts, and they get straight to the point by asking, 'What will the cuts mean?'

Finally, the Government's Work and Pensions Select Committee recently announced that it will hold a full inquiry into the impact of changes to housing benefit. It will look at a range of areas including:
  • shortfalls in rent
  • levels of evictions and the impact on homelessness services
  • incentives to work and access to low paid work

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Pickles prunes local government offices

Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, has announced plans to abolish the Government Offices for the Regions.

Mr Pickles sees them as an unnecessary and anti-democratic layer of local government which must go. According to the CLG, his decision so far is to abolish these organisations 'in principle' - which seems to be not very coded language for, 'We'll do it during the autumn spending review.'

Eric Pickles said, "Let me be clear: The Government Offices are not voices of the region in Whitehall. They have become agents of Whitehall to intervene and interfere in localities, and are a fundamental part of the 'command and control' apparatus of England's over-centralised state."

What are the implications of this?

Government Offices for the English Regions (their full title) link closely with local housing and planning functions, and they are part of the Sustainable Communities Agenda. According to their own publicity they:
  • work alongside the Government’s Neighbourhood Renewal Unit to tackle social exclusion
  • contribute to the development of policies to ensure they reflect regional and local issues, as well assessing how policies should be delivered in each region
  • work with the voluntary and community sector to deliver Neighbourhood Renewal programmes
HouseMark carries links to each Government Office on the Club zone of our website. It is clear that multiple tiers of local government are being steadily erased. For example, the old Government Office website now links to the Government Office Network - perhaps we should call it 'GONE' for short?!

Eric Pickle's full statement can be found here.

According to 24dash.com, Shadow communities secretary John Denham has criticised the move saying, "It is a decision being made under the guise of 'localism' but it will see a huge centralisation of power into Whitehall ministries."

Regional Development Agencies

Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are also arranged on Mr Pickle's chopping board. These are responsible for promoting economic development throughout the English regions and they have expertise in a wide range of areas, including:
  • property development
  • strategic planning
  • sustainable and low-carbon development
  • economic infrastructure provision
  • identifying skills for business development
RDAs will be superseded by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), which are seen as more effective structures.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Fed makes friends with Shapps

Federation chairman Matthew Taylor and chief executive David Orr recently met Grant Shapps to discuss capital investment and regulation. The meeting must have gone well as the Fed's briefing note on the meeting makes it clear they are now all on first name terms!

The Fed suggested that freedom and flexibility should be extended to the Homes and Communities Agency so that its job is to use whatever public investment is available to deliver the Government's housing objectives rather than a series of rule bound programmes.

Shapps responded that he was open to new ideas, and that given the need to address the budget deficit significant reductions in funding were highly likely. The position for future years will be confirmed in the spending review.

On regulation, Shapps accepted the need for an economic regulator, but expressed significant concerns about the cost and effectiveness of arrangements for consumer regulation. A more decentralised route, to enable tenants to deal with issues locally, would be explored through the review announced at the CIH conference.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Cameron reveals Big Society 'vanguards'

'Vanguard' authorities form a key plank of David Cameron's vision for introducing the Big Society: decentralisation. This is about devolving power back to local communities. According to the Prime Minister, the coalition was approached by four local authorities:
  • Eden Valley in Cumbria
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
  • Sutton
  • Liverpool
All four asked for more power and control. During a recent speech in Liverpool, Mr Cameron described these as, '...the great training grounds of this change... the first territory on which real and ultra local power is a reality – and the Big Society is built.'

In other words, they will be used to pilot Big Society concepts. Vanguard authorities have a wide range of different ideas they want to implement. For example:
  • running community pubs
  • building volunteer programmes
  • generating their own energy
These tie closely into the new localist agenda. The Prime Minister has promised to deploy CLG officials in each area to ensure that things go smoothly, and each area will have a community organiser allocated to it.

Organisers will be, 'trained people who know how to stimulate and organise local support for – and involvement in – community action.' The Prime Minister has acknowledged that there will be teething problems, and the entire scheme reads like a social experiment.

Despite Mr Cameron's glowing enthusiasm, the Guardian reports that not all vanguard members understand how his changes will be delivered. '"We don't know how it's going to work," a spokesman for Liverpool city council said. "We have been given no information about this."'

Even the Telegraph admits that, '...there was concern about how the community projects would be funded...' while there is so little money in the kitty to finance local schemes.

Eden Valley's approach is to focus on Community Plans, leading to a local action plan: and they have written a 'Community Action Plan Protocol' to take this forward, while Sutton Council wants to share, 'expertise on community engagement and democratic involvement.'

New NHS Outcomes Framework may have parallels in other service areas

Pharma Times, amongst others reports that the government has unveiled its plans for a new outcomes framework to underpin the revamped National Health Service and establish accountability at a national level “in an open and transparent way”.

The NHS Outcomes Framework is set out in a consultation document Transparency in outcomes - a framework for the NHS. It will consist of a set of national outcome goals to help give an indication of the overall performance of the Service, as well as provide a mechanism by which the Health Secretary can hold the new independent NHS Commissioning Board to account for securing improved health outcomes.

“It is about determining how the success of the NHS should be judged and, therefore, the success of the government in delivering our vision for healthcare,” the Department of Health said, and added that it should act as a catalyst for driving quality across all services. But it was also quick to stress that the new framework will not be used as a tool to performance manage providers of care.

In response to concerns that the new Outcomes Framework will lead to increased bureaucracy, a Department of Health spokesperson said:
'Through the consultation on today's Outcomes Framework, we are seeking to identify around 30 outcomes that broadly measure the performance of the whole NHS. This is a significant reduction on the 100 narrow process targets currently measured.

'Information to support the vast majority of the potential outcome indicators put forward today (in the Annex to the consultation document) is already collected by the NHS. At present there are over 260,000 data returns from NHS organisations to the Department of Health, but these still leave vast gaps where no data at all is collected on NHS performance.

'We want the NHS to collect data only where it is useful and meaningful to clinicians and patients, and where it helps the NHS to improve services for patients. We are consulting precisely because we want to hear from patients, health professionals and the public about what matters to them.'
The White Paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ published on 12 May, details how power will be devolved from Whitehall to patients and professionals.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Moving towards co-operatives and mutual housing

In November 2009 the Commission on Co-operative and Mutual Housing, chaired by Nic Bliss, published a report looking at housing co-operatives and community mutuals, and we have written a briefing.

Although the Coalition had not gained power when it was published, the paper is potentially important. Why? Because co-operative housing appeals to politicians across the entire spectrum of debate, and Grant Shapps has described them as "superb examples" of communities taking responsibility for themselves.

Co-operative models have strong ties with localism, as individuals are encouraged to manage their own housing options.

The report found that resident satisfaction is very high in the mutual sector, and it argues that handled properly, this model has the potential to become the 'housing of choice' for many more Britons.

Cameron launches the good ship 'Big Society'

David Cameron travelled to Liverpool to deliver the first of a series of public events on the Big Society. Housing is mentioned, though Mr Cameron did not go into the fine details of how the Coalition intends to deliver affordable homes. He said: 
'[there should be]... more powers to plan the look, size, shape
and feel of housing developments.'
The Prime Minister said that there are three main strands to the Big Society:

1. Social action - 'The success of the Big Society will depend on the daily decisions of millions of people – on them giving their time, effort, even money, to causes around them.'

2. Public service reform - '...we’ve got to give professionals much more freedom, and open up public services to new providers like charities, social enterprises and private companies so we get more innovation, diversity and responsiveness to public need.'

3. Community empowerment - 'We need to create communities with oomph – neighbourhoods who are in charge of their own destiny, who feel if they club together and get involved they can shape the world around them.'

David Cameron touched on how he intends to bring these changes about through:

1. Decentralisation - this involves moving power away from central government to local government; and beyond, to 'communities, to neighbourhoods and individuals.'

2. Transparency - 'for example, by releasing the data about precisely when and where crimes have taken place on the streets...'

3. Providing finance - 'We believe in paying public service providers by results.' This is seen as improving value for money.

Overall, there is a focus on increasing localism and removing bureaucracy. Inside Housing recently wrote about the Big Society, drawing attention to the Big Society Network.

Shapps plans to axe 'intrusive' Place Survey

In the latest stage in the government's undermining of standardised satisfaction surveys, Grant Shapps has told the Telegraph that he hopes to axe the annual Your Place survey, which asks local residents a series of questions about their views of town hall services.

In Shapps's typical style, he pulls no punches in condemning the survey, saying:
“The idea that council bureaucrats are forced to turn themselves into amateur-pollsters in order to ask a range of highly intrusive personal questions about their residents seems entirely out of place.
“I’m actively looking at whether we can block this year’s round of intrusive town hall surveying, thereby freeing up councils to focus on looking after the far more vital task of providing front line local services instead.”
The survey was launched in 2008 by the Labour government to give local councils "a citizen’s perspective" on services in their local area and to help councils to plan services. The second survey would have collected 13 national indicators and was planned to take place this autumn.

A spokesman for the CLG told regen.net that the department wrote to local authorities in June recommending they did not to proceed with preparations for the survey.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Are place-based budgets the bedrock of future efficiencies?

The Local Government Association (LGA) published Place-based budgets: the future governance of local public services in June this year. This is essentially an offer document to the Coalition, and it contains the LGA's view of how local services should be funded. Crucially, it looks at where savings could be made.

The report says, 'Public services will have to become more transparent, more effective and cheaper. This simply will not happen without a significant change to the way funding is allocated and decisions are made.'

Some core proposals are presented to the Coalition:
  • commissioning responsibility for a set of local services should rest with a locally accountable governance body
  • exactly how this body is constituted would be a matter for local decision but it would need to have a legal form and be fully democratically accountable locally; in most cases it is likely to be based on a council or councils working together
  • if it were taking on a range of strategic commissioning decisions around economic budgets, natural economic geography points to a sub-regional geographic scope – councils working together based on cities, counties or county-sized group of districts or boroughs
  • if it were taking on health and police commissioning responsibilities, the geography might be sub-regional or more local, as the existing configuration of services suggests
  • the local body should be fully accountable for the budgets it holds: where the budget is funded by local taxpayers, it need only account locally to electors; where the budget is funded by national taxation voted by Parliament, the body should be able to account both to its local electors for outcomes, and directly to Parliament for that money, rather than needing to be regulated and performance managed by the current plethora of intermediary bodies
The report signals a radical shift away from more traditional efficiency measures, and the effectiveness of these is questioned. It also says, '...opportunities to drive out further top down efficiencies in organisational silos are narrowing....' New ideas are needed.

Is any of this relevant to housing? Short answer: yes. The report asks, 'Which services are best suited to devolved governance?' and it lists:
  1. economic regeneration
  2. housing and regeneration
  3. home energy efficiency and managing flood and climate risks
  4. adult skills
  5. local transport
  6. primary health care
  7. policing and probation
  8. support into employment for the long-term unemployed and workless
There is an obvious flaw in the LGA's report: it suggests that Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) could become involved in housing provision. However, we have learned that the Coalition's health service reforms include the 'deletion' of PCTs.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Think tanks briefing

This briefing attempts to map influential UK think tanks in terms of their political affiliations, and their influence on current or emerging public policy from the coalition government. It looks at how think tanks describe themselves, while seeking to be objective.

The Big Society approach to anti-social behaviour

Low level anti-social behaviour could be tackled through the introduction of conflict resolution training for public sector workers, volunteers and citizens, according to a new report published by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

The Woolwich Model - How citizens can tackle anti-social behaviour concludes that while public concern for low-level disorder remains high, citizens have little or no confidence to intervene.

The report says that says New Labour's "top-down" approach to tackling low-level crime and disorder, which involved investing heavily in neighbourhood policing and issuing anti-social behaviour orders, had only limited success – and that there could be great gains if people, including those directly responsible for managing the local public realm, are trained in basic community safety skills.

The report's author is Ben Rogers, a former Downing Street policy strategist who is an associate fellow of the Institute of Public Policy Research and of Demos.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Grant Shapps


Housing Minister and Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield. Not one of the 'Tory Toffs', Shapps was born in Watford, 1968. He went to Watford Grammar School for boys (grant maintained state school) and to Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan).

Before entering parliament in 2005, he ran a printing firm, PrintHouse Corporation in London. In 2009, he stepped down as company director - before he was compelled to declare an interest.

Shapps became shadow housing minister in June 2007 and launched the Conservative Party's 9th Green Paper on policy called Strong Foundations in April 2009. This contains many plans that he is looking to enact now.

Shapps has his own website http://www.shapps.com/reports/ on which he uploads reports relevant to his work as shadow Housing Minister as well as current work as constituency MP - it includes a collection of his speeches and a report by the Conservative Homelessness Foundation.

Shapps is a regular tweeter on Twitter.

Conservative party blurb on Shapps.

Mr Shapps is a qualified pilot, and a cousin of Mick Jones, of The Clash. He is married to Belinda (née Goldstone) and has three children - Hadley, Noa and Tabytha.

Greg Clark - Minister for Decentralisation

Greg Clark is at the heart of the coalition's drive for localism. His responsibilities are:

Decentralisation (including across Government)
Big Society
Planning policy

Greg Clark was born in Middlesbrough and attended the local St Peter's Comprehensive, South Bank. He went on to study Economics at Cambridge University and was awarded his PhD at the London School of Economics.

Before entering politics, Greg Clark worked for the Boston Consulting Group. He was elected as MP for Tunbridge Wells in May 2005 and, like all MPs, is watched by TheyWorkForYou, the website that allows people to keep tabs on their elected MPs.

Clark was Director of Policy for the Conservative Party from March 2001 for three successive Leaders; William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, before being elected to Parliament.

He was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in October 2008, having previously been Shadow Minister for Charities, Social Enterprises and Volunteering. Shadow Minister for Teesside since 2006, Greg Clark has also authored the book, Total Politics, looking at the decentralisation of political power.

On 9 June 2010 Greg Clark was appointed to the Privy Council.

Structural reform plans - updated

Structural Reform Plans are the government's tool for making central government departments accountable for the implementation of the reforms set out in the Coalition agreement. They replace the "old, top-down systems of targets and central mismanagement".

Launching the plans on 8 July, the Prime Minister said:
“We want to replace the old system of bureaucratic accountability with a new system of democratic accountability – accountability to the people, not the government machine. We want to turn government on its head, taking power away from Whitehall and putting it into the hands of people and communities. We want to give people the power to improve our country and public services, through transparency, local democratic control, competition and choice.”
Four departmental SRPs have been published so far:
The plans are published in draft until the results of the Spending Review are known. When finalised, they will become part of each department’s business plan and will be updated annually.

Richard McCarthy

Richard McCarthy is Director General - Housing and Planning at CLG. He has been a Director General since October 2003. His salary is in the band £175,000 - £179,999. It is rumoured that he will head up the forthcoming review of social housing regulation.

Prior to joining CLG , Richard was the Chief Executive of the Peabody Trust and, before that, Group Chief Executive of the Horizon Housing Group.

Richard joined Horizon after 15 years with the Hyde Housing Association Group most recently as Operations Director where he had the lead role in developing a range of innovative and successful physical regeneration and development proposals.

Richard was a member of the Home Ownership Task Force and the Egan Skills Review Group, both of which were established by the Deputy Prime Minister following the publication of the Sustainable Communities Plan.

He was the Chair of the National Housing Federation from 2000-2003 and has been a member of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Housing and Neighbourhoods Committee.

Richard is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing. He received a CBE in the 2009 New Years Honours for his services to housing and planning.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Sheridan Westlake

Sheridan Westlake is one of Eric Pickles' two special advisers (aka SpAd) at the CLG. Part of his role is to prepare speculative policy papers and contributing to policy planning within the Department. He appears to have no interest in social housing.

An alumnus of the Conservative Research Department, it was suggested he co-wrote the Conservative manifesto.


He is councillor for Merrow, Guildford. He has held the ward since 2003. He sits on Licensing Committee and Corporate Improvement Scrutiny Committee.

Other facts

Vicki Howe knew of Sheridan while they were at university.
His salary is between £52-58k.

Guildford BC blurb about Sheridan

What does the future hold for Local Area Agreements?

Local Area Agreements (LAAs) are three-year action plans for achieving better outcomes, developed by councils with their partners in local strategic partnerships, but their future may be in question. This briefing brings you the story so far.

National Indicators: a briefing

The future of National Indicators is in question, and it is possible that this year's Comprehensive Spending Review will see a series of revisions. This short briefing will bring you up-to-date.

Local Housing Trusts

The Coalition government is keen to promote Local Housing Trusts in a bid to enable communities to take charge of their housing options in a less bureaucratic way. This is very much part of the localism agenda.

Our internal briefing covers Local Housing Trusts (LHTs), Community Land Trusts (CLTs) and more...

Census for the chop

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph on 9 July 2010, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude indicated that the 200 year old census could be scrapped.

Maude, who has responsibility for the census, told the paper that the Government was looking for a “fundamentally” better way of doing it.

“There are, I believe, ways of doing this which will provide better, quicker information, more frequently and cheaper.”

He indicated that the government is considering cheaper ways to count the UK population more regularly using existing databases in the public and private sectors, including credit reference agencies.

Mr Maude said the Census was “out of date almost before it has been done” and was looking at ways to count the population more frequently — perhaps every five years — using databases held by credit checking firms, Royal Mail, councils and Government.

“This would give you more accurate, much more timely data in real time. There is a load of data out there in loads of different places,” he said.

The census costs £482m: Maude admitted that it was too late to cancel the 2011 count although he would be looking at ways of cutting the cost. Cabinet looked set to approve the cancellation of the 2021 census. But as Jim Pickard writing in the FT's Westminster blog comments:
“To get to that point the Tories (or coalition) have to win the 2015 election and then the 2020 election. And still be in a cost-cutting mood. That’s a whole pyramid of ifs.”
Kable, the Guardian's public service intelligence website, pointed out that a report by the Office for National Statistics (which is responsible for the census) in 2003 had already proposed linking existing data sources instead of carrying out the national census.

The ONS said that its Beyond 2011 project will continue. This was started in 2009 to develop better ways of measuring an increasingly changing population by focusing on the integration of existing and new data sources. These include survey, census and administrative information.