In June of this year, the Strand Group at the Policy Institute at King’s brought together former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Blair’s chief adviser at the time, Sir Michael Barber, to discuss the ins and outs of running a government. Barber headed up the Delivery Unit during Blair’s time as Prime Minister and was key to the management of Blair’s ambitious public service reform agenda. In this blog post, Michelle Clement, Events Manager for the Strand Group and PhD student at King’s College London examines the role of Barber’s delivery unit during the Blair years and the impact on successive governments.
Michelle began her Hewlett Packard funded PhD in 2015, on Reforming Britain’s Public Services: An Analysis of Sir Michael Barber’s Tenure of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, 2001-2005. Her PhD will represent the first academic study of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit with the added and crucial dimension of Barber’s private, unpublished diaries.
Jack Brown is the Communications Coordinator for the Strand Group. He is currently undertaking a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London, on the topic of ‘The London Docklands Development Corporation and Canary Wharf: 1981 – 1998’. He is also a visiting Research Fellow at the Policy Institute at King’s.
Canary Wharf, once derided as ‘White Elephant Wharf’ by its critics in the early 1990s, now employs more bankers than the City of London. Canary Wharf Group, who run the estate, have ambitious plans to develop the adjacent Wood Wharf, featuring over 3,000 new homes, a primary school, NHS health facilities and a sports centre, alongside the more familiar office space. London’s second financial centre is certainly on the up, recently changing hands for £2.6 billion.
The transformation of the docklands of London’s East End, driven by the success of Canary Wharf, continues to be a controversial topic. My PhD research, to look at the work of the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC), established by Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine in 1981 to reverse the East End’s decline, provides a unique opportunity to tell its as-yet-untold story to an unprecedented extent. Continue reading