Abstracts: July 27th, 2004

This report by the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit reviews the strategic issues facing London, its role as the UK’s capital and as a world city, and the delivery of long-term central government priorities in the region. On the issue of public services the report finds that London’s public services exhibit both extremely good and very poor performance. A high proportion of Inner London boroughs are rated as excellent, but a similar number are rated as poorlyperforming.

London is a global centre of excellence in Higher Education and teaching hospitals. Schools add more value at Key Stage three-four than in the rest of the country. In contrast absolute attainment in Inner London schools is amongst the lowest in England. Access to primary care in London is poor. Household crime is generally lower in London than in other urban areas, but violent crime is consistently higher than in other urban areas.

Recruitment and retention problems are a strong distress signal for public services and can be both a cause and consequence of poor performance. Recruitment and retention problems may arise for a variety of reasons, poor management/leadership, challenging client group, negative perceptions and ethos of services or poor infrastructure. London’s strong demand for highly skilled employees allows the highly skilled greater choice in employment sectors/organisations with the best conditions, rewards and incentives. The extensive transport networks and the compactness of the city allows the workforce greater choices of localities in which to work, which can result in workforce poaching by highly performing services, e.g. high performing schools develop good reputations and attract teachers from nearby poorly performing schools.

Published by the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and available at