In Tony Blair's first term, 1997-2001, much was promised in reform of social services, but relatively little was achieved - except perhaps in Education, where Michael Barber was head of the Standards and Effectiveness Unit. For 2001-5, the commitment was to real change in domestic policy, and Sir Michael Barber was appointed head of the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit (PMDU), to concentrate on specific targets, initially 17, such as casualty waiting time, school tests, league tables, street crime, transport etc. Much was achieved, despite great tension, pressures, chaos and challenges, as a new working philosophy was created to combine otherwise 'warring parties' - the PM, the Chancellor, the Cabinet, the PM'S special team, and senior civil servants. Michael Barber reveals a fascinating insider and personal account of how the PMDU achieved so much, and provides a revealing picture of the major players, especially Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Sir Michael Barber has long worked closely with government, with a real record of delivery, first at Education, and then as head of the PM's Delivery Unit, tasked to achieve real progress in the public services. Michael Barber was Professor of Education, University of London, until called on to help Labour achieve its objectives in the crucial public services. He is the author of The Learning Game, about his time at the Department of Education, 1997-2001, and now works for McKinseys, using his UK government expertise to achieve 'Delivery' for USA, Australia and others impressed by his record.