Hats off to the Department of Communities and Local Govt for publishing these forgotten documents commissioned by the old government. Mel notes that the cost of these 16 documents was £691k. I was curious. What was in them?
Here's one called Behavioural change approach and the housing sector: a scoping study. It seems to come from Sheffield University's Town Planning Dept.
And here's the first paragraph of the executive summary: This project explores the potential benefits from applying a behavioural economics approach to the analysis of the attitudes, perceptions and decisions of actors operating in the housing sector. The central features of this methodological approach emphasised here are that: economic agents operate under bounded rationality and sometimes use rough rules of thumb to negotiate uncertainty; the limitations of incompleteness of knowledge can be compounded by creative and imaginative capacities; individuals are socially embedded; durable rules, habits and norms are significant and shape beliefs and attitudes; and emotions are a key part of ‘rationality’. This contrasts markedly with the methodological individualism and narrow economic rationality associated with the mainstream economics approach.
What the fuck does any of that mean? Planning, but not as we know it.
Or how about this one?
Collaboration, innovation and value for money: final report of the call-down project, which seems to have come out of the Department itself.
What are they on about here?
Our research suggests the following definition: “Innovation is the collaborative development and implementation of new ideas, knowledge, products, services or ways of working that significantly enhance previous activities, drawing on the resources and skills of a range of partners and users to create partnership-based financing, decision making and production systems to improve performance and outcomes”.
And here's another curious one. A study to determine whether it is possible to produce Gross Value Added data for upper tier local authorities from Cambridge Econometrics, which I know as a rather smart little building next to the Six Bells off Mill Road. I've always been curious to know what they get up to and now I do. Or rather, I don't. Here is their methodology statement:
NUTS level 3 are currently the lowest geographical unit which the Office for National Statistics produce Gross Value Added figures. NUTS3 areas vary in size, in some cases equivalent to upper tier authority boundaries; in other cases equivalent to groups of upper tier authorities. The purpose of this study is to assess whether Gross Value Added can be produced for all upper tier authorities – i.e., including upper tier authorities which are part of a wider NUTS3 area. This methodology described below is an adaptation of the existing method used by the Office for National Statistics Regional Accounts, applied to a smaller geography. It provides details of the data sources, the current availability of data and the indicators used to apportion the individual components of NUTS3 Gross Value Added.
This is altogether fun and a great way to waste a few hours. I can't understand any of it and I doubt that Eric Pickles can either. But it does give you a little insight into the workings of Whitehall under Blair and Brown. This is what all those "Consultants" were up to.