About Simon Perks

Writer, trail runner, hill walker, astronomer, kayaker, paddleboarder, photographer, nerd, tea drinker, lover of the sea, labrador wrangler

Why going over budget isn’t always your fault

Budgets are important. They allow an organisation to understand where its financial resources are coming from and to prioritise where they will be spent. They also act as an early warning system if things aren’t going according to plan. So overspending against your budget can be a problem. But it isn’t necessarily your fault. And here’s why. Continue reading

The great funding challenge

The Government is very good at telling us how much funding it is allocating to different services. But it is less good at focusing on how well these services are doing. The Performance Tracker, published by the Institute for Government and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) bridges this gap. And its findings are far from reassuring. Continue reading

Where next for local government funding?

With each week that passes, it seems that another local authority joins the list of those whose finances have reached crisis point. First it was Northamptonshire County Council that hit the headlines, but top-tier councils in Sussex, Lancashire, Suffolk, Surrey, Torbay and Oxfordshire also seem to be feeling the heat. And Somerset County Council, down the road from me, has just voted through £28 million of cuts over the next two years, leading opposition councillors to describe the council as on the ‘brink of bankruptcy’. Continue reading

Understanding value

Higher education in the UK is looking for better ways to demonstrate the value that it creates for its students and for society as a whole. Advance HE (formerly the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education) has been working with a pilot group of universities to explore how integrated thinking and reporting can help. And I’ve had the honour of drawing out some of the insights that the project has yielded so far. Continue reading

Small is beautiful

I was delighted the other day to be approached by the person responsible for a local government procurement exercise in which I had expressed an interest, to enquire why I hadn’t submitted a proposal. She was somewhat horrified when I explained that the tender requirements were biased rather heavily against small businesses such as mine. And she asked how the procurement process could have been improved. So here are my top five tips for small-business-friendly procurement. Continue reading