About Simon Perks

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

Evidence, evidence, evidence

I’m a big fan of evidence-based decisions. But the number of people who feel the same way I do appears to be on the wane. Whether it’s fake news, dubious think tank reports or unsubstantiated political claims, the idea of being able to support what we say and do with actual facts seems to have lost its appeal. Well, that’s not how we roll here at Sockmonkey HQ. And here’s what I’m doing about it. Continue reading

Time to talk about money

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has just published a report looking at how universities spend student tuition fees and how well they communicate to students what they get in return for their money. It shows that, despite continued exhortations to do more in this area, progress has been slow. And that universities across the sector need to do something about it now. Continue reading

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