Editor's Comment


Weather warning

Source: PSE Feb/Mar 16

This edition of PSE goes to press just as Storm Imogen begins to subside. This latest barrage of winter weather caused yet more disruption to transport and power networks, but thankfully less permanent damage than earlier storms in late 2015 and the beginning of this year. 

The fourth and fifth ‘named storms’ of this season, Desmond and Eva, were responsible for some of the most catastrophic flooding and devastation we have seen for years, with damage estimates for the two storms combined totalling at least £1bn and possibly up to £1.3bn. 

The worst-hit areas were in northern England – especially Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire – and in Scotland. The Environment Agency took some of the blame, and its chair Sir Philip Dilley stepped down after getting fed up of media and political pressure about being expected to be ‘on call’ as the public face of the agency “at short notice throughout the year”. But there was also criticism of some of the duplication and confusion in response to the floods, with so many different authorities, utilities and individuals responsible for different aspects. 

In this edition of PSE, we asked some experts to look at the fallout from the floods and why creating a more resilient society and infrastructure is going to take both innovation and collaboration. I’d urge you to turn to pages 58-61 and consider the arguments for yourself. Those pages also feature lots of photos from the recent floods, as does the front cover of this edition. That particular photo, of the bridge collapse in Tadcaster, is by Joe Giddens of the Press Association. 

Other focuses in this edition include housing, green transport, leadership and the collapse (and possible replacement) of the transatlantic ‘Safe Harbor’ data protection scheme. We also have a special section on digital infrastructure, with contributors including SmarterUK, the Society of Chief Librarians, and the new partnership of Burnley Council with Liberata. 

We also have some analysis of the local government finance settlement, finalised just as PSE was heading to the printers. Expect more comment and insight at our website. 

Finally, I must also tell you that this will be my final Editor’s Comment for PSE. I am to leave the magazine, but am happy to be able to pass the baton to David Stevenson, who takes over from February. Thanks to all the readers and contacts who’ve made it such a fun and interesting job to edit PSE since 2011.

Adam Hewitt



There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

CCN calls for larger county council role in planning

20/06/2018CCN calls for larger county council role in planning

A larger role for county councils in planning to solve the affordability crisis has been backed by two new reports launched today. A study from ... more >
Councils should copy New York’s property levy to raise billions

20/06/2018Councils should copy New York’s property levy to raise billions

Councils in England could raise up to £62bn by mirroring New York’s property levy, according to the Association for Consultancy and Eng... more >
Rotherham Council recommended for return of final powers, says commissioners

19/06/2018Rotherham Council recommended for return of final powers, says commissioners

Government-appointed commissioners have given the green-light for Rotherham City Council to be regranted full control of public services after &l... more >


Grenfell, one year on

18/06/2018Grenfell, one year on

In the year since the Grenfell Tower disaster, the LGA has been working tirelessly to ramp up fire safety regulations and ban ‘desktop&rsqu... more >
Brexit's long shadow over devolution

18/06/2018Brexit's long shadow over devolution

The EU Referendum and the stop-start Brexit negotiations have left a looming shadow of uncertainty over devolution in the UK, writes Anthony Sala... more >
Decisions, decisions

18/06/2018Decisions, decisions

The true social value of procurement comes from asking challenging questions and thinking outside the box, argues Melissa Bell, sustainable procu... more >
Finding the balance

18/06/2018Finding the balance

Douglas White, head of advocacy at the Carnegie UK Trust, evaluates the risk-benefit relationship of data sharing within the public sector, highl... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >


Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >
GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

03/04/2018GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

SPONSORED INTERVIEW PSE’s Josh Mines chats to Martin de Martini, CIO of Y Soft, about what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)... more >
Keeping London safe

05/03/2018Keeping London safe

Theo Blackwell, London’s first-ever chief digital officer (CDO), speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the role he plays in ensuring the... more >
BIM: Digitising the public sector

19/02/2018BIM: Digitising the public sector

PSE’s Josh Mines talks to Stephen Crompton, CTO at GroupBC, and Stuart Bell, the company’s sales and marketing director, about how Bu... more >

public sector focus

G-Cloud 10: small changes, big opportunities

12/06/2018G-Cloud 10: small changes, big opportunities

ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Rafael Cortes, Foehn... more >
Targets and tribulations

04/06/2018Targets and tribulations

David Willett, corporate director at The Open... more >
Government under fire for lack of care funding after £20bn NHS pledge

18/06/2018Government under fire for lack of care funding after £20bn NHS pledge

Council chiefs have heavily criticised Theresa May for not including social care funding in her promise to increase cash resources by £20bn annually for the NHS to mark the service’s ... more >
Somerset should form three unitary authorities, MP suggests

12/06/2018Somerset should form three unitary authorities, MP suggests

Bath and North East Somerset Council leader, Tim Warren, has revealed that he would be open to a council merger, backing MP James Heappey’s recent suggestion of forming three new councils. ... more >

the raven's daily blog

The work of the vanguards can help overcome the challenges of integrated care

29/05/2018The work of the vanguards can help overcome the challenges of integrated care

Following the announcement of the second wave of integrated care systems (ICSs), NHS Providers, the NHS Confederation, NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) and the LGA reflect on how lessons learnt by members from across the four organisations – that have designed and worked together as part of the vanguards – will support the j... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >