Work Foundation

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The Work Foundation was formerly known as the Industrial Society. Industrial Society Learning and Development — the Industrial Society's workforce training and development business — was bought for £23 million by Capita Group Plc. At the time, the business ran over 150 courses and trained over 50,000 people a year.[1]

The sale was presided over by Will Hutton, who joined the Industrial Society as Chief Executive in 2000.[2] Hutton's biography on the PBS website says he has tried to move the Society from its role as an organisation known for its training activities (1970s-1990s), towards becoming an organisation that adheres to the ideals on which the Society was conceived in the 1920s, as a charity whose mission is to improve working life.[3]


The Work Foundation seems to have removed its history from its website but the page is still available on the Internet Archive. [4] It states that:

In 1918 the Rev Robert Hyde, a vicar working in London’s East End, founded the Boys’ Welfare Association in response to the brutal working conditions he had seen. Hyde believed that wealth creation did not have to be based on exploitation: that managers and employees could work harmoniously towards a common purpose.[5]

A Spiked Online article which drew from this states: The Boys' Welfare Association, founded by a London vicar in 1918 to address poor working conditions, changed its name to the Industrial Society in the 1960s and became a pioneer in management theory.

Marketising public services

Hutton succeeded Tony Morgan, and with the Society's involvement of Richard Reeves, social affairs editor of The Observer, and a former Ministerial adviser on welfare reform these twin aspects (welfare/public service reform and management theory/propaganda) form the basis of the Society's 'work'. Their research is conducted by a small group of people who have all had ties to the government, mostly in the field of Public Services Reform - arguably another term for privatisation. These include:

  • Stephen Bevan: Associate Director at the Institute for Employment Studies. He has carried out research for the No.10 Policy Unit, The Prime Minister's Office for Public Services Reform, HM Customs & Excise, DTI, DfES, Inland Revenue, DEFRA, HM Treasury, DWP, the Cabinet Office and the MoD.
  • David Coats: Previously TUC Economic and Social Affairs Department for five years, managing the TUC's work on economic policy, the welfare state, pensions, the national minimum wage. A lawyer by profession; ESRC advisory committees, Low Pay Commission from 2000-04. His recent publications include Efficiency, Efficiency, Efficiency, an assessment of the scope for efficiency savings in public services.
  • Marc Cowling: Formerly on the "Global Entrepreneurship Monitor" at London Business School. Policy consultancy and "econmetric analysis" work for the Small Business Service and the DTI. Advisor HM Treasury's Competitiveness in Banking review, to the OECD's Best Practice task force, and to the DfEE's "Graduates into Business."
  • Louise Horner: Cabinet Office Strategy Unit (formerly the Performance and Innovation Unit), where she developed policy on two projects, the first on Leadership in the Public Sector, the second on Workforce Development and Skills.
  • Alexandra Jones: Previously private secretary for the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and Skills and Institute for Public Policy Research. Other projects include work with Tesco, the Home Office and the East of England Development Agency.
  • Laura Williams: On a one-year secondment from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Involved in projects for the Home Office, Customs & Excise and a leading accountancy firm.

Their 'Runge Programme' is tailored precisely to the organisational needs of their clients who have included: Royal Mail, The Metropolitan Police Service, Railtrack Midlands, The Home Office, Tibbett & Britten, Association of London Governments, MOL (Mitsui OSK Lines). Despite its left affiliations (it is affiliated to the GMB) the Work Foundation were trusted enough to contribute to the Morris enquiry. Jane Sullivan's questionnaire for the 'Morris enquiry' formed part of a Survey of Metropolitan Police Officers and Staff 2004.[6]

Named after Sir Peter Runge, Chairman of the British National Export Council and joint Vice-Chairman of Tate & Lyle (as was his son) Runge was President of the Federation of British Industries (FBI).

Runge House

The Foundation is based at Peter Runge House, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5DG. It shares the space with Research TV, created by the University of Warwick to provide broadcasters with a regular newsfeed of stories about cutting-edge research.

Runge House also contains the School of Coaching which is a partnership between the Work Foundation and Myles Downey and provides 'business performance coaches'. The organisation uses his "Myers Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI)." Their "faculty" includes the co-director of "The Psychosynthesis and Education Trust".

The School of Coaching management team includes Polly Tudor Williams, who previously led the international training group at the Adam Smith Institute, and Tricia Bey, managing director of Deloitte Consulting.[7]

The School of Coaching's clients include:[8]

BAA | BBC | BT | B&Q | DFES | EDF Energy | Home Office | Jaguar | Land Rover | Lloyds TSB | National Grid Transco | Nationwide | National Health Service | Rolls Royce | Sainsbury's | WHICH?


In a press release, the Work Foundation states:

The Work Foundation today urges policy-makers to cast aside the old obsessions with choice, consumer satisfaction, and market mechanisms in the public services and instead endorse the concept of 'public value'. The job of every single person who works in the public sector is to 'maximise public value', a major new report declares.[9]

Where did this idea come from? It seems that Geoff Mulgan played a role. James Crabtree, in a Sept 27, 2004 article[10], outlines that in 1995 Mark Moore, a little-known American political scientist, wrote, "Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government." Then in 2001, John Bennington, director of the Institute of Governance and Public Management at Warwick University "ran a few conferences, one of which was attended by Geoff Mulgan, then head of the Prime Minister's think-tank":

From there, things moved quickly. The Cabinet Office minister, Douglas Alexander, heralded it as "a different way of thinking and talking" about public service reform. The phrase began cropping up in voguish think-tank pamphlets, with Demos, the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Work Foundation all endorsing the concept. The Work Foundation, in turn, influenced the thinking leading up to the BBC's recent charter renewal report, "Building Public Value." Now the Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, wants to use the idea of public value in other areas of the arts and broadcasting. And a host of other organisations - the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, for example - want to deliver more of it. In so far as any theory of public management can be, public value is all the rage.

The government reportedly had a need for 'a new theory that could be sold to the public', one that 'justified existing public services, and that helped plan for future modernisation.' The "public value" spin fitted all three requirements. What we might term the 'Mulgan Effect' comes into play here:

Yet this is the nub of the problem with public value. Precisely because it sounds good, it is already in danger of becoming meaningless. Each vague iteration of the debate on this side of the Atlantic has been different from the last. Each has strayed a little further from Moore's original thesis. And every step drags public value away from being a theory of public management and towards a soft-soap rationale with little explanatory power.

Crabtree also adds:

The BBC's report is a particular offender. It claims that the BBC "exists solely to create public value". If this is true, is there anything to stop a multinational petrochemical company claiming that it, too, is "all about public value"? What is to stop any business or think-tank muddying the waters still further, justifying any old idea with vague, throwaway references to public value? What is to stop public value being used to justify the status quo in public services, even when they're doing a bad job? And how are politicians and civil servants supposed to predict which projects will create public value? The theory might spur librarians into action, but it lacks a reliable way of forecasting economic welfare, let alone something as fuzzy as trust. Public value, therefore, is both in fashion and in flux. It is a theory that justifies a broad range of public activity, but could also be used to justify business as usual. It could help civil servants plan their actions in order of priority, but as yet does not have a way of measuring them. And though it should help the government sell reforms to the public, it could become meaningless even before it has begun to do this.


Board and Trustees


  • John Peace Appointed August 2007 Chairman of the Board John was appointed as an independent Non-Executive Director and Deputy Chairman of Standard Chartered PLC with effect from 1 August 2007.[12] He is also Senior Independent Director. He is Chairman of Experian Group Limited and Burberry Group plc. John joined GUS in 1970 where he held senior IT positions within the retail and home shopping divisions. In 1980, he co-founded CCN, a trading company formed by GUS that marketed information services to retailers and other lending organizations. CCN went on to become one of Europe's largest information services businesses and following the acquisition of other major information services in the US and Europe, it became Experian and John became Chief Executive. He was appointed to the Board of GUS plc in 1997 and became their Group Chief Executive in January 2000. During his tenure the group concentrated on three major businesses: Home Retail Group, Experian and Burberry and shareholder value more than trebled. In 2002, John was appointed Chairman of Burberry in advance of its successful flotation. GUS demerged its remaining businesses in 2004 and he became Chairman of Experian. John is also Chairman of the board of Governors of Nottingham Trent University, Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Nottinghamshire and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
  • Kay Carberry Appointed January 2005 Member of Investment Committee. Kay is the assistant general secretary of the TUC. She has served on a number of government advisory bodies on equality, education, training and employment and is currently a commissioner of the Equal Opportunities Commission. She is a trustee of the National Council for One Parent Families and of the People's History Museum; and a member of the Franco-British Council.
  • Peter Housden Appointed May 2007 Peter is Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, the new department created in May 2006, with responsibilities for housing, planning, local government, fire and civil resilience, regional policy, tackling disadvantage and social exclusion, community cohesion and equality. Peter was previously Permanent Secretary at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Between 2001-2005 Peter was Director-General for Schools for the Department for Education and Skills.
  • Gareth Jones Appointed July 2003 Member of Audit Committee Professor Gareth Jones is visiting professor of organisational behaviour at INSEAD and Fellow of the Centre for Management Development at London Business School. His key interests lie with organisational design, culture, leadership and change about which he has published several books.
  • Archie Lightfoot Appointed March 2001 (reappointed March 2005) Chair of Pension and Investment Committee. Archie has worked for Hess Corporation - an independent US-based oil and gas company - since 1991. Before joining Hess, he served for 13 years in the Royal Tank Regiment.
  • Geoff Mulgan Appointed December 2004 Member of Investment Committee. Geoff has been the director of the Young Foundation since 2004, whose main work is developing new organisations to meet social needs in fields as diverse as schooling, health and technology. Between 1997 and 2004 Geoff had various roles in the UK government including director the Government's Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister's office. He is a visiting professor at LSE, UCL and Melbourne University.
  • Dona Roche-Tarry Appointed December 2006 Dona was previously director of Human Resources, UK Business Banking, at Barclays Bank, responsible for people strategy, reward, performance, training and development and governance. Previously, Dona was a senior partner at Heidrick & Struggles based in New York. During her tenure she made significant contributions to the firm as managing partner of the Communications Practice in North America, and Head of telecommunications in the UK and as managing director of the Stamford CT office.
  • Ed Smith Appointed December 2006 Chair of the Audit Committee, member of Pensions Committee and the Remuneration and Nominations Committee. Ed has recently retired from a 30 year career with PricewaterhouseCoopers where he was a Senior partner and Global COO and Strategy Chairman for the Assurance business as well as a member of its Global Leadership Team. He is a Board member for the Higher Education Funding Council where he chairs the Leadership,Governance and Management Committee, Chairman of UK University Sport, Deputy Chairman of the Managing Partners Forum and a member of Advisory Board of Opportunity Now.


  1. "The Industrial Society transfers its training business to Capita Group Plc", press release, undated, PR Newswire, accessed March 23 2009
  2. "The Industrial Society transfers its training business to Capita Group Plc", press release, undated, PR Newswire, accessed March 23 2009
  3. "Will Hutton", PBS website, accessed February 2009.
  4. Work Foundation About Us, History, retrieved from the Internet Archive of 13 August 2004 on 12 October 2008
  5. Work Foundation About Us, History, retrieved from the Internet Archive of 13 August 2004 on 12 October 2008
  6. [] [1]
  7. [ The School of Coaching Alumni Newsletter April 2006, pp. 1, 5]
  8. "Clients and case studies", School of Coaching website, accessed March 23 2009
  9. Stephen Overell, "The job of public sector managers is to maximise public value", press release, the Work Foundation, 1 November 2006, accessed February 2009.
  10. James Crabtree, "The revolution that started in a library", New Statesman, 27 September 2004, version placed in web archive 8 September 2006, accessed March 23 2009
  11. Source for this section unless otherwise stated is Work Foundation Leadership
  12. Source for this section unless otherwise stated is - Work Foundation Board Members, accessed 3 October 2008