The Civil Service Fast Stream in six charts

, 8 February 2016

Civil Service Fast Stream recruitment is very competitive, although the number of appointments has been increasing since 2011. The Fast Stream remains a very competitive process: in 2014, over 20,000 people applied for one of the 915 available positions, so only about one in twenty applicants received a place on the scheme. The number...

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A new normal for Northern Ireland?

, 4 February 2016

Huge progress has been made, but visiting Belfast and the grand old buildings of Stormont Estate, as I did last week, one is struck by the unique combination of “normal” politics and issues distinct to Northern Ireland’s troubled past that continues to shape how government works. Having again teetered on the edge of collapse...

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Why, what and how: modernising Defra

, 3 February 2016

People beyond ‘the world of Whitehall-watching’ should care about reform in government, Liz Truss told an audience at a recent Institute for Government event, because ‘the how’ is inextricably linked to the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ – the mission a country has. For Liz Truss, the Government’s mission is ‘to build Britain’s economy and...

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The BIS Committee on the Government’s Productivity Plan: strengths and limitations

, 2 February 2016

The BIS Committee set out to investigate whether the Government’s Productivity Plan, which spans 15 different policy areas − from transport, energy, and planning to science, finance, and infrastructure − addresses the main causes of low productivity in the UK, and whether it is likely to achieve its desired results. The Committee’s report contains...

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Kids Company: an anatomy of failure

, 2 February 2016

The recent Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) report repeatedly describes the failure of Kids Company as “extraordinary”. It depicts a charity suffering a chronic failure of governance, tipped into dramatic financial collapse in August last year. But while the high-profile failure of Kids Company is remarkable, it is far from unique:...

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The strange case of the missing plans

, 2 February 2016

The most important part of the Spending Review is not the spreadsheet of numbers, the rabbits from the hat, or the headlines. It is the planning that sets out how to translate the spending numbers into reality. There have been signs that the Government is taking the planning side more seriously than in previous...

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