Julian joined the Institute in July 2009 from the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit where he was Deputy Director. He started his career at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, where he spent eight years and published work on the UK's personal taxation and welfare system.
He leads the Institute for Government’s work on financial leadership for government, fiscal policy and consolidations and is a spokesperson on all areas of our work. He is our expert on:
Whitehall reform and performance
Financial Leadership for government
Spending Review and Budget
Fiscal Consolidations and international experience of them
He also led the Institute's research programme on corporate taxation and business investment issues.
Previously in government Julian lead work on social mobility, welfare policies and economics. While at the Strategy Unit, among other things Julian led the process spanning 11 government departments that culminated in the 2009 New Opportunities White Paper, and ran Tony Blair's Fundamental Savings Review. His other experience in government includes two spells in the Treasury, and as a special adviser at the Department for Work and Pensions.
Prior to this he taught public economics at University College London and worked at Frontier Economics, one of the UK's leading economic consultancies, where he helped expand the public policy practice.
Julian is a regular commentator on all issues relating to the effectiveness of government, most recently for the Today Programme, Sky News and BBC News on the Spending Round 2013 and Radio 4 programme ‘Analysis’ on tax policy.
The new think tank GovernUp has published six papers on reforming government. Julian McCrae reflects on some of the ideas.
The Civil Service Reform Plan committed significantly to reduce turnover among senior responsible owners. The guardian of major projects is proving to be modelling the problem it seeks to change.
A response to Martin Donnelly's justification of the traditional policy role of the civil service.
Sir Jeremy Heywood made clear to Parliament last week that the Prime Minister has decided that he wants a "chief executive of the civil service". So what might the Prime Minister mean by this?
The objectives for permanent secretaries for 2014-15 form the basis for their performance management. The objectives will be used by the Cabinet Secretary or the Head of the Civil Service – the permanent secretaries are managed between them – for annual appraisal discussions and pay awards. The Institute was highly critical when the last...
Many of us have witnessed very large numbers being claimed for efficiency savings, but always had an uneasy feeling that they might be, shall we say, illusional. The classic example is around Gershon’s efficiency savings, where the NAO could only substantiate around a quarter of the savings. Over the past few years, Francis Maude...
Permanent secretaries’ objectives notionally form the basis for their performance management. They are used by the Cabinet Secretary or the Head of the Civil Service – the permanent secretaries are managed between them – as the basis for permanent secretaries’ annual appraisal discussions and pay awards. At that classic ‘hope you miss this’ time,...
Outside Whitehall local authorities are bracing themselves for big cuts, with some speculating they could lose as much as 12% from their central grants. There will also be a chance to glimpse the more distant, post-election future. Watch what happens to the ringfences. Some may remain intact (maybe schools). Others may survive for now...
What’s the role of finance at the centre of any complex sets of organisations? Sir Nick Macpherson recently set out a clear view in regard to the Treasury. It ‘sets the public expenditure totals,’ said the permanent secretary. It does not involve itself in ‘the efficiency improvements necessary to maintain services at a time...
I hate flying. And being maybe a little overly analytic, I find knowing as much as possible about how and why planes crash helps me relax. So I’m an avid fan to the ‘plane crash emergency’ shows on TV. They’ve all got a fixed structure. First the very real disaster of the crash itself,...