Leadership for government

Research and development for senior government decision makers

‘Blue’ January for women and politics

, 23 January 2014

‘Blue’ Monday was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. And for aspiring women leaders in politics and government it certainly was. The news reminded us that we are no closer to furthering the cause of women leaders in 2014. Four stories were guaranteed to put the most ambitious women off...

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Leadership contest – Gladstone, Disraeli and the modern premiership

, 12 December 2013

For William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, often compared (not least in Dick Leonard’s recent joint biography of them), the factors that made them successful during their multiple premierships in the late 19th century were wildly different. Gladstone was a details man, Disraeli a schemer. Gladstone was a workaholic, his large team of aides and...

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Winning the global race for talent: will Carney blaze the trail for more public sector imports?

, 4 July 2013

Like many of our top football clubs, and the England cricket team, many of our major companies are run by foreigners – a 2008 survey by some headhunters found that a third of CEOs came from overseas (14 from the US, 10 from Continental Europe and Ireland and 10, like Carney, from the Commonwealth)....

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Mrs Thatcher’s other peculiarity

, 12 April 2013

In the tributes to Mrs Thatcher, Lord Tebbit drew attention to the ‘two great influences in her life. One was her scientific training. The other, of course, was her religious belief’. Lord Waldegrave underlined the point with a story about how Mrs Thatcher used her scientific training not just to see off a proposal...

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Margaret Thatcher – an effective Prime Minister

, 9 April 2013

She was obviously an extraordinary political leader, with a unique, uncompromising style. She did not shrink from confrontation and openly scorned consensus. She was a conviction politician, who sharply divided people. While, in retrospect, you can point to tides of opinion – against the trade unions and the post-war state – which ran in...

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Special advisers – out of the shadows and into the light

, 16 October 2012

First of all, special advisers play a vital role in government including helping to protect the impartiality of the civil service. As we highlighted in The Challenges of Being a Minister, ministers can be isolated and lonely. Special advisers can help as loyal, informed and politically sympathetic colleagues. An environment of openness, confidence and...

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Understanding David Cameron’s (and Nick Clegg’s) women problem

, 14 September 2012

A striking result of the reshuffle is the gap in the middle of the ministerial hierarchy. With the exception of the demoted Baroness Warsi, there is not one other woman at minister of state level. This leaves little chance to improve the balance in a hypothetical 2015 cabinet, as neither party leader will have...

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Paul Deighton’s challenge as a minister

, 5 September 2012

Paul Deighton is the latest in a distinguished line of GOATs brought in to provide business and delivery expertise for the Government. The future Lord Deighton — as he will become when he takes over in January from Lord Sassoon as unpaid Commercial Secretary to the Treasury — has had a very successful career...

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Undoing GOD’s work? Will gains women made at the top of Whitehall prove short-lived?

, 26 July 2012

Gus’s favourite statistic never bore that much scrutiny – in reality there were many more men with the rank of permanent secretary who did not “count” – whether the proliferation of permanent secretaries at the centre or ambassadors with permanent secretary rank. But at one point, some time in early 2011, it was possible to claim...

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A mission impossible?

, 26 July 2012

Yet the fact that it is politicians makes it newsworthy. There is no reason why this should be so – they are doing jobs like most people, albeit of a high profile kind, and will be judged on their performance. Also, like most organisations, government, is getting flatter in structure with less room to...

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