A more effective Whitehall

Civil servants, ministers, the centre and departments

Doing what matters with less: the Fast Stream conference 2015

, 25 February 2015

This year’s Civil Service Fast Stream conference was organised around the theme of ‘Doing more what matters with less’, challenging fast streamers to answer how the Civil Service ‘can better prioritise and deliver what the UK needs most’ against a background of further spending reductions. Gavin Freeguard was one of the ‘dragons’...

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National security inputs: more expertise = more effective decision making?

, 24 February 2015

The 2010 reforms creating the National Security Council and National Security Adviser improved co-ordination in national security decision making. But good decisions require high quality advice and analysis: government now needs to improve the national security expertise informing decision makers.

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Plenty of food for thought – but choose carefully from the menu

, 13 February 2015

The new think tank GovernUp has published six papers on reforming government. Julian McCrae reflects on some of the ideas.

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Guest blog: Get off the ring-fence

, 10 February 2015

Emran Mian, Director of the Social Market Foundation, argues that declaring budget ring-fences one by one is no way to plan for cuts in the next parliament.

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John Manzoni sets out his priorities as chief executive of the Civil Service

, 4 February 2015

“Everything I say tonight is through a lens of implementation,” said John Manzoni as he began his keynote address on civil service reform at the Institute for Government. It’s central to how he sees his role as chief executive and a perspective “that is the only value that someone like me can bring to...

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Boards are up and running, says Lord Browne: now for the heavy lifting

, 2 February 2015

Boards are working well given the "ragged" world of government, Lord Browne told an audience at the Institute for Government last week – but leaders must work harder on policy implementation, the professions and workforce development.


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Bringing thinktank data out of the bunker

, 29 January 2015

Scientists, and increasingly data journalists, are being asked to publish the data behind their work. What about thinktanks? Petr Bouchal and Gavin Freeguard think they should follow suit.

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Defence secretary Fallon opens new fronts in outsourcing campaign

, 29 January 2015

One of the pillars of this transformation has been the MOD’s evolving relationship with the private sector – both as a purchaser of materiel and services, and through ambitious partnerships with the private sector. And the defence secretary made clear his determination to continue this work, setting out three more partnerships to be completed...

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Adverse opinion: the DfE’s struggle with academies

, 23 January 2015

The C&AG’s opinion resulted from the department’s faltering effort to get to grips with the rapidly growing academies sector, for which the department is responsible. At this stage, it will be helpful to go through a bit of context and explanation of how this came about and what it means. The C&AG’s warnings do...

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Under FOIA: departments’ responses to freedom of information requests

, 21 January 2015

Between July and September (Q3) 2014, monitored government bodies received 11,234 freedom of information requests – only two quarters this parliament had fewer requests. Altogether, over 100,000 bodies are subject to the FoI Act, but the MoJ only publishes statistics for 41 of them – government departments and some other bodies such as the...

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