A more effective Whitehall

Civil servants, ministers, the centre and departments

We need to talk about special advisers

, 19 December 2014

Yesterday saw the great pre-Christmas ‘data dump’ where a number of government departments published their final set of statistics and releases before the holidays. One of the items, a list of special advisers and how much they are paid, has received some media attention and in the process become something of a political football....

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Counting down but not enough? The latest civil service staff numbers

, 17 December 2014

The civil service now employs 406,690 FTE, down 1,360 on the previous quarter. Overall, the shape of the line in the chart above suggests that achieving the government’s aspiration regarding staff numbers has not been as easy as the early data suggested. In the first year after the 2010 Spending Review, the civil service...

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Work, Rest and Pay: Civil Service Engagement in Departments

, 16 December 2014

As we explained in our previous post on the Civil Service People Survey, the questions civil servants are asked are clustered in several themes. A score of 100% means that civil servants strongly agree with the question asked, 75% that they agree, 50% that they neither agree nor disagree, 25% that they disagree and 0%...

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Civil Service Engagement Index 2014 – Most Departments Improve

, 9 December 2014

DfID and the Treasury have the highest engagement score – 71% – while HMRC has the lowest – 43%. The Department for International Development (DfID) has the highest engagement score for a sixth consecutive year, while HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has the lowest score for a sixth consecutive year. The Foreign Office, on...

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Autumn statement: Whitehall must set itself up for efficiency challenge

, 3 December 2014

In the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor has announced that he intends to make £10bn in efficiency savings by 2017-18. This is a stretching target which the government will only be able to meet if it focuses on transformative change and equips itself with the right tools and structures for the job.

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Labour’s vision for a digital state

, 28 November 2014

With the general election in sight, parties need a big idea about the state to capture the imagination of voters. At a recent speech at the Institute to discuss how to make government more effective after 2015, Labour policy co-ordinator Jon Cruddas argued that such visions were what helped Labour back into power after...

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Morale compass points in the right direction: Civil Service engagement in 2014

, 20 November 2014

The Civil Service Engagement score is now 59%, 1 up on 2013. As this incredibly exciting graph shows, the Engagement Index score for the whole Civil Service is 59%, up from 58% in 2013. Although the relatively straight line may not look especially interesting, it is actually quite significant: despite the large staff reductions...

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Lord Browne – Successes but ragged at the edges

, 18 November 2014

What is striking is how Lord Browne and other prominent business figures who are lead non-executive directors on 17 Whitehall boards have gained acceptance from departmental permanent secretaries – the very group who most strongly resisted their introduction by Francis Maude in 2010. Cynics might see this as producer capture, but there are positive...

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Charting the challenges for the next Government

, 18 November 2014

The Institute for Government has today published Whitehall Monitor 2014, which charts government in over 120 graphs. It shows what government looks like in 2014, how it has changed since 2010, and how transparent it is – but also some of the challenges it will face after the 2015 election. Here we highlight the...

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The National Security Council – its history and its future

, 6 November 2014

The National Security Council was one of the coalition government’s first creations in May 2010. The Institute for Government and Whitehall History project’s new paper, The National Security Council: national security at the centre of government, traces a century of developments in national security coordination, culminating in the creation of the NSC and...

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