A more effective Whitehall

Civil servants, ministers, the centre and departments

Quick fix or masterplan: interpreting machinery of government changes

, 19 July 2016

One of the notable features of David Cameron’s time in office was the stability of Whitehall structures. The new PM has instead embarked on some big changes – creating two new departments, abolishing one, and engaging in a significant restructuring.  History suggests these come at an immediate price of disruption and distraction and that the...

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Theresa’s Ten

, 15 July 2016

It appears that Theresa May has made a clean sweep of advisers in Number 10. Her long-time aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, are now joint Chiefs-of-Staff, a role first created by Tony Blair for Jonathan Powell and carried on by David Cameron for Ed Llewellyn. The advantage is that not only do the...

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FOIA eyes only: how did Whitehall departments respond to freedom of information requests in Q1 2016?

, 17 June 2016

Between January and March 2016, monitored government bodies received 12,791 FoI requests. In the first quarter of 2016, government departments (as defined by the Cabinet Office, which publishes the numbers) received 9,208 Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, and the other monitored government organisations received 3,583 requests, making for a total of 12,791 requests. This...

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Meeting expectations? Civil service staff numbers at Q1 2016

, 16 June 2016

At the end of March 2016 there were 392,500 civil servants, 1,140 more than the previous quarter – but still a cumulative reduction of 18% since 2010 Civil Service staff numbers have increased at the start of this year, ending three consecutive quarters of decreases. A total of 392,500 civil servants (as measured by...

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The Civil Service in the devolved nations

, 14 June 2016

Five UK Secretaries of State have more civil servants at their disposal than any of the First Ministers of the devolved nations. The Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) employs 23,486 civil servants, the Scottish Government 15,960 and the Welsh Government 5,290. (The Welsh and Scottish Governments are counted as part of the Home Civil...

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Budgets in the devolved nations

, 13 June 2016

Five Whitehall departments have bigger budgets than all the devolved administrations… The newly formed devolved governments will receive an overall envelope for spending determined primarily on the basis of the Barnett Formula. To put these envelopes in perspective, the administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for spending larger budgets (£16bn and £20bn...

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Regression analysis: the pipeline of women leaders in Whitehall is badly blocked

, 11 May 2016

Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, has declared his commitment to diversity. He has appointed a high-level group of diversity advisers, and commissioned a report on the blockages in the pipeline of female talent. And he has explicit objectives on promoting diversity at senior levels in his personal objectives....

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Freedom of Information appeals and reviews in 2015

, 26 April 2016

Under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), if someone requesting information is dissatisfied with the response they get, they can ask the department concerned for an ‘internal review’ – which may or may not be acted on. If the requester is still dissatisfied after an internal review is carried out, they...

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Departments in the line of FOIA: how Whitehall responds to Freedom of Information requests

, 22 April 2016

Between October and December 2015, monitored government bodies received 11,039 FoI requests. In the last quarter of 2015, government departments (as defined by the Cabinet Office, which publishes the numbers) received 7,725 FoI requests, while other government organisations (see the full list) received 3,314 – a total of 11,039 requests. This was fewer than the amount of...

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Sharing and safeguarding data in government

, 20 April 2016

Sharing data – with government, with public services, with companies like Amazon and Google – is an inescapable part of modern life. The Government’s consultation on data sharing, Better Use of Data, outlines legislative proposals to ‘modernise the UK data landscape’ and allow data to be shared across government, while ensuring it is ‘used...

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