A more effective Whitehall

Civil servants, ministers, the centre and departments

Diversity in the Civil Service – more key trends

, 11 April 2014

Labour were right to highlight these diversity issues. As our analysis also shows, they are real and visible: Although there has been sustained improvement in the representation of women in the higher ranks, the gap is still sizable. Ethnic minority staff are still under-represented as a proportion of the Civil Service. This is especially...

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Diversity in the Civil Service – key trends

, 7 April 2014

We’ve used the Civil Service Employment Survey, which is published every year (in October) by the Office for National Statistics. The ONS publication covers subjects including grade, gender, age, ethnicity, disability and profession within the Civil Service. Our analysis of the 2013 survey shows that although the size of the Civil Service has reduced...

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A partially-reformed Civil Service – not an unreformed Whitehall

, 4 April 2014

Discussion about the Civil Service has heated up recently – with debates in Lords and the Commons, and with the formation of new cross-party group GovernUp. All that is good and the Institute for Government welcomes the broadening of the public debate on themes we have long addressed such as improving capability, commercial skills...

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It’s personal: why reform in the Civil Service succeeds or fails

, 25 March 2014

“We wanted the best, but everything turned out as usual.” The much quoted words of Viktor Chernomyrdin, the former prime minister of Russia, are apt when discussing UK civil service reform. Every few years, it seems, a new civil service reform plan is launched. The reforms often focus on well-trodden territory. Whether it’s improving...

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The challenges of departmental reform

, 25 March 2014

As our new report Transforming Whitehall One Year On: The challenges of departmental reform in Whitehall shows, there is no “one size fits all” route to answering them. Faced with finding savings of between 33% and 50% from their administration budgets, some departments have undertaken extensive restructuring, moved toward new operating models and investigated...

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Emergent Ministerial Offices

, 3 March 2014

A new role at the Department of Work and Pensions is currently being advertised on the Civil Service recruitment website – for a deputy director in the “Ministerial Policy and Delivery Unit”. The specification reads: “This new role is going to be at the heart of agenda. The successful candidate will support the...

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Civil service reform v4.0: A word from the wise?

, 24 February 2014

Recently, the Institute for Government and PWC brought together an eclectic mix of current and past officials, ministers and non-executive directors to discuss how best to lead transformation from the centre of government. The participants provided four pieces of advice for Oliver Robbins to ponder in his new job. 1. Create a more compelling...

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Floodcheck

, 17 February 2014

The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible to the Secretary of State for the Environment. According to its website, the Board  (appointed by Ministers) “is directly responsible to Government Ministers for all aspects of our organisation and performance. We are accountable to Parliament through Ministers.” It continues: “Ministers expect the Board to ensure that we...

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Clarity of accountability – are permanent secretary objectives helping?

, 27 January 2014

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,...

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Guest blog: Civil service reform – my view

, 21 January 2014

I have the highest regard for the Civil Service, but that does not mean there is no room for improvement – this is one reform that I think would help to modernise it. I had a good experience of working with civil servants at Defra even if I had a difficult time dealing with...

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