A more effective Whitehall

Civil servants, ministers, the centre and departments

Are we there yet? Progress on Theresa May’s government reorganisation

, 9 August 2016

The front-runner: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy It may or may not have been the impact on energy prices that caused ministers to blink at Hinkley Point C – but the department that seems to be making the best fist of its integration so far is the new Department for Business, Energy &...

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Hinkley falters?

, 29 July 2016

EDF’s highly anticipated final investment decision on Hinkley Point C – the £18bn project to build the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in 20 years – was taken yesterday after much speculation about the future of the deal in the aftermath of Brexit. But instead of getting on the train to today’s planned...

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Industrial relations: how to create an effective industrial strategy

, 29 July 2016

Theresa May’s machinery of government changes signified more than just a new focus on Brexit: the transformation of BIS into the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) suggested a return to industry-focused policymaking. And in his first announcement as Business Secretary, Greg Clark also promised a ‘comprehensive industrial strategy’. So if the end-goal is...

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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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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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The DECC change programme

, 20 April 2016

In September 2015, DECC approached the Institute for Government to provide insights on its change programme. The ‘DECC Works’ project aimed to reduce the department’s headcount (a 16% reduction by 2018), support new ways of working (such as improving the way the department prioritised), and change its shape (as the department was seen to...

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Distracted Ministers

, 28 March 2016

The Government has an ambitious agenda, aiming to deliver a budget surplus by 2019/20 while maintaining or even improving the standards of public services. It is doing this in a much more difficult situation than its original round of cuts in 2010. Many public services are now under serious pressure – for example, in...

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Single Departmental Plans: implementing the Government’s promises?

, 26 February 2016

Last week we did some analysis of the publication of the Single Departmental Plans (SDPs). The plans failed to give a clear sense of the Government’s priorities, and in many instances were so vague that it will be impossible to tell whether the objectives have been achieved or not. They read more like a...

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The strange case of the missing plans

, 2 February 2016

The most important part of the Spending Review is not the spreadsheet of numbers, the rabbits from the hat, or the headlines. It is the planning that sets out how to translate the spending numbers into reality. There have been signs that the Government is taking the planning side more seriously than in previous...

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