A more effective Whitehall

Civil servants, ministers, the centre and departments

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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The finance function forges ahead

, 28 January 2016

The Financial Management Review (FMR) aimed to move the Government’s finance profession’s focus from financial reporting (all those annual accounts that most of us struggle to interpret) to management accounting (providing information and analysis to help the managers make better decisions). There was a degree of sceptical optimism around it – optimism because the...

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Trust in time: Trust in civil servants has increased

, 28 January 2016

Pollsters Ipsos MORI have been recording public trust in a number of professions, including the Civil Service, since 1983 – the latest results, based on fieldwork from December 2015 to January 2016, were published on 22 January. 59% of respondents trust civil servants to tell the truth. Of those polled, 59% trust civil servants...

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Diversity and inclusion in the Civil Service

, 26 January 2016

“There is a way to go… on women, but even more so I’d say on BMEs and disabilities.” This was Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Sir Jeremy Heywood’s comment on Whitehall’s diversity track record when he spoke at the Institute for Government last year. The primary response to this challenge has...

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Public spending: how is the Government doing?

, 21 January 2016

The last public finance figures, published just before Christmas, show that overall government spending for the first eight months of 2015/16 is running 2% ahead of spending in the previous year. This compares to government plans for spending to rise by 1% for the year as a whole. Since these figures were published, we’ve...

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Whitehall’s gender pay gap

, 18 January 2016

The Civil Service had a gender pay gap of around 13% in 2015, compared to 18% in 2007. The gender pay gap in the Civil Service as a whole is 12.8%, having decreased from 18% in 2007. For full-time employees, the earnings of a male civil servant are on average 9.8% higher than those...

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Payday: Civil Service salaries

, 11 January 2016

November’s Spending Review reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to funding public sector workforces ‘for an average pay award of 1% for four years from 2016/17 onwards’, as announced in the Summer Budget and discussed in the Institute for Government’s Managing with Less report. This blog looks at pay in the Civil Service, which makes up...

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How innovative is Whitehall?

, 6 January 2016

Whitehall has long recognised the need for innovation in government and has tried a number of ways to drive innovation from the centre – as we’ve shown in our report Centre Forward. But it’s hard to measure the extent of innovation in government. One evidenced way of doing it is to focus on whether...

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After Nick: what the Treasury (and the rest of us) needs in its next permanent secretary

, 4 January 2016

The Treasury is always one of the most powerful departments in Whitehall – but at the moment it stands head and shoulders above the rest. That is in part due to the Chancellor – with a writ that runs over any areas of policy he is interested in (infrastructure, the supply side, decentralisation and...

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How Whitehall responds to Freedom of Information requests

, 21 December 2015

Between July and September (Q3) 2015, monitored government bodies received 11,990 freedom of information requests. In the third quarter of 2015, government departments (as defined by Cabinet Office, who publish the numbers) received 8,687 FoI requests, with other government organisations receiving 3,303 – a total of 11,990. This was more than the quantity received...

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